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ID
b236b
Title
"The White Wind."
Genre
Novella
Page Count
63
Word Count
17000
Publisher
John Bull
Publication Year
1957
Topics
Doctors, Tahiti, Coming of Age

A late novella that compares unfavorably with one of Bates's first novellas and one of his most successful works, "The Cruise of the Breadwinner." Both works feature a young man coming to terms with life's realities, a derelict vessel, considerable action and violence (relative to Bates's work in general), and an irascible man serving as captain or leader. However, where the earlier work utilizes symbolism, firm writing, and strong characterization to explore the boy's ethical and philosophical challenges, the later one exhibits sentimentality and melodramatic characters, such as the drunken hotel-keeper and his young mistress, in a structure and style that is far less powerful. The element of a dedicated doctor vainly trying to get Pacific islanders to take their medicines is an expansion of the theme of Bates's 1955 "The Lotus Land," itself based on a doctor Bates met in his Tahitian travels. In John Bull (March 2 & 9, 1957), The Four Beauties (1968), A Party for the Girls (1988).