The Mutiny on the Bounty By Charles Nordhoff and James Hall Summary and Analysis Chapters 12-13

Summary

Byam meets Tehani, the beautiful princess he saw during his initial stay in Tahiti, and he falls deeply in love with her. The two marry and move into a house just below Tehani's uncle's house on the opposite side of the island from Hitihiti.

Byam continues to work on the Tahitian dictionary, and one day he and Tehani sail around the island to see Hitihiti, Stewart, and Morrison. Byam learns that Morrison, Norman, McIntosh, Muspratt, and Byrne are constructing a boat to take them to Batavai, where the chances are greater that they might be picked up by an English ship. Byam also learns where the other crewmen of the Bounty are living on Tahiti, and that Churchill has been killed by Thompson, who has also killed a Tahitian man and his child.

On the fifteenth of August 1790, Tehani gives birth to a daughter, Helen, named after Byam's mother. Stewart and Peggy and their young daughter come to visit Tehani and Byam, and the group spends the day on an uninhabited area along the shore. Life on the island continues to be soothing for Byam, and all thoughts of England soon become only blurred memories.

Analysis

Any novel dealing with the South Sea is bound to have a romantic interlude in it. Mutiny on the Bounty is no exception. Byam's meeting the beautiful Tehani is presented in such perfect, idyllic terms that the reader cannot understand why Byam, or anyone, would want to leave this island paradise. Yet some of the men do become impatient with this seemingly perfect existence. Thompson, for no logical reason, kills a native and his child, and later kills Churchill before being killed by the natives; yet even this horror does not make any of the natives turn against the other Europeans. Later, writing about these times, Byam will maintain that these were the happiest eighteen months of his life.

Glossary

a fathom deep a unit of measurement equal to six feet.

retainers old, loyal servants or employees.

nothing loath not reluctantly.

throwing off his mantle throwing off his cloak.

an isthmus a narrow strip of land, bordered on both sides by water, connecting two large areas of land.

wild glen a small, overgrown, secluded valley.

cumber my narrative burden a story with unnecessary details.

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