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Stevenson, who was afflicted with tuberculosis, spent his last years in the South Seas where he wrote this tale of foreigners in the Pacific islands.
Posted December 10, 2001
The Ebb-Tide is a scathing attack on British colonialism in the South Pacific and witnessed assaults from Victorian censorship conventions because it depicted the subjugation and oppression native islanders suffered at the hands of the British. Attwater is the definitive and most memorable figure of Stevenson's colonialists. His presence in the islands is ominous, menacing and is comparable to (though predates) Colonel Kurtz in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. The crew of forlorn sailors spend their decadent lives in search of fortune but their own vices and a fatal encounter with Attwater cripple any chances of financial success. The text's open-ended conclusion was an innovative literary tactic for the time and one that contributes significantly to the overall bleakness of the text. For readers and non-readers of Stevenson, The Ebb-Tide reveals the vast talents of an author left behind by the modernist movement and filed hastily under the category of a fiction/adventure writer for boys. While adventure is prevalent in The Ebb-Tide, the novel is a foremost exploration into the emperialist minds of those who journeyed to the South Pacific ravaging numerous civilizations.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.