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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:
Do you agree with Townsend that if his mother had stayed on her Cuban plantation that "her principles would have slowly eroded" and she would have become like her mother?

Created: 05/17/18

Replies: 14

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1584

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Do you agree with Townsend that if his mother had stayed on her Cuban plantation that "her principles would have slowly eroded" and she would have become like her mother?

Townsend believes that if his mother had stayed on her Cuban plantation that "her principles would have slowly eroded," and that she'd become like her mother who "had been willing to look the other way all too often and embrace brutality." Do you think this would have been the case?


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

Join Date: 06/07/17

Posts: 36

RE: Do you agree with Townsend that if his mother had stayed on her Cuban plantation that "her principles would have slowly eroded" and she would have become like her mother?

I believe it would be almost impossible for Townsend's mother to become like her mother. There was a reason she held so much disdain for her, and not simply because she tried to thwart her marriage to his father. Like her son, she had an inherent aversion to the kind of cruelty she grew up with. He wasn't able to hide his discomfort while visiting Mantanza"s Bay with Don Pedro, and she wasn't able to live with it under her mother's roof.


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

Join Date: 06/07/17

Posts: 36

RE: Do you agree with Townsend that if his mother had stayed on her Cuban plantation that "her principles would have slowly eroded" and she would have become like her mother?

I believe it would be almost impossible for Townsend's mother to become like her mother. There was a reason she held so much disdain for her, and not simply because she tried to thwart her marriage to his father. Like her son, she had an inherent aversion to the kind of cruelty she grew up with. He wasn't able to hide his discomfort while visiting Mantanza"s Bay with Don Pedro, and she wasn't able to live with it under her mother's roof.


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

Join Date: 09/08/12

Posts: 35

RE: Do you agree with Townsend that if his mother had stayed on her Cuban plantation that "her principles would have slowly eroded" and she would have become like her mother?

I don't think her principles would have eroded and I don't think she would have been able to turn a blind eye to her surroundings. Had she not had the opportunity to escape, she may have rebelled and put herself in danger from the polictics and corruption around her.


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

Join Date: 12/01/16

Posts: 172

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RE: Do you agree with Townsend that if his mother had stayed on her Cuban plantation that "her principles would have slowly eroded" and she would have become like her mother?

I don't agree with Townsend because I don't think he fully understood his mother's deep-seated hatred of plantation life. Her hatred of the abuse and use of slaves together with what she felt was betrayal by her mother for the arranged marriage was too much for her principles to erode.


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

Join Date: 01/27/18

Posts: 16

RE: Do you agree with Townsend that if his mother had stayed on her Cuban plantation that "her principles would have slowly eroded" and she would have become like her mother?

I don’t agree with him. I don’t think she would have become like her mom but I think she would have grown more and more uncomfortable. She probably would have left the plantation eventually because of her unhappiness with the situation.


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: Do you agree with Townsend that if his mother had stayed on her Cuban plantation that "her principles would have slowly eroded" and she would have become like her mother?

I do not think his mother would have changed if she had stayed on the plantation. She sounded like a very strong young woman and would become even stronger as she aged.


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: Do you agree with Townsend that if his mother had stayed on her Cuban plantation that "her principles would have slowly eroded" and she would have become like her mother?

Sadly, it is quite possible that Townsend's mother might have grown accustomed to life on the plantation however much she may have been uncomfortable with it. The fact that she ran when an arranged marriage was planned for her is far more immediate and important and not the same as fighting slavery on principle while your livelihood depends on it. We can't think like 21st century women when reading 19th century literature. It's one of the things that makes reading history hard.


Posted May. 23, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bobbie7

Join Date: 09/19/13

Posts: 54

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RE: Do you agree with Townsend that if his mother had stayed on her Cuban plantation that "her principles would have slowly eroded" and she would have become like her mother?

I do not think Townsend's mother would have allowed the flagrant brutality to the slaves as described in the book. I would like to think that if she had stayed on the plantation, she would not have had a choice to own slaves since that was the culture of the country and her heritage, but she may have had a choice to alleviate the suffering of the slaves and to maintain a more humane environment.


Posted May. 23, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cathyoc

Join Date: 04/26/17

Posts: 25

RE: Do you agree with Townsend that if his mother had stayed on her Cuban plantation that "her principles would have slowly eroded" and she would have become like her mother?

I think it would have been possible for Townsend's mother to join the rationalization that many of the upper class used in their dealing with slaves and slavery. Luckily she escaped when she was young and still idealistic.


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: Do you agree with Townsend that if his mother had stayed on her Cuban plantation that "her principles would have slowly eroded" and she would have become like her mother?

I think it is remarkable that she was so opposed to slavery and it's cruelty seeing how her entire upbringing was immersed in this culture. That being so, she would have become more resolved in her beliefs and it would have made it very difficult to stay on the plantation. She possibly could have stayed and improved conditions, but freeing her slaves would have made her a target for the slavery supporters and she would have been killed or driven off the Island.


Posted May. 29, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
miriamb

Join Date: 05/29/18

Posts: 8

RE: Do you agree with Townsend that if his mother had stayed on her Cuban plantation that "her principles would have slowly eroded" and she would have become like her mother?

No I think Esperanza was as principled and strong willed as her son. They both had a strong moral compass. That's what we loved about these characters!


Posted May. 30, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Elizabeth Marie

Join Date: 05/26/18

Posts: 17

RE: Do you agree with Townsend that if his mother had stayed on her Cuban plantation that "her principles would have slowly eroded" and she would have become like her mother?

I think that his mother would have become increasingly unhappy on the plantation. As a young adult she found her mother’s values repugnant. I don’t think she could ever be happy there.


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

Join Date: 01/22/18

Posts: 28

RE: Do you agree with Townsend that if his mother had stayed on her Cuban plantation that "her principles would have slowly eroded" and she would have become like her mother?

No, I don't agree. His mother and grandmother were very differnt people and I think his mother would have risen above, tried to make a difference, not succumbed.


Posted Jun. 04, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nancyh

Join Date: 06/25/13

Posts: 169

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RE: Do you agree with Townsend that if his mother had stayed on her Cuban plantation that "her principles would have slowly eroded" and she would have become like her mother?

I believe it would have been very difficult for her to stay on the Plantation. She would not have been able to handle the abuse. I do believe though that the longer you live with something, the more you come to accept it. it was necessary for her to get away before this happened.


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