At four-thirty a.m. the following day, the U.S. Air Force declares Green Hornet missing. Since the Air Force doesn’t know where the plane went down, the chances of finding the crew are slim. Nonetheless, they send out search planes to look for survivors.
Hillenbrand gives more evidence for the unlikeliness of their rescue and survival, making sure the reader knows that, with no help coming, it will take everything the men have to stay alive.
When Louie wakes in the morning, he goes to divvy up the morning’s rations only to find that Mac had eaten all the chocolate during the night. Realizing Mac acted out of panic, Louie doesn’t blame him. Instead he simply tells him that he is disappointed in him but that they will be rescued soon.
Now we know why Hillenbrand noted the detail about Mac’s sweet tooth – if Mac believes they’re all going to die, then he can’t fight off the urge to satisfy his selfish desire for sweets. His lack of belief in the possibility of survival—and his loss of dignity resulting from that loss of hope—has made survival even more unlikely.
With nothing to do or eat, the day passes slowly. The following day, they see an American bomber pass over them. Louie shoots a flare, but the bomber doesn’t seem them. Louie infers from the bomber’s direction that their raft must be drifting west towards Japanese territory.
More than sharks or starvation, the men fear capture by the Japanese. Sharks represent the violence of the natural world, but it’s humans and their potential for a more terrifying violence that really scares the men.
On the fifth day at sea, they finish all the water. After saying almost nothing the entire time, Mac snaps and begins screaming again that they’re going to die. Louie slaps him again and Mac quiets down, feeling comforted by Louie’s assertion of control. That night, Louie prays for help. Louie has prayed only once before in his life – when Louise was sick and he feared he’d lose her.
This is the first overt indication of the Belief and Faith theme. Louie was never a religious man before the war, always relying on himself, rather than God, for getting out of bad situations. Only when circumstances are totally out of his control – he couldn’t cure his mom then and can’t bring the rain now – does Louie turn to God for help.
A week after their disappearance, the U.S. military sends Louie’s footlocker to his home in Torrance along with a telegram that tells his family that he is lost at sea. Anthony is stoic but, out of stress, Louise develops a rash all over her hands. Over the next few days, Louise develops the fierce conviction that her son is alive. The news of Louie’s disappearance headlines newspapers all over California.