Hooper and Quint are opposites of each other in all regards with one exception—their personal relationship to sharks. Both Brody and Quint have self-defining shark narratives.
Hooper’s shark story is revealed at the Brody’s dinner table when Ellen, Brody’s wife, awkwardly says to the just arrived Hooper she’s been told he’s “in sharks.” He confirms that he loves sharks then relates a childhood experience in which a baby thresher shark wrecked the boat he’d been in. He swam to shore and watched the fish finish destroying his boat (0.41.43–0.42.26). This story explains his very personal and emotional connection to sharks.
Quint’s story comes later, at night, while the three of them are aboard the Orca, preparing to face the shark. The captain tells of his time aboard the USS Indianapolis and how, after their ship was hit by a Japanese sub, sharks devoured many of his shipmates (1.29.28–1.33.15). This famous monologue, another product of the script collaboration as the scene was initially created by Sackler, then expanded by John Milius, only to be later condensed by Quint actor Robert Shaw, explains Quint’s relationship to sharks. As the two men bond over their harrowing experiences, Brody stays physically away from them, showing that he doesn’t share the experience or have a personal defining story to offer. Brody is pushed out of their converging narrative. In this way, Brody’s internal conflict is externalized.