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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 would Townsend try to justify his grandmother's actions? Do you find yourself making excuses for others' behavior or choices?

Created: 05/17/18

Replies: 6

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 would Townsend try to justify his grandmother's actions? Do you find yourself making excuses for others' behavior or choices?

Townsend makes excuses for his grandmother's actions – "These methods of harsh discipline were normal in Cuba. She felt an obligation to keep the family plantation going. It was her heritage." Why would he try to justify her actions? Do you find yourself making excuses for others' behavior or choices? 


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

Join Date: 05/09/18

Posts: 9

RE: Why would Townsend try to justify his grandmother's actions? Do you find yourself making excuses for others' behavior or choices?

I think Townsend was enamored with the idea of having this new Grandmother and was perhaps excited to have a relationship with her. Her actions regarding slavery were in conflict with his own, which would make it hard to develop a relationship. So maybe he tries to look past it? Don't many of us look past negatives about others because we want to love other parts of them?


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 would Townsend try to justify his grandmother's actions? Do you find yourself making excuses for others' behavior or choices?

I think we all do. We are always a little guilty of armchair psychology - we want to understand one person's actions so we try to explain them to ourselves. But it is also a way to help a 21st century reader better understand the 19th century thought processes (not to mention the few actions available to women then).


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

Join Date: 12/01/16

Posts: 180

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RE: Why would Townsend try to justify his grandmother's actions? Do you find yourself making excuses for others' behavior or choices?

Well said lesleyf. I guess he tried to put himself in her shoes. How can one person, one plantation owner (especially a female), go against what the whole of Cuba accepted as normal and necessary for the economy, and still survive? It doesn't make it right but it does make it tolerable.


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: Why would Townsend try to justify his grandmother's actions? Do you find yourself making excuses for others' behavior or choices?

I think he was so desperate to maintain a connection to this part of his family that he tried to see things as she did - but I think he would realize that he could not justify what his grandmother was involved in. He would still try to stay in contact, but maintain a distance.


Posted Jun. 12, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 356

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RE: Why would Townsend try to justify his grandmother's actions? Do you find yourself making excuses for others' behavior or choices?

Making excuses not only happens with individuals but with countries. For example, "stopping the domino effect" (whether it's capitalists against communism or communists against capitalists), the real reason is often control of another region's natural resources.


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

Join Date: 05/26/18

Posts: 17

RE: Why would Townsend try to justify his grandmother's actions? Do you find yourself making excuses for others' behavior or choices?

I think Townsend’s excuses for his grandmother were an effort to make sense out of her cruel behavior. She was his blood relative and was charming to him and therefore it was difficult to see her in a bad light. Her beliefs about slaves were consistent with her culture and Townsend understood that. I think we all make excuses for the bad behavior of those we love from time to time. How often do we blame our child’s bad behavior on their friends?


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