Saturday, October 7, 2017

A High Wind In Jamaica

"God Save Us from People Who Mean Well" Is it really the thought that counts? In some instances, this may be true. However, throughout the novel A High Wind in Jamaica, several situations prove that it is not enough to simply think about doing the right thing and hope for the best results; a greater effort must be made to ensure actions speak louder than words. One tone-setting instance of good intentions gone wrong is the Bas-Thornton''s decision to send their children away from Jamaica to live in England, with the hopes of preventing the emotional trauma of experiencing another natural disaster.

Mrs. Bas-Thornton explains to her husband, miou know I am terribly afraid what permanent, inward effect a shock like that may have on them," and reasons, "In England, they would at least be safe from dangers of that sort" (46). Her concerns about her children, although misguided, are genuine. On the contrary, the children are more traumatized by the death of their beloved cat, Tabby. Nevertheless, they are shipped off on the Clorinda to England, and consequently end up captive by Captain Jonsen. In spite of her concerns, Mrs.

Bas-Thornton''s efforts to help her beloved children lead to quite disastrous results. As a result of their captivity, the children find themselves in several situations much more psychologically damaging than the effects of a "wretched thunderstorm" (35). All the while, the parents remain clueless as to the negative consequences of her actions by no fault of her own, but rather the fault of Captain Marpole. As the parents are singing his praises, Captain Marpole reveals to the reader that he is not as reliable as they initially thought.

His letter, though written with the intent of giving information and to "relieve you of any uncertainty'' (58), provides false nformation about the children''s demise and suggests that there is no reason to search for them, considering they are dead. He regretfully informs the Bas-Thornton parents that their children, along with the Fernandez children, were "done to death immediately, their little bodies cast into the sea, as I saw with great relief with my own eyes" (62).

It is revealed later in the novel that Captain Marpole did not in fact witness this with his own eyes, and is making assumptions based on what he heard, but the damage has already been done. Although his intentions are honorable in hat he wants to assure them the children did not suffer, he is unwittingly making a grave mistake when he tells of the deaths that did not happen. Why send a search party into the vast sea for children already "known" to be dead anyw•ay? Had Captain Marpole not Jumped to conclusions, the children may have had a chance of rescue.

Another example of good intentions having negative results is Captain Jonsen''s attempt at livening up the auction of stolen goods. He mixes "that potion known in alcoholic circles as Hangman''s Blood" (101) to rouse the crowd, but instead gets them ll too drunk to function. The narrator explains that Jonsen has no idea how to handle a crowd, and instead is Just acting on impulse, when he tells us, "he was utterly incapable of either understanding of controlling a crowd.

All he could think of was plying them with more" (103). This reinforces the reader''s lack of trust and confidence in Jonsen, as we see he has no actual leadership skills. Even his first mate were all primed and ready? " (105). Jonsen still refuses to acknowledge his failure even after he is presented with an offer for his remaining supplies. He causes more harm han good, which demonstrates his ignorance. Ultimately, good intentions continuously have a negative impact on the lives of the children.

Mrs. Bas-Thornton''s attempts to remove the children from harm''s way consequently put them in more dangerous situations, and Captain Marpole reveals untrue information, preventing the children from having any chance of removal from those dangerous situations. And in a more comical situation, the streets of Santa Lucia turn into a sea of drunken men and women during Captain Jonsen''s failed attempt to excite the crowd and sell his goods. No good deed goes unpunished.

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