The Man Who Saved Henry Morgan – Part 2 (pages 74 – 153)

The Man Who Saved Henry Morgan CoverThe Word On The Street’s Book Club discussion of The Man Who Saved Henry Morgan got started last week. Check out the conversation!

This week, book club leader Karen has a few questions based on pages 74 – 153.

Coming Up
Part 3
– Ch 15-24 (pg. 242)
Part 4 – Ch 24 – End

Hi everyone! Thank you so much for your insightful comments this past week! You definitely made me rethink some of my impressions, which is exactly what I love about book clubs. I can’t wait to start discussing part 2!

  1. What was your first reaction after finishing the part? Was there anything that surprised you? I can’t say I saw the outcome of the second expedition coming!
  1. I have to admit that one of my shortcomings as a reader is that I’m often too trusting of the narrator, which is why I loved that some of you weren’t sure whether to trust Wand’s story in the previous part! Do you think Benny is a reliable narrator?
  1. Given how chapter 14 ends, I really want to talk about Captain Morgan. What do you think of him now? I did not see him as a heartless man in part 1, but now I’m starting to doubt him. Do you think everything has been a part of a bigger plan, or did he genuinely enjoy watching the priests suffer?

Please feel free to add your questions in the comments as well!


4 thoughts on “The Man Who Saved Henry Morgan – Part 2 (pages 74 – 153)

  1. 1. My skin just crawled! I knew the personality shift was coming, I just didn’t know under what circumstances, and how. I knew that Benny’s hero worship would be tested. It’s a good reminder that while Benny and Morgan both thrive on logic, Morgan is a killer who has a pretty gruesome task to complete.

    2. While Benny makes a living as a cheat, he seems like an honest person. It’s a good paradox. Internally he’s measured, honest, cynical. To the world, he’s whatever they need him to be. He seems to accept whatever people for what they want to be seen as. His rapport with Tessie is an extension of this — romance seems out of the question for them, but comfort and respect aren’t. Their personalities align — they’re both hustlers, but seem fundamentally kind. They’re doing the best with their circumstances.

    3. I don’t think it’s enjoyment as much as satisfaction at besting people. He doesn’t want unnecessary bloodshed, but he does really seem to conquering. It’s not like a political strategy, or because he really cares about the monarchy, it’s more like that old saying, “it’s not enough that I win, my enemies have to lose.”

  2. Better late than never! haha

    I already discussed my mistrust of Morgan last week, so I won’t spend too much time reiterating – i’ll only say again that I think Benny and Morgan are perfect foils for one another, and following their moral compasses really highlights this because although they both are logical tacticians, one is empathetic and less so (given the twisted way that Morgan smiles as the oil comes down).

    I agree with Lizzie that Benny is honest and therefore a more reliable narrator. I, too, tend to trust the narrator implicitly (especially when they have an accent for some reason). But I think that Benny has shown us his vulnerability again and again with Tessie, his relationship with Taylor, and even the dreams he has about his grandfather. Again, I say that he is a Robin Hoodian character, who might make his living by less-than-honest means but he chooses not to cheat other poor fellows like himself and only the rich, so I have a hard time finding him untrustworthy.

    I think Morgan is a great actor. I don’t trust him for a minute. He tells Benny that he hates giving those aristocratic parties and that he’s so bored with that life, but he doesn’t seem to mind the money too much. I think Morgan has created a mythology for himself – one that allows him to believe that he’s a pirate, a member of the loyal thieves, when in fact he has always been a manipulative aristocrat just like the rest of them. I’m staking this claim largely on the fact that he tells Benny he doesn’t want anyone to be hurt, and yet seems pleased when the oil comes down and doesn’t care at all for the lives of others, let alone those of his own crew. He has an outward persona of noble pirate that he portrays to the world, part of his namesake as the great saviour Henry Morgan, but through and through he is a heartless man.

  3. It didn’t occur to me that as much as he claims to disdain aristocratic life, he does love the money! Interesting idea about him being a great actor. Maybe it’s almost that the money and lavish lifestyle are just a way to keep score.

  4. I was pretty surprised that Benny had miscalculated his opponents reactions to his plan. I’d gotten so used to his undefeated chess record that I kind of forgot that chess and war aren’t really the same, and that stakes are so much higher.

    I didn’t immediately trust Benny, but by this point we’ve seen enough of his mind and actions that I think he is a reliable narrator.

    Morgan’s shifting character and his ominous repeated assertions to Benny that he will defeat him someday are pretty unsettling. I do understand why Benny is so drawn to trying to please and impress Morgan, but I don’t think this relationship can end well!

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