A High Wind in Jamaica

by Richard Hughes

Start Free Trial


Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 258

A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes could be considered a coming-of-age story about a young girl and her siblings going on a life-changing adventure. However, the novel explores the dark sides of humanity, disregarding the age gaps between the characters.

In A High Wind in Jamaica, the primal parts of human nature and the complexities of morality are explored in both the adults and the children. At the beginning of the story, the protagonist, Emily, has a childlike view of the world. The destructive forces of an earthquake or a hurricane don't concern her as much as the death of her pet cat, Tabby.

Although the hurricane destroys homes and causes misery on the island, Emily's worldview is constricted to that of personal tragedies, such as the death of her cat. This illustrates the myopic perspective that a child has on the suffering of others on a macro scale. Her personal attachment is more troubling to her than mass casualties and destruction.

The death of her cat is important to remember as you read the narrative, because that event is contrasted with her immoral act later in the story. A High Wind in Jamaica is similar to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, in which young characters have to grow up fast in order to survive the dangers of the world. As with Huckleberry Finn, it is left ambiguous whether Emily is affected by her experiences at sea, particularly her deed, and if she learned any lessons from her crash course on adulthood at a young age.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Critical Essays