After the Storm (Hemingway)

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After the Storm
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man discovered a sunken liner after a hurricane, but failed to break into it and claim its treasures. Later, others found and looted the ship, leaving him with nothing.

A man found himself in a fight with another man, who tried to choke him. In self-defense, he cut the attacker's arm, and then fled the scene. He later heard that someone had been killed in the area, but it wasn't his attacker. He found his boat, which had been damaged in a storm, and set out to sea. He was the first to venture out after the storm and discovered a wrecked three-masted schooner, but couldn't salvage anything from it.

He continued searching for more wreckage and eventually found a massive sunken liner, with a woman's body visible through a porthole. He tried to break the glass to access the ship's contents, but was unsuccessful. He lost his wrench and grapple in the process, and had to return to shore.

The Narrator — narrator; boat owner, determined, unlucky.

There I was looking down through the glass at that liner with everything in her and I was the first one to her and I couldn't get into her.

A week later, after dealing with legal issues related to the fight, he returned to the sunken liner, only to find that a group of Greeks had already salvaged everything of value from it. The man lamented that even the birds that had been attracted to the wreckage had gotten more out of it than he had.

First there was the birds, then me, then the Greeks, and even the birds got more out of her than I did.

The sunken liner had been carrying a large number of passengers and crew, but no bodies were ever found. The man wondered about the final moments of the ship's captain and crew, and how they had tried to save the ship during the storm.