On the island, Van Weyden curses himself for not thinking to bring matches. However, soon after, Van Weyden succeeds in making fire with some paper from a notebook, a shotgun shell, and a knife. He and Maud Brewster make coffee.
The ability to create fire was a turning point in ancient human history; Van Weyden’s ability to make fire shows that he has passed the first major test of survival.
While exploring the island, Van Weyden and Maud Brewster find the remains a wrecked boat. Van Weyden tells Maud the boat’s sailors must have gotten away, but he suspects their bones might still be somewhere on the island. Endeavour Island turns out to be small without much on it. Van Weyden realizes that with Maud on the island with him, he’s responsible for another person for the first time in his life.
Being on the island challenges some of Wolf Larsen’s ideas about individualism and self-reliance. As Van Weyden learns, being responsible for other people can be more challenging than being responsible for oneself, though the challenge also comes potential rewards.