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A Series of Unfortunate Events: A High Wind in Jamaica
Literary prose provides a viable platform from which writers present a host of views to their audience. In A High Wind in Jamaica, Hughes explores a series of unfortunate events that the characters encounter. He also underscores various survival techniques that they explore to secure their wellbeing. Most adversarial events revolve around Emily, young girl of about ten years. Although her experiences are physically and mentally distressing, she devises distinct ways through which she overcomes them. In the long run, she is reunited with her family in London and even joins school.
Key Words: Unfortunate events, survival techniques, pirates, vessel, capture
A Series of Unfortunate Events: A High Wind in Jamaica
In most of their literary works, a significant percentage of novelists aim at presenting to the reader important information in the most effective ways. To attain this, they explore a host of literary devices and develop their plots with utmost coherence. The ideas that they present are in most instances reflective of the social and economic scenarios that are apparent in their respective settings. Just like other renowned novelists, Richard Hughes has explored various themes in his literary works. Among these are the aspects of morality and survival that he has explores at length. Notably, the manner in which his characters face their challenges offers useful insights regarding effective survival techniques. In his A High Wind in Jamaica, he uses his characters to inform the reader about various survival techniques that can be explored in the face of adversity. Although most main characters are children with limited capacities who experience a series of unfortunate events, they adopt suitable survival techniques that enable them to address relative challenges with ease.
To begin with, the novel is set just after the emancipation of slaves. The society at this point in time is experiencing dynamic technological transformations. When the hurricane destroys homes, parents make the vital decision of returning to their homes. In this regard, the massive destruction of the hurricane makes the parents to seek an alternative place of residence outside the Island. They are mindful of the wellbeing of the future generations and believe that children should not be left to perish. It is for this reason that they decide that their children should be ferried to England (Hughes 31). This is a sustainable survival technique that safeguards the wellbeing of both current and future generations. At this time, it is the most viable especially considering that steamers and sailing ships are readily available to transport the children.
The second unfortunate event that sets the pace for exploration of viable survival techniques pertains to the seizure of the Clorinda by pirates. This occurs shortly after Captain Marpole leaves with the children for England. The pirates threaten to shoot the captain if he does not disclose the location of the ship’s safe. Certainly, the life of both captain Marpole and that of the children is endangered. Thinking that the children have been murdered, the captain decides to flee the scene (Swinnerton 6). This is another survival technique that enables him to safeguard his wellbeing. In addition, the captain writes a letter to the Thornton’s informing them about the murder of the children. Likewise, this letter would enable the latter to take any security action that would be within their reach in order to secure the ship.
The third unfortunate event faces Emily, one of the children. This occurs when captain Johnsen approaches her with romantic advances. Being a child of about ten years, she is psychologically traumatized as this amounts to sexual harassment. Notably, she is “frightened by the look in Johnsen’s eyes when he tries to reach her” (Johnson 6). However, Emily gains courage and bites the captain’s hand in order to protect herself from the evil that would probably ensue. This is atypical of most children of this age. According to Waksler, Emily at this point understands and appreciates the moral implications of her experience,
She had an extraordinary vivid, simple sense, that child, of Right and Wrong-it almost amounted to a precocious ethical genius. Every action, her own or any one else’s, was immediately judged good or bad, and uncompromisingly praised or blamed. She was never in doubt. (73.)
The fourth unfortunate occurrence befalls the captain of the Dutch vessel who is transporting wild animals. He is captured by the pirates and physically tortured. In particular, he is tied up and left in custody of Emily. In this respect, Harold argues that the very capture by pirates is both physically and emotionally tormenting (24). From a psychological point of view, persons who undergo such experiences tend to suffer immense psychological problems. This is because their safety is always at stake. This can be used to explain why they experience post traumatic stress disorder after the experiences. In most cases, they seek medical counseling services that enable them to appreciate their experiences and live normal lives. Although the captain of the ship transporting wild animals tried to communicate with Emily to free him, relative efforts were unsuccessful. Arguably, the efforts to communicate to Emily were aimed at safeguarding his survival.
The fifth unfortunate event involves the death of the Dutch captain. In this scenario, the author successfully exhibits two distinct survival techniques that were assumed by each character. After the Dutch captain had done all he could to communicate to Emily without success, he saw a knife and tried to reach for this. Emily becomes terrified and screams. Unfortunately, nobody hears the screams. Logically, the screams were aimed at drawing the attention of the rest of the group who would probably rescue her (Harold 24). Seeing that her life was in danger, Emily decides to save her life by stabbing the Dutch captain to death. The decision that Emily takes at this point is uncommon amo.............
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