An American missionary and his wife travel to the exotic island kingdom of Hawaii, intent on converting the natives. But the clash between the two cultures is too great and instead of understanding there comes tragedy.
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Abner Hale, a rigid and humorless New England missionary, marries the beautiful Jerusha Bromley and takes her to the exotic island kingdom of Hawaii, intent on converting the natives. But the clash between the two cultures is too great and instead of understanding there comes tragedy. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Jocelyne LaGarde is the only performer in Academy Award history to be nominated for the only performance ever given. LaGarde had never acted before and never acted again in her entire life. See more »
When Jerusha is in labor Abner times her contractions very closely with his pocket watch. Most pocket watches in the 1820's had no second hands, particularly one owned by a poor missionary. See more »
I have been thinking lately, that our church is ready for a board of deacons. I'm willing to make you their head, Keoki. You would move among the Hawaiians, find out who is smoking, who has alcohol on his breath, who is sleeping with another man's wife - that sort of thing. Then each week, you will hand me a list, to be admonished from the pulpit.
I sought a way to serve my people... not to spy upon them.
[turns and walks away]
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After seeing the movie on cable a few months ago, I decided to read the book.
The movie is only about one-fifth of the whole book. Too bad. The movie leaves a lot of unresolved plot threads which are resolved later in the book. Subplots which seem inconsequential turn out to have major implications to the plot of the novel. Minor characters from the movie become more important as the story progresses. For example, Gene Hackman's Dr. John Whipple and Richard Harris' Raefer Hoxworth have only a few scenes in Hawaii, but their characters are perhaps the two most important characters in the book. Whipple and Hoxworth are the ones who challenge the authority of the missionaries and, in a sense, are the true foils to Abner Hale. They also are the ones who go into business.
As a result, the movie, standing by itself, tends to introduce characters and subplots with no relevancy to the main Abner-Jerusha-Malama-Keolo story line. Perhaps a sequel was planned? In short, Hawaii would have worked better as a mini-series.
********************* How the Novel Ends:
Abner Hale's son, Micah, who was last seen getting a boat to the mainland to attend Yale University, becomes a minister like his father. The sea captain, Raefer Hoxworth, marries Noelini, the daughter of the Alii Nui. Micah then meets and falls in love with Raefer's and Noelini's daughter. They get married. Abner Hale scorns Micha; claiming the Micah has gone "whoring with the heathens." Micah quits the ministry and becomes a partner in Raefer Hoxworth's shipping company - now called Hoxworth and Hale.
John Whipple and Retire Janders (the captain of the ship that brought the missionaries to Hawaii) are partners in Janders & Whipple. Initially a trading company, general store, and ship chandler, they start acquiring land and growing sugar. J&W eventually becomes a plantation company and needs cheap labor to work their fields. John Whipple imports Chinese workers.
A generation after the movie ends, the descendants of Hale, Whipple, Janders, Hewlett (the man who was kicked out of the church for marrying a Hawaiian woman) and the Hoxworth are the commercial, social, and political elite of Hawaii. Micah Hale leads the movement to have the United States annex Hawaii and serves as the first governor of the Territory of Hawaii.
The descendants of these families continue to build their businsses and develop the islands. In an ironic twist, the families, refusing to marry Hawaiians or Chinese, intermarry. Eventually cousins marry cousins - the very practices Abner Hale condemned from his puplit. You eventually get characters named: Whipple Hoxworth; Hoxworth Hale; Hewlett Janders; Bromley Hoxworth.
Finally, at the end of the novel the rich, post-WW II descendants of the missionaries talk about their "distinguished ancestors." Their descriptions and interpretation of events, differs from what it portrayed in the earlier chapters.
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