“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, “You 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 information 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...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document