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"Caliban’s Shore" as the Most Incredible Story of Saving Human Lives
Being one of the most fascinating and informative books in terms of its plot and structure, 'Caliban's Shore' by Stephen Taylor serves as a vivid example of overcoming difficulties in an uneasy situation at the point of being in a conflict with oneself. Final victory of human being in the struggle with both oneself and nature makes the story incredibly interesting to read. Having compared Caliban's Shore' with the book 'Futility, Or the Wreck of the Titan' by Morgan Robertson, one could say that these two books are quite similar in terms of their structure and events depicted in them. However, Stephen Taylor describes the positive sides of an incident. He puts emphasis on those saved rather than on those who died in the course of events. Apart from dying in the ship wreck and drowning in the sea, the author describes the whole repatriation process and an individual's willingness to go back to one's Homeland. Though certain passengers escaped death, some of them joined the local Bantu tribes and later on died in fights and battles with other tribes. Stephen Taylor makes a brilliant point here. In this retrospect, the book by Stephen Taylor seems somewhat similar to Mary Rowlandson's novel 'Narrative of the Captivity.' A person separated from home pretty often tries to find a way to return there, no matter how hard it will be and how much effort it is going to take from this person. This is the main idea behind the title of the book by Stephen Taylor, which is supported by many readers and admirers of the book. According to the author, it is not merely enough to be saved and continue existing. In his point of view, a person has to remember who and what he is in the first place.
When the shipwrecks are mentioned, it is clearly depicted in the written materials how merciful the circumstances are for white individuals of pre-colonial Africa. Describing the events of the summer of 1783, the author goes over certain events, mentioned in the book. A lot of attention of the book is paid to the wreck of Grosvenor 1782. The Grosvenor, so widely mentioned in the text, is namely an East Indiaman. One of the problems surrounding the journey described in the book is its late departure. Carrying a lot of goods, such as silk, sugar, indigo, gold and silver, the ship had been full of expensive transporting goods before it crashed.
The main characters of the story are William Hosea, Bengali late resident, captain John Coxon, Charles Newman, a lawyer from Calcutta, Lydia Logie, an occasional traveler, rich merchants, pension officers, prisoners of war of French origin, and over 106 crew members. All of them pursue different principles. Certain travelers try to find peace. Others run away from dangers. To certain people, the journey itself is an inspiration and a way to start the life over and look at the world differently. While traveling, the team experiences different obstacles and challenges prior to the ship wreck. After a delay that they had to face at the beginning of their journey, on their third night of the journey, the team of passengers witnesses a fire and then a huge landmass to the starboard. After some time of arguing, the course of East Indiaman is altered. At exactly 4.30, the ship strikes a rock. Finally, the whole team finds themselves on a desolate island, about 400 miles from the nearest European sea coast. All the events happen to the team in the peak of famine years. It is incredibly difficult for other cargoes and ships to cater food and other products to the people. Further on, the team is broken into parties, each of them following their own direction and path in life. Fifteen crew members, including lascars, head south. Charles Newman with many other team members are able to find a way to go back to London to complain about corruption in East India Company. Lydia Logie finally accomplishes her dream and finds a husband in the face of an African kraal. Every person finds his own way in life and, therefore, becomes fully satisfied with what he is.
Though the story is quite compelling, persuasive, well-organized and abounds with technical details (navigation, the ship structure, etc.), the author does not let the facts speak for themselves. This means that Taylor puts too much emphasis on the details that he considers important instead of just providing the facts. In other words, he fully describes various crew members' process of escape instead of explaining the reasons for it and providing description concerning what happened later.
The book's attention is drawn to some of the characters. However, the book itself is devoid of leaders, heroes and central figures, unlike some of the other books including 'The Wreck of the Titan' and 'Narrative of the Captivity.' Absence of central figures makes the book widely interesting for many audiences at large. It is closely connected with the society and people of the past. However, the author shifts away from the main point of describing the society with its individuals, issues and advantages. He devotes most of attention to describing the characters rather than events connected with the political situation of many countries.
Not being too complicated in its way, the plot is quite simple and easy to follow. Despite all the twists in it, the plot still appears to be interesting, fascinating and attractive. All the events depicted in the text look real and remind people of their own lives and situations in it. Taking into account all the stylistic devices, such as tropes and figures of speech, one can say that the text abounds with them. The following piece of literary prose can even serve as a perfect guide for those about to study analytical reading on an everyday basis. Moreover, the text can be closely examined on the basis of literary structure cohesion and three principles which are analogy and contrast, incomplete representation and recurrence. The first principle is clearly depicted in the way the wild nature is opposed to a civilized society. The principle of recurrence is vividly expressed in the text where the point of finding something new is mentioned. Finally, the principle of incomplete representation is mentioned in the title of the book itself, 'The Caliban Shore: The Fate of the Grosvenor Castaways.' The word 'castaways' here serves as an incomplete representation of wandering in the ocean, looking for land and dreaming of a new land. In other words, 'castaways' does not sound as something negative. It rather sounds as something encouraging, promising and soothing.
'Caliban's Shore' is a book read by various masses of audiences and age groups at large. The book serves as a wonderful example of unbreakable willpower, human strengths and unlimited wisdom. The book might not be the best example in terms of laying out historical events. Notwithstanding, there are a lot of instances of many political events and issues described in the text. All these events may be interesting for all the historians, literature critics and simple readers. 'Caliban Shore' is an outstanding book. Both literary critics and school students must read it at least once in their lifetime.