Study Guide

Jaws The Supernatural

The Supernatural

[Agonizingly prolonged death of Chrissie Watkins]

If this were a normal hungry shark, he would have eaten Chrissie and just gotten it over with. It almost seems as if he's toying with her and enjoying it. Not your typical predatory shark behavior.

HOOPER: Well this is not a boat accident! It wasn't any propeller! It wasn't any coral reef! And it wasn't Jack the Ripper! It was a shark.

Whoa, whoa, whoa—who said anything about Jack the Ripper, Hoop? The fact that the scientist is invoking the name of a notorious (and vaguely satanic) serial killer adds to the shark's unearthly aura.

HOOPER: It's really a miracle of evolution.

Wait—didn't Shmoop just use this quote to illustrate the "Science" theme? What gives? Well, even though Hooper understands the shark's behavior as having evolved over the eons, the description still tells us that it's not going to be a hunter's typical prey. It has menacing overtones. How can a man compete with millions of years of perfecting an "eating machine?"

[An unseen force takes the fisherman's holiday roast bait and pulls it out to sea along with the pilings and the end of the jetty, dumping the fisherman into the water. The end of the jetty makes a 180-degree turn and heads back toward the shore, chasing the desperately swimming fisherman.]

If we didn't realize it already, here's another demonstration of this shark's larger-than-life strength and cunning. It seems to have planned it so the fisherman would be thrown into the water and thus become easily available for a late-night snack.

QUINT: He's a smart, big fish! He's gone under the boat! Keep it steady now! I got something very big!

Quint recognizes something strange when he sees it. He's killed hundreds of sharks and this one's different.

QUINT: You know the thing about a shark—he's got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn't seem to be livin'. Until he bites ya and those black eyes roll over white. And then, ah then you hear that terrible high pitched screamin' and the ocean turns red…

Quint's speech introduces the image of the shark as an undead monster—a 6,000-pound swimming zombie.

BRODY: How do we handle this? How do we handle this?

Why don't Hooper and Quint really have an answer to this question? They've worked with sharks their whole lives, after all.

HOOPER: He ate the light.

As the shark rams the boat, the cabin almost turns into a haunted house. The men surrounding the table, as if at a séance, get thrown around, we hear pounding noises, and the lights flicker and then go out. What kind of ghost is haunting the Orca? Is it related somehow to the story Quint just told about the USS Indianapolis?

HOOPER: Look at that mother! […]
BRODY: He's eating his way right through that line!
HOOPER: Yeah! And he's workin' his way, right into us! […] It's impossible! It's impossible! […] He's pullin' us!

As the shark starts eating its way toward the Orca, then tows it with the force of an aircraft carrier, it starts to seem that he has a kind of evil intelligence.

HOOPER: You ever have one do this before?
QUINT: I don't know. […]
HOOPER: He's chasin' us. I don't believe it! […]
BRODY: Ever have a great white do this?
HOOPER: No!

As if we needed any more reminders that ordinary great white sharks—which are only Ford Bronco-sized torpedoes of muscle with hundreds of shredding teeth—don't do this, here it is. Both of the shark experts are starting to freak out at not just this shark's size, but at its behavior.

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