Hooper makes acute observations about his environment a lot of the time, based on what he knows about sharks and what he knows of human nature – he thinks it’s foolish to let people go out and hunt for sharks and that someone is going to get killed (… it happens). He tells them the caught tiger shark is not the one who killed those people (and he’s right), because the bite marks do not match the remains founds on the beach. He insists on performing a makeshift autopsy, and on seeing the body pieces of the girl who washed up on shore, so that he can make an informed assessment of the situation. He tells the medical examiner that he’s a fool for having ruled this as a possible propeller accident! It’s absurd to deny the evidence right in front of you! He is an adventurous traveler, with a casual approach to his surroundings. He can be blithely unaware of the potential for danger at times (going down to investigate something underwater, even though there’s a great white shark in the area, or using an untested shark cage), and unaware of his environment. He’s so nonchalant that, when his warning for men not to overload their tiny boat goes ignored, he asks where the nearest hotel is.  He’d rather keep working at the problem until he understands and is satisfied with it, than leap to any swift resolutions. His good-natured exterior makes him likable, and gives rise to instances of emotional irritation during tense moments (making faces at Quint, shouting that he knows what he’s doing and to let him alone, etc.). He charms Brody’s wife at dinner, and knows it’s socially appropriate to show up with wine (and tasty, too). He bonds with Quint in manly fashion, by showing off his numerous scars and trading “war stories” about sharks (Quint wins given he was on the USS Indianapolis, which sank in shark-infested waters). His obliviousness to physical danger hints that he’s out of his depth (ha-ha) in dangerous waters; his litany of near-misses and scars shows that he hasn’t learned much from each experience, and regards it more as a badge of honor than a caution.

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Hooper is good-natured and sarcastic, but also goes after whatever interests him with a lot of energy. Being scared out of his mind by a shark as a child turned into a full-blown obsession that has informed his career ever since, but he’s still reckless and opportunistic enough to think he could outmaneuver the shark in a rickety old cage that quite possibly isn’t going to protect him from being the creature’s next meal. He is constantly cracking jokes and is charming, likable, and sarcastic, informing the sheriff that he ought not to let those people in the harbor go out onto the ocean, since they’re all “going to die.” Hooper knows his own mind and can be forceful in informing people of their own stupidity, but also likes to work within the law and be useful to Brody. He sometimes does things assuming they will work out fine, only to second-guess himself and become terrified later, such as after he digs a great white shark tooth out of a half-sunken craft and discovers a corpse in the hold – then he’s concerned for his personal safety. Hooper is resourceful when he needs to be, and aware of his own safety… but it’s sometimes as an afterthought in his energetic intellectual curiosity.