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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 155

The primary characters in Richard Hughes’s A High Wind in Jamaica are children, particular the Bas-Thornton children—John, Emily, Edward, Rachel, and Laura. Raised on a plantation in Jamaica, the children are put on a ship back to England after a hurricane destroys their home. Emily is the protagonist of the book and is the character around whom much of the action takes place.

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Accompanying the Bas-Thorntons on their voyage are two Creole children, Margaret and Harry Fernandez. After they are all captured by pirates, they go through extraordinary trials; Emily and Margaret especially endure much difficulty at the hands of men. Emily is pursued menacingly by the pirate captain, Captain Jonsen, and Margaret is pursued by his chief mate, Otto.

Other characters in the book include Captain Marpole, the captain of the ship Clorinda, on which the children set sail before being captured by pirates, and José, the cook aboard the pirate ship.

Characters Discussed

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 333

Mr. Bas-Thornton

Mr. Bas-Thornton, a plantation owner in Jamaica who sends his children to school in England. On the way, the children, with two of their friends, are taken aboard a pirate ship. Though the children are returned within a few months, their father and mother never realize what the experience has done to them psychologically.

Mrs. Bas-Thornton

Mrs. Bas-Thornton, his wife.


John, oldest of the Bas-Thornton children. He is killed in a fall from a warehouse when his pirate captors, who have taken the children accidentally and treated them well, are selling their booty at a Cuban port.


Emily, John’s sister, an excitable ten-year-old child. She and the pirate captain achieve a strange psychological relationship, though a stormy one. While emotionally upset, Emily slashes one of the pirates’ prisoners, a Dutch sea captain, to death with a knife. Months later, she allows the...

(The entire section contains 488 words.)

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