Study Guide

On the Beach Chapter 7

By Nevil Shute

Chapter 7

  • The following day, Peter meets with the admiral. He tells Peter that there are no plans for another trip but that Dwight wants him to stay and work on the ship a few days a week.
  • Moira calls Dwight later that morning. "Flirty, flirt flirt," says Moira. "Flirt!" says Dwight. "Flirting flirts!" They decide to meet up the following day.
  • Dwight does not look good. Moira forces him to down a double whiskey and asks her parents to pick them up so she can call a doctor.
  • Luckily, it's not radiation poisoning—it's merely a "dose of 'flu" (7.74). Phew. After the doctor leaves, Moira enters the room with a mysterious parcel in hand.
  • Dwight eagerly tears it open—it's a pogo stick. That is so cute. It even has Helen's name carved into it.
  • The next day, Peter and John grab lunch. They decide to take a ride in the Ferrari to the Davidson abode, as they have some documents that Dwight needs to sign.
  • Peter and John show Dwight their official report on the mission and the newly minted admiral gives his approval. Afterwards, the men discuss what they want to do with the time they have left.
  • Dwight wants to go fishing, but the season doesn't open until September, which is too late. Drat.
  • A few weeks later, Douglas Froude (who's related to John and Moira) is lounging at the Pastoral Club when the Director of the State Fisheries enters the room with a fury (7.182).
  • The director complains to Froude that Moira has been causing trouble for him by requesting that the Prime Minister open fishing season early this year. And the Prime Minister agrees.
  • After a long debate that eventually involves everyone at the club, it's finally decided: trout fishing season will open on August 10. Man, Moira is the best.
  • By the end of July, something unusual happens: cars start popping up everywhere. With the end nigh, people are diving into the secret gasoline stores they've been saving up since the war. Peter gets his old ride up and running. Dwight has his own chauffeur. Someone call Xzibit, right?
  • These days, everyone is doing his or her own thing. Peter and Mary are working on their garden. John is working on his Ferrari, which he hopes to enter in the upcoming Australian Grand Prix.
  • The day for the race arrives, and the whole crew comes to give support. Things go wrong from the get-go, however: multiple drivers are dead "before the first race was over" (7.214).
  • John's race is the last of the day. He's nervous but confident that he can be one of the top two cars in his race, which would earn him a spot in the finals.
  • Finally, John's time comes. John drives safely and slowly at first, using the old tortoise strategy. Still, by the eighth lap, he sits comfortably in third place.
  • Suddenly, a massive accident happens in a flash, flipping one car over and skidding John off the track. Luckily, he's pretty much unscathed.
  • Moments later, John realizes that his Ferrari can still move, so he hustles over to his pit for repairs. And then, just like that, he's back in the race, eventually winning second place.
  • Afterward, John gives his condolences to the loved ones of the drivers who died. He also takes the opportunity to salvage some much-needed spare parts from their destroyed rides.