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    AC Benus
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

OMOO - A Lost Soul in the South Seas - A Film Script - 1. Parts 1 and 2

The Secret Melville [03]

 

 

OMOO

A Lost Soul in the South Seas

Film Script

 

"Fortunately for serious minds,

a bias recognized

is a bias sterilized"

A. Eustace Haydon

 

"The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye;

the more light you pour upon it,

the more it will contract"

Oliver Wendell Homes, II

 

"There are all kinds of addicts, I guess.

We all have pain.

And we all look for ways

to make the pain go away"

Sherman Alexie

 

"Here I am trying to live,

or rather, I am trying to teach

the death within me how to live"

Jean Cocteau

 

 


 

 

 

Based upon the Novels:

Omoo:

A Narrative of Adventure in the South Pacific, 1847

And the

A Voyage Thither section

from

Mardi, 1849

by Herman Melville

 

 

 

"To ourselves, we each and all seem to be coeval with creation. That is why, when it comes, it is so hard for a man to die. It is like the very world itself is departing; a veritable doomsday for all alive, with the single death of but one."

After A Voyage Thither, Chapter 3

 

 

 


 

[Part 1 – A Restless Soul – I: Sunset Interview in the Lookout]

EXT. FOREMAST-HEAD OF THE ARCTURION AT SEA – SUNSET

REDBURN and JARL stand with backs against the mast looking towards the setting sun. They smoke pencil-thin cigars. It’s clear Redburn has something on his mind, but they silently admire the orange disk of the sun nearing the horizon. A steady tropical breeze blows against them with the forward momentum of the ship. It is a peaceful and beautiful evening.

 

REDBURN

You don’t mind that I joined you?

 

Jarl smiles in spite of his efforts to be taciturn.

 

JARL

Nope.

 

Jarl draws a long puff from his cigar, and then holds it.

 

REDBURN

I… It’s just that – I saw you here, and I know what it’s like to be standing on ‘a bit of stick,’ a hundred foot aloft,

hours at a time, like some old albatross, all alone, on the lookout for whales that are never seen.

 

Jarl turns to Redburn with a half-grin, a paced release of smoke through his nose, and then a slow nod.

 

JARL

Yep.

 

Redburn pivots his shoulder on the mast, crosses arms, and frankly stares at Jarl.

 

REDBURN

If you close your eyes, it’s like feeling the sensation of swiftly flying over the sea – free of the ship, free of duty – like crossing the world on a balloon – you talk to the clouds; you have a fellow feeling for the sun.

 

JARL

(good-naturedly)

A good sailor doesn’t close his eyes at the foremast-head – whales or no whales.

 

Redburn sighs and returns to the light, restless.

 

REDBURN

That’s the problem with the Arcturion – sailing up and down the line, over and over, and yet no quarry to hunt. This ship is like the North Star of its name: destined to circle in endless polar flights, never to be free. It has bred complacency in the men. Everything is too good with us. The men are good, the Captain anything but a tyrant, and yet, I find it difficult to mingle my sympathies with theirs – except to deplore a calm.

 

Redburn remembers his cigar and rolls it between his fingers. He smokes it lightly, and Jarl becomes concerned by Redburn’s state of mind.

 

REDBURN (CONT’D)

I find here no soul a magnet to mine…

 

Jarl loses all good humor. He sours on his cigar

 

REDBURN (CONT’D)

…No attractive qualities amongst the tarry knaves. Sometimes, I wish we were sprung with a leak, or stove by a furious whale – then I would see a fire struck from their steel. Their mettle in crisis would stir up some limber actions to unify us one to one another.

 

JARL

(after a tense pause)

I’m sorry to hear there is ‘no soul a magnet’ to yours.

 

Redburn licks his lips and glibly tries to explain.

 

REDBURN

Jarl…I meant. You know I was talking about the others, not you, not my Viking.

 

JARL

(defiant tone)

You came up here for a reason, didn’t you?

 

Redburn drops all pretense; he stands upright.

 

REDBURN

I was talking to the Captain. I was at the helm. I reminded him that I signed up for one passage. I asked him bluntly when and where we were to drop anchor next.

 

Redburn waits, and Jarl grows impatient.

 

JARL

Well?

 

REDBURN

He told me we were abandoning the South Pacific to go to the Bay of Kamchatka – the frozen North! – to hunt right whales. Detestable, I thought to myself – to spear lethargic right whales is like a shark hunter shooting carp in a barrel – no sportsman-ship. I told Vang ‘We are meant to chase the lithe sperm whale, not those sluggard fish of the north!’ He said ‘Redburn, my boy, our world is addicted to oil, and it’s our job to feed that hunger for the burning lamplight wherever it may be found. So’—he said, putting his hand on my shoulder, his voice so close to my ear, I could feel his beard—‘take your leave of my ship, if you can, boy. If you can.’

 

JARL

(eyes him nervously)

So?

 

REDBURN

(enthusiastically)

So! I’ve taken the Captain’s words as both license and challenge.

 

JARL

(slack-jawed amazement)

Take one of the longboats?! That’s madness! Idiots who jump ship that way are never heard of again.

 

REDBURN

(defensively)

How so? Did we not pick up two men this very voyage? They said their ship burned to the waterline, but what do we know what really led them off their craft?

 

Redburn inhales sharply, stands close to Jarl’s shoulder and draws Jarl’s attention towards the setting sun.

 

REDBURN (CONT’D)

(calmly)

See? A thousand miles lay the Kingsmill Group – it’s due west of our position.

 

JARL

Look, lad, you are getting a reputation as a ship-jumper. For once, be not a boy. Pause and reflect, and stick to a ship so you can go home a man.

 

REDBURN

(hurt)

Harsh words, but the truth is – I can’t leave Polynesia. I appreciate you befriending me.

I could not have asked for a better chummie in all the South Sea fishery – but—

 

JARL

But, I’m not good enough for you. I’m not enough for you to stick to the Arcturion?

 

REDBURN

Skyeman – my Viking – I appeal to your ancestors’ blood running hot beneath that cool exterior. Your forefathers, who settled on hardscrabble Scottish soil, tell you to follow adventure as much as my heart tells me. We need to break free.

 

JARL

You’ll need a navigator….

 

REDBURN

Who else?

 

JARL

You wrap all your partners around the little finger of your caprice, don’t you?

 

Redburn shrugs, and knows he has already won Jarl over.

 

REDBURN

Look out there – a few weeks to the west, where the sky is now piled high with crimson and gold – a mild cadence touches white beaches, palms sigh through a chorus of birdsong – our beating hearts dissolve all things together with the calling voices of maidens and the lulled laughing of bronzed men. We must go there.

 

Jarl considers a nuts-and-bolts checklist in his mind.

 

JARL

A thousand miles – with a fair trade wind, with the boat’s sail – it’s a good twenty-day passage. Figure a month with any calms.

 

Jarl shakes his head. He finds it hard to believe he is considering this madness. He wonders what compels Redburn to his restlessness.

 

JARL (CONT’D)

A rover; a restless soul. Do you even know of what you seek? What happened to you after you were rescued from that island?

 

[Part 1 – II: Opening Title and Credits]

FADE IN: TITLE CARD: ”The Secret Melville, OMOO, A Lost Soul in the South Seas”

EXT. MAIN DECK OF THE JULIA – EARLY EVENING

While credits roll, there are shots of REDBURN being helped on board the Julia. The ship is tacked off the beach at Taipivai, and Redburn has just been rescued. Members of the CREW eye the near-naked Redburn with disdain. They are in tattered and patched clothes, and the ship is likewise decrepit and unmaintained. SALEM, a New Englander in his mid-twenties, brings a bundle of clothes up to Redburn, dumps them in Redburn’s arms, and then pulls him by the elbow towards the forecastle. Redburn needs Salem’s support to walk. First and second officers JARMAN and BEMBO exchange a knowing glance; another burden has been dumped on their shoulders.

 

INT. FORECASTLE OF THE JULIA

REDBURN, alone in the forecastle, comes up to a shaving mirror attached to the wall. The light from the hatch is above him, to his right. He examines his face, his hair, his beard and cheeks. He hasn’t seen himself for four months. He looks older.

 

CUT TO:

REDBURN IN THE MIRROR AGAIN:

 

He rises again to see his face wet and clean-shaven. He slicks back his moist hair with his hands, pausing. Water trickles down his cheeks. The face he sees looks lost.

 

[Part 2 – Sudden Change – I: Interview with Guy]

INT. CABIN OF THE JULIA

CAPTAIN GUY is at his desk, officiously writing in the ship’s log. ROPY, the slightly awkward twenty-year-old cabin boy, is standing eying the ceiling blankly. His hands are behind his back, and he rocks slightly heel to toe. There is a WRAP at the door. Ropy glances at Guy, who waves a hand for him to open it. Guy does not look up. REDBURN sticks his wet head in. Ropy ushers him to the chair in front of Guy. Redburn needs to clamp down on Ropy’s shoulder to make it there. Redburn wears clean sailor clothes that are in markedly better condition than his shipmates’. After he sits, Guy glances up with affected indifference, then leans back in his chair, and folds his hand over his vest pockets. Thin with worry, the twenty-seven-year-old English-born skipper Guy eyes Redburn – thinks he’s handsome enough, though scraggly.

 

CAPTAIN GUY

I am Captain Guy, and you are aboard the Julia, a ship in Her Majesty’s Royal Australian Service. We have contracted to a free voyage to hunt leviathan, or seal, or anything that might turn our investors a profit….

 

Guy sees Redburn’s attention wander; first to Ropy, then around the cabin. Guy becomes pettish.

 

CAPTAIN GUY (CONT’D)

And…you are?

 

REDBURN

(turns blankly to Guy)

Call me Redburn.

 

CAPTAIN GUY

Mister—

 

REDBURN

Just – Redburn.

 

Redburn thinks the Captain is both young, and intolerably fey for his position. He wears some fancy, Asian-cut clothes of linen and silk.

 

CAPTAIN GUY

(changes strategy)

Join me in some Pisco?

 

Guy motions to Ropy, who fetches a tray with decanter and glasses. Guy Pours two shots, and then hands one to Redburn.

 

CAPTAIN GUY (CONT’D)

To your speedy recovery.

 

Guy watches Redburn drain his glass. Guy takes a sip, and refills Redburn’s glass.

 

REDBURN

Captain, what have you heard of the fate of my companion – my shipmate with me on the island – one American, Toby by name.

 

Redburn takes another drink.

 

CAPTAIN GUY

No news, I’m afraid. Nukahiva is awash with speculation. Some say a disreputable Shanghaier sold him on board a whaler, but most believe the French are behind his disappearance.

 

Guy leans forward as if he has state business to relay to Redburn. He refills Redburn’s glass.

 

CAPTAIN GUY (CONT’D)

In the four months you have been gone, the French have been very hot to solidify control over Polynesia – focusing on Tahiti. This is a dangerous time to be an English-speaking man – rumor has it your…

 

Guy unaccountably glances at Ropy

 

CAPTAIN GUY (CONT’D)

…Companion, has been rounded up with all the other undesirables from Nukahiva and transported to prison on Tahiti.

 

Guy makes Redburn drain his glass so he can refill it. He then leans back, props his hands behind his head, and sighs with an absurdly confident grin.

 

CAPTAIN GUY (CONT’D)

It still remains to be seen what the Royal Navy will do about this new French ‘Empire.’

 

REDBURN

(swaggering under the weight of the Pisco – smiling like a dolt)

Aren’t you a little young to be a sea captain…?

 

Ropy inhales a sharp laugh, and Guy glares at him. As Guy rights himself in his chair, he forms a firm dislike of Redburn.

 

CAPTAIN GUY

How long have you sailed?

 

REDBURN

Three years. Why?

 

CAPTAIN GUY

I am assuming you are a competent seaman.

 

Guy interrupts before Redburn can answer

 

CAPTAIN GUY (CONT’D)

(chuckles)

The state you came aboard…. Well – at least now you look like a sailor.

 

Redburn downs his final shot. He smacks the glass on the desk, and leans towards Guy to share a confidence. Guy does not lean in to receive it.

 

REDBURN

It is lucky for me that you and my Hawaiian friend – Karakoi’i – are such…

 

Redburn raises his eyebrows in a flash. He winks at Guy in the manner of Karakoi’i.

 

REDBURN (CONT’D)

Intimate friends.

 

Guy can hear Ropy snicker, but he does not dare look at the boy. He flushes and grows to hate Redburn.

 

CAPTAIN GUY

Yes. Well.

 

Guy opens his desk drawer and extracts a ledger.

 

 

CAPTAIN GUY (CONT’D)

Do you wish to sign up?

 

Redburn sobers up. He realizes he has overstepped, and that Guy is in the closet.

 

REDBURN

My leg…you know.

 

CAPTAIN GUY

(perfunctory)

You will go down on the sick list, and assume duties when the doctor says you are able.

 

Redburn tries to connect with the man he has just slighted.

 

REDBURN

I will ship with you – if – If, you allow me to enter for one cruise. That is, when the ship next comes

to anchor, I am allowed, if I wish, to disengage.

 

CAPTAIN GUY

(miffed)

You are not planning on becoming one of those South Sea drifters, are you?

 

REDBURN

No, sir, but I must seek to find out the fate of my lost shipmate – wherever it takes me. I hope you understand.

 

CAPTAIN GUY

That is acceptable.

 

Guy opens the ledger and hands a pen to Redburn. Redburn signs it, but is too tipsy to note that Guy makes no amendment to enter Redburn for a single cruise. He snaps the book shut and throws it into his drawer. He slams the drawer shut and looks on Redburn with an uncomfortable and conceit-ridden grin. Redburn glances at his hands with a downcast look.

 

CAPTAIN GUY (CONT’D)

(annoyed)

What is it?

 

REDBURN

It’s all so sudden. The change from my native condition – to – being back on ship. It’s as if I lie still on my woven mat and dream.

 

CAPTAIN GUY

(losing all interest in Redburn)

It is real.

 

Guy rises and gestures to Ropy. He wants Redburn to stand too.

 

CAPTAIN GUY (CONT’D)

Steward! Take your new shipmate to the windlass and fetch the doctor to mend his leg.

    

Ropy goes over and serves as a crutch. He helps Redburn stand, and they step to the door. Redburn and Ropy exit the cabin, and, while he stands there watching, a certain darkness drifts across the Captain’s face as he stands there watching.

 

[Part 2 - II: The Ship and Long Ghost]

EXT. WINDLASS OF THE JULIA – EVENING

REDBURN sits on the windlass. About him is a noisy buzz. Behind him on the quarterdeck, JARMAN barks orders, and reluctant members of the CREW spring to. Redburn looks aloft. Several ratty rope splices are visible and the sails are stained and patched. Redburn looks out to sea. A fading island drifts away from him.

 

REDBURN (V.O.)

The day was drawing to a close. The land was fading from my sight. I was all-alive to the change in my condition. So unforeseen and sudden had been my escape – so thrilled and sustained had been my excitement, that now, the great contrast between my luxurious repose in the valley with the grime, noise, and motion of a ship at sea cast all my recent adventures into the strange shadow of a mirage. How was I to believe the same sun now sinking into the waste of waters was the sun that rose and peered in upon me as I lay on my mat in Typee? How short are expectations measured against the fulfillment of ardent hopes. Safe aboard ship – so long my prayer – I nevertheless was weighed down by an unshakable melancholy. It was this – the thought that my native family, though they would retain me as captive, had still helped me escape, and had treated me with a kindness never to be repaid – were never going to be seen by me again. I was leaving them forever.

 

Redburn is lost in thought and does not notice the tall, late-thirties-something Australian LONG GHOST standing next to him.

 

LONG GHOST

(akimbo)

Ahem. I say – Ahem!

 

Redburn looks up in surprise

 

LONG GHOST (CONT’D)

I’m doctor on this here tub. Now, what

ails ye?

 

Redburn pulls up his trouser leg and shows an inflamed and red ankle.

 

LONG GHOST (CONT’D)

Oh, yes.

 

Long Ghost glowers and kneels before the affected foot. Redburn thinks he sees a kindred spirit in Long Ghost.

 

REDBURN

What do they call you, sir?

 

LONG GHOST

(squints up into Redburn’s face)

I’m not a ‘Sir.’ I live in the forecastle, with the men – where I belong.

I wouldn’t be caught dead with Captain Little-Miss-Guy.

 

Redburn chuckles, glances around and leans in to state his own opinions.

 

REDBURN

Truth to tell – I fancy the Captain more a lace clerk at a dry goods store than a bluff seadog.

 

Long Ghost pokes and prods, Redburn winces and tries to pull back. Long Ghost presses Redburn’s knee down with force.

 

LONG GHOST

Right you are, lad – more a hairdresser than any sort of man, on land or sea. Long Ghost.

 

REDBURN

Pardon?

 

LONG GHOST

The men refer to me as Doctor Long Ghost – being so tall, you see.

 

REDBURN

Redburn. But, English ships – even the ones out of Sydney – must sail with an officer doctor.

Why don’t you live in the cabin?

 

LONG GHOST

(smirks)

Be wary, boy. The Captain plies with too much Pisco – it’s his only authority on board. We had fisticuffs one evening when he got me well over, and he tried to – well – Well, I’ll only say, poor Ropy the Steward has a bugger of time fending off a drunken Guy.

 

Long Ghost suddenly stands and hails a passing shipmate.

 

LONG GHOST (CONT’D)

(in POLYNESIAN, with subtitles)

Bembo! Fetch me a length of sailcloth; for the boy’s foot.

 

Bembo looks none-too thrilled with the order, but goes about the task.

 

REDBURN

(in POLYNESIAN, with subtitles)

You speak well.

 

LONG GHOST

Somewhat.

 

REDBURN

How is my ankle?

 

LONG GHOST

I heard the cook sharpening his ax – word among the crew is – it’s destined to come off.

 

Redburn looks horrified; Long Ghost laughs right in his face.

 

LONG GHOST (CONT’D)

I’ve smeared it well with salve. Smell the eucalyptus...? A fast binding, rest, and it should heal.

 

Long Ghost laughs again. The second officer comes with a long thin strip of canvas, which Bembo drops into Redburn’s lap with coldness. He walks away. As Long Ghost begins to bind, Redburn grimaces and squirms a little. Long Ghost distracts him.

 

LONG GHOST (CONT’D)

That is Bembo, our one and last harpooner. All the others have jumped ship. From our push-off crew of thirty, only fifteen remain, and four of them are ill with the fever…I would the Captain get the fever…Bembo is Māori, but watch him. He and Jarman, the First Mate, are as thick as thieves. Other chummies to watch out for are the Carpenter – Chips – and the Cooper – Bungs. They are both sops with the Pisco and prone to violet tiffs with each other, and anybody who tries to break them apart.

 

REDBURN

Jarman’s the First Mate. Who are Second and Third?

 

LONG GHOST

Jumped! Jarman uses Bembo as his mate-of-all-work. No use a harpooner with no whales to hunt! Six months at sea, and but a single sickly whale pulled alongside – a disgrace. Captain Guy’s a disgrace.

 

REDBURN

This ship looks to be going to pieces.

 

LONG GHOST

She’s old. A Yank-built craft – put to keel in 1812 to raid English coasts during the war. She was captured, pressed to serve His Majesty until she was condemned in Sydney last year. A stingy concern bought her, fitted her out with wares and food stores from surplus auctions – and the idiots – gave her to Guy-Prissy-Pants to fetch them a profit! But, how? That fey cockney was a baker’s assistant in London. How he swindles anybody’s confidence – Bah!

 

Long Ghost stops in disgust, then stands and admires his doctoring.

 

LONG GHOST (CONT’D)

There is your leg, neat and tidy.

 

Redburn lifts his foot and sees a three-inch-thick bandage. He chuckles.

 

REDBURN

I look like a gentleman sailor, with a touch of the gout!

 

LONG GHOST

(indicates that Redburn should rise)

Don’t loosen it. No matter how it might throb. And if it does pain you, let me know, I can share a little something with you – not with the others – but with you. Now, let’s get you squared away in the forecastle.

 

Long Ghost holds out his arm and Redburn grabs it.

 

_

Copyright © 2017 AC Benus; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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This is an engrossing tale set in the Mid-19th century South Pacific. Filled with all

the sorts one could possibly imagine at sea or on land during this changing time.

The world is growing smaller, and modernity comes in fits and starts, with pockets

of resistance to the changing world. These places of escape from the outside world

are tempting, but the protagonist, Redburn, knows that nowhere on this Earth will

be acceptable without his soulmate, Toby.

 

Redburn is a decent, yet impetuous young man who will not be distracted for long

from his purpose, - to find his Toby.

 

But will he ever do so?

  • Love 1
Link to comment
On 7/23/2013 at 4:19 PM, Stephen said:

This is an engrossing tale set in the Mid-19th century South Pacific. Filled with all

the sorts one could possibly imagine at sea or on land during this changing time.

The world is growing smaller, and modernity comes in fits and starts, with pockets

of resistance to the changing world. These places of escape from the outside world

are tempting, but the protagonist, Redburn, knows that nowhere on this Earth will

be acceptable without his soulmate, Toby.

 

Redburn is a decent, yet impetuous young man who will not be distracted for long

from his purpose, - to find his Toby.

 

But will he ever do so?

Thank you, Stephen. You've summed up things perfectly well. And Redburn's soulmate, yes!

Edited by AC Benus
Link to comment

At the end of Typee we left Redburn on his way to a new ship.
In Omoo we find that ship to be the Julia. A run down ship with an inadequate captain Guy and only part of a crew as the rest have jumped ship.
On the ship Redburn meets Long Ghost, a doctor, who attends to his foot.
The captain is a point of ridicule among most of the crew and has no authority.
Some of the men are “chummies”, a partnership of two sailors, who look out for each other in every respect. Although Redburn and Long Ghost become friends, they are not “chummies”.
When the captain gets sick, the first mate Jarman tries to take over the ship in order to make money going whaling. Most of the crew though want to go ashore as they are near Tahiti.

 

As the crew is seen by the authorities as having refused to work, they are taken to The English Jail. This is a jail in name only, for they are more or less free to go as they please. Redburn’s foot gets better because of the treatment. Redburn asks around for Toby and a local young man, Kulu, advises him to visit a neighbouring island, as a couple that lives there, Zeke and Shorty, might have information on Toby. Redburn and Long Ghost visit Zeke and Shorty, who live a paradise-like existence. They have no information on Toby and refer them to Taloo, a port on the island.

 

On their way Redburn and Long Ghost stay with Popo and his family, who are good people and fit them out with new clothes. Long Ghost drugs the 13 year old daughter of the house in order to have his way with her. Redburn prevents this and quarrels with Long Ghost because of that.
Redburn meets Jarl in the town and they instantly connect. Redburn decides to sign on Jarl’s ship, the Arctourion. Long Ghost stays behind, because they don’t want Australians on the ship.

 

Redburn is not happy at the Arctourion and convinces Jarl, who in the meantime has become his “chummie”, to jump ship.
They get away on a longboat and after weeks encounter a ship, the Parki. At first is seems a ghost ship, but they find out the whole crew consist of two persons: Samoa and An’natu, both natives.
They decide to sail to An’natu’s home island and arrive there: Mardi.
Jarl knows that Redburn’s heart really is with Toby and promises Redburn he will help him find Toby.

 

We see Redburn’s restless search for Toby. He becomes a wanderer, or in Polynesian: omoo.
During his adventures we see his deep dislike of people being dependent on some substance in order to deal with life: Jarman (alcohol), Long Ghost (opiates), Chips (alcohol), Bungs (alcohol) and even Jarl (weed).
Shorty and Zeke are an ideal example, that love can overcome an addiction like that, as Zeke is an alcoholic, who doesn’t drink because he hurts Shorty by doing that. They know it’s a day at a time though.

 

After a conflict between Jarl and An’natu Redburn comforts Jarl, who breaks down. Their discussion about the bigotry of society is as valid now as it was in Melville’s days.
It ends with these beautiful words spoken by Redburn:
Into the love of equals, we are bound –
You and I are just alike –
One to the other, unbroken.”

 

Thanks AC. Another great script.

 

In Mardi the quest for Toby continues.

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On 11/09/2015 07:38 AM, J.HunterDunn said:

At the end of Typee we left Redburn on his way to a new ship.

In Omoo we find that ship to be the Julia. A run down ship with an inadequate captain Guy and only part of a crew as the rest have jumped ship.

On the ship Redburn meets Long Ghost, a doctor, who attends to his foot.

The captain is a point of ridicule among most of the crew and has no authority.

Some of the men are “chummies”, a partnership of two sailors, who look out for each other in every respect. Although Redburn and Long Ghost become friends, they are not “chummies”.

When the captain gets sick, the first mate Jarman tries to take over the ship in order to make money going whaling. Most of the crew though want to go ashore as they are near Tahiti.

 

As the crew is seen by the authorities as having refused to work, they are taken to The English Jail. This is a jail in name only, for they are more or less free to go as they please. Redburn’s foot gets better because of the treatment. Redburn asks around for Toby and a local young man, Kulu, advises him to visit a neighbouring island, as a couple that lives there, Zeke and Shorty, might have information on Toby. Redburn and Long Ghost visit Zeke and Shorty, who live a paradise-like existence. They have no information on Toby and refer them to Taloo, a port on the island.

 

On their way Redburn and Long Ghost stay with Popo and his family, who are good people and fit them out with new clothes. Long Ghost drugs the 13 year old daughter of the house in order to have his way with her. Redburn prevents this and quarrels with Long Ghost because of that.

Redburn meets Jarl in the town and they instantly connect. Redburn decides to sign on Jarl’s ship, the Arctourion. Long Ghost stays behind, because they don’t want Australians on the ship.

 

Redburn is not happy at the Arctourion and convinces Jarl, who in the meantime has become his “chummie”, to jump ship.

They get away on a longboat and after weeks encounter a ship, the Parki. At first is seems a ghost ship, but they find out the whole crew consist of two persons: Samoa and An’natu, both natives.

They decide to sail to An’natu’s home island and arrive there: Mardi.

Jarl knows that Redburn’s heart really is with Toby and promises Redburn he will help him find Toby.

 

We see Redburn’s restless search for Toby. He becomes a wanderer, or in Polynesian: omoo.

During his adventures we see his deep dislike of people being dependent on some substance in order to deal with life: Jarman (alcohol), Long Ghost (opiates), Chips (alcohol), Bungs (alcohol) and even Jarl (weed).

Shorty and Zeke are an ideal example, that love can overcome an addiction like that, as Zeke is an alcoholic, who doesn’t drink because he hurts Shorty by doing that. They know it’s a day at a time though.

 

After a conflict between Jarl and An’natu Redburn comforts Jarl, who breaks down. Their discussion about the bigotry of society is as valid now as it was in Melville’s days.

It ends with these beautiful words spoken by Redburn:

Into the love of equals, we are bound –

You and I are just alike –

One to the other, unbroken.”

 

Thanks AC. Another great script.

 

In Mardi the quest for Toby continues.

Thank you, Peter. The part you quote is an actual Polynesian same-sex love poem/song. It is regarded are as one of the literary treasures of Hawaii.

 

Thanks for a great review, and for all of your support and feedback!

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