Futility, Or the Wreck of the Titan
'Futility, Or the Wreck of the Titan' Summary
The first half of Futility introduces the hero John Rowland, a disgraced former US Navy officer. Now an alcoholic denigrated to the lowest ranks of society, he has been dismissed from the Navy and works as a deckhand on the Titan. One April night, the ship hits an iceberg and sinks, somewhat before the mid-point of the novel.
The second half of the story follows Rowland. He saves the young daughter of a former lover by jumping onto the iceberg with her. The pair find a lifeboat washed up on the iceberg, and are eventually rescued by a passing ship. But the girl is recovered by her mother and Rowland is arrested for her kidnapping. A sympathetic magistrate discharges him and rebukes the mother for being unsympathetic to her daughter's savior. Rowland disappears from the world.
In a brief final chapter covering several years, Rowland works his way up from homeless and anonymous fisherman to a desk job and finally, two years after passing his civil service exam, to "a lucrative position under the Government".
A later edition includes a coda (concluding section): Rowland receives a letter from the mother, who congratulates him and pleads for him to visit her, and from the girl, who begs for him.
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