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Harbor of Spies


A captivating thriller-at-sea set in Spanish colonial Havana in the 1860s.
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Discuss Harbor of Spies by Robin Lloyd:
Townsend wonders if the meaning of life is merely "to overcome one's miseries, the sadness, the fears and the loss." What do you think?

Created: 05/17/18

Replies: 13

Posted May. 17, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1584

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Townsend wonders if the meaning of life is merely "to overcome one's miseries, the sadness, the fears and the loss." What do you think?

Townsend muses on the meaning of the Spanish word to survive, which translates "to be on the top of life." He thinks this means "to overcome one's miseries, the sadness, the fears and the loss" and wonders if the meaning of life is merely to confront these challenges. What do you think?


Posted May. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 350

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RE: Townsend wonders if the meaning of life is merely "to overcome one's miseries, the sadness, the fears and the loss." What do you think?

That description seems negative to me. Most people encounter problems and maybe even miseries during a regular life span, but life is an adventure and can be full of happiness, love, and even joy.


Posted May. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Cynthia

Join Date: 06/07/17

Posts: 36

RE: Townsend wonders if the meaning of life is merely "to overcome one's miseries, the sadness, the fears and the loss." What do you think?

I think maybe we've all been there at some time. It is very negative and given how his life seems to be unfolding, the awful situations (miseries, sadness, fears and loss) he's had to endure, (again, at 19!), I would assume he would find a more positive outlook as his life progresses, particularly with Emma as his partner.


Posted May. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Maggie

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 112

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RE: Townsend wonders if the meaning of life is merely "to overcome one's miseries, the sadness, the fears and the loss." What do you think?

Everyone has struggles sometime in their life. Work to overcome the difficulties. Strive to have a peaceful happy life. Love one another, be compassionate and humble. Care for others as you would like to be cared for. Surround yourself with positive friends.


Posted May. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nancyh

Join Date: 06/25/13

Posts: 169

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RE: Townsend wonders if the meaning of life is merely "to overcome one's miseries, the sadness, the fears and the loss." What do you think?

I certainly hope there is more than this to like. It sounds pretty sad to me and I do not think that is right. We need to balance our life with joy and happiness to fulfill it. Everyone has times of sadness and, hopefully there are time of happiness and contentment.


Posted May. 20, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
renem

Join Date: 12/01/16

Posts: 172

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RE: Townsend wonders if the meaning of life is merely "to overcome one's miseries, the sadness, the fears and the loss." What do you think?

In his shoes, at that time period, I can certainly see where his thoughts was coming from. The meaning of life is very personal and therefore different for each individual.


Posted May. 20, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebajane

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 211

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RE: Townsend wonders if the meaning of life is merely "to overcome one's miseries, the sadness, the fears and the loss." What do you think?

It’s an awfully depressing way to think. But he’s young and given what happened in his life so far certainly inderstandable. I have hope given the ending that that way of thinking would change as he gets older


Posted May. 24, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ruthiea

Join Date: 02/03/14

Posts: 114

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RE: Townsend wonders if the meaning of life is merely "to overcome one's miseries, the sadness, the fears and the loss." What do you think?

If that is all there is to life, why bother? Even in difficult times people still find moments of joy, hope and love, other wise life just would not be worth living. Townsend is young and has been through so much in such a short time. I think he will become happier away from Cuba and certainly once the war is over.


Posted May. 27, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pennyp

Join Date: 03/22/12

Posts: 323

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RE: Townsend wonders if the meaning of life is merely "to overcome one's miseries, the sadness, the fears and the loss." What do you think?

I think we all have times in our lives when we wonder about the meaning of life, but in general try to find our own path and purpose. It may be easier in modern day because most of us have adequate food and shelter and dont have to add that struggle into our lives. If you don’t have enough to eat or a place to live, that in fact would be a huge misery. Also being caught up in a war with all of its fallout could contribute to Townsends belief.


Posted May. 31, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
alissac

Join Date: 05/14/15

Posts: 49

RE: Townsend wonders if the meaning of life is merely "to overcome one's miseries, the sadness, the fears and the loss." What do you think?

That view is utterly depressing, no? That’s why we’re alive, that’s our purpose? His view just makes me sad- but I can see how he’d arrive at such a place bc of his own history. Life had not been terribly kind to him, and offered him many disappointments and struggles to be overcome. I could see that, for him, he could derive purpose and value from overcoming and surviving- I understand that, and see value in it too, but to view that as the meaning of one’s life just seems...like not enough.


Posted Jun. 02, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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Nae

Join Date: 07/17/12

Posts: 29

RE: Townsend wonders if the meaning of life is merely "to overcome one's miseries, the sadness, the fears and the loss." What do you think?

Because of his life history I understand why he would feel that way but he tended to wallow in it a bit too much for my taste.


Posted Jun. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PinkLady

Join Date: 01/22/18

Posts: 28

RE: Townsend wonders if the meaning of life is merely "to overcome one's miseries, the sadness, the fears and the loss." What do you think?

I don't believe that his meaning of life is accurate. He went to the naval academy so one would think he was looking for something more than to just survive. I think there is hope in the meaning of life, a responsibility to serve others and do all you can to give opportunities to those less fortunate.


Posted Jun. 07, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Elizabeth Marie

Join Date: 05/26/18

Posts: 17

RE: Townsend wonders if the meaning of life is merely "to overcome one's miseries, the sadness, the fears and the loss." What do you think?

I agree that we all find ourselves feeling this way at times, but I hope those times of sorrow are balanced by the joy of life.


Posted Jun. 10, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lesleyf

Join Date: 05/14/11

Posts: 53

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RE: Townsend wonders if the meaning of life is merely "to overcome one's miseries, the sadness, the fears and the loss." What do you think?

At the time he thought this, it may have been how he wanted to interpret the Spanish but notice that he "interprets". I agree with those who feel that as he matures, especially with Emma at his side, his views will change for the better - i.e. be more optimistic. He had a hard start and a nasty "growing up" phase but I believe this character will be more joyous and positive later. The author leaves us with that optimistic feeling (as any good story should!).


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