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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:
Why do you think Townsend ultimately agrees to become a spy? Is becoming a spy the more noble course of action for him?

Created: 05/17/18

Replies: 7

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1584

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Why do you think Townsend ultimately agrees to become a spy? Is becoming a spy the more noble course of action for him?

Savage ask Townsend to become a spy for the Union, telling him he should stand up for his conviction that slavery is wrong. Do you think that's why he ultimately agrees? 

Like the term "blockade runner," "spy" has a negative connotation. By agreeing to be a spy, is Townsend exchanging one bad situation for another – the lesser of two evils – or is being a spy truly the more noble course of action?


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

Join Date: 06/07/17

Posts: 36

RE: Why do you think Townsend ultimately agrees to become a spy? Is becoming a spy the more noble course of action for him?

Townsend was always conflicted at being a blockade runner. He didn't support slavery in the first place so yes, being a spy was the more noble course of action. Savage explained to him that if the South won the war, they intended to form a new Republic, the "Golden Circle," which would form a powerful association of slave states as far north as the Mason-Dixon line and south to Mexico and Central America. Instead of abolishing slavery, they would "breathe new life" into it. Savage convinced him that his close association with Don Pedro put him in a valuable position to do the right thing and help defeat slavery. Furthermore, Emma told him it was time to stand up for his convictions, and this meant something to him.


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: Why do you think Townsend ultimately agrees to become a spy? Is becoming a spy the more noble course of action for him?

He was against slavery and he knew it was the right thing to do. A very brave man again he was putting his life in danger. It was a noble thing to do.


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

Join Date: 05/14/11

Posts: 53

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RE: Why do you think Townsend ultimately agrees to become a spy? Is becoming a spy the more noble course of action for him?

Certainly. He had to show gratitude to Don Pedro on his escape from the prison but working for him was against his beliefs/principles. Savage offered him a way to make this work FOR his convictions. Spying is not an ignoble job when you are morally correct. And by that I mean knowing right from wrong not any particularly religious connotation.


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: Why do you think Townsend ultimately agrees to become a spy? Is becoming a spy the more noble course of action for him?

Well said Cynthia. Townsend realizes that spying will at least ease his conscience and win points with Emma.


Posted May. 26, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
clapshot

Join Date: 11/05/16

Posts: 16

RE: Why do you think Townsend ultimately agrees to become a spy? Is becoming a spy the more noble course of action for him?

I think Townsend's upbringing--his parents' beliefs--finally won out. He was raised to abhor slavery, and when confronted with the reality of it, he finally manages to do right. He was in one of those situations where "doing the right thing" was dangerous. It often is.


Posted Jun. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cathyoc

Join Date: 04/26/17

Posts: 25

RE: Why do you think Townsend ultimately agrees to become a spy? Is becoming a spy the more noble course of action for him?

I think Townsend sees become a spy as a way to justify his blockade running for the South. He was forced into being a traitor to his beliefs, becoming a spy allowed him to be true to himself.


Posted Jun. 14, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Elizabeth Marie

Join Date: 05/26/18

Posts: 17

RE: Why do you think Townsend ultimately agrees to become a spy? Is becoming a spy the more noble course of action for him?

I think he felt trapped in his current position which allowed him to stay out of prison but helped the Confederate cause. Becoming a Union spy allowed him to fight against slavery which he abhorred. Spying was more consistent with his principles and had the benefit of Emma’s admiration.


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