Book Review: A High Wind in Jamaica
The novel, “A High Wind in Jamaica” narrates how the Bas-Thornton children were raised in torture and how they suffered at the mercy of pirates who killed and sexually abused them from time to time. According to the author of the novel, the death of the children was such as casual occurrence that was quickly forgotten and laid to rest. During the late 19th century, a hurricane destroyed the homes where the children were living in Jamaica and were subsequently forced to leave for other destinations. In the process, the children returned to their original homes in Europe using a ship that was to be seized by pirates only moments after sailing into sea. The children were kidnapped by the pirates who used them against the ship’s owners and captain in order to obtain certain information and favors. The pirates often beat and raped the children; a fact was quickly forgotten by their parents. Hughes illuminates the children’s tribulations as he says,
“John had to take a sporting gun, which he bulleted with spoonfuls of water to shoot humming-birds on the wing, too tiny frail quarry for any solider projectile. For, only a few yards up, there was a Frangipani tree: a mass of brilliant blossom and no leaves, which was almost hidden in a cloud of humming-birds so vivid as much to outshine the flowers. Writers have often lost their way trying to explain how brilliant a jewel the humming-bird is: it cannot be done” (Hughes 47).