Cloud Atlas: Chapter Summary (Chapter 11: The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing)
None of the sailors join Adam and Henry at their worship. The ship sights land, and the captain says they will be stopping. He asks both Adam and Henry to come ashore. They arrive without trouble, but there is no one visible in the village. It is a Sunday, so everyone is at church. When they exit, they are wary of the newcomers.
The captain addresses the preacher and lies about the ship being full of godly men to gain the trust of the priest. Preacher Horrox had come to the island as a missionary, and now has established a church and trade. He invited them to his house for lunch. There he reveals that the natives work for the preacher in exchange for schooling for their children and credit at the preacher’s general store. The captain proposes the priest send cargo to trade with them to San Francisco and promises he’ll fetch a good price.
Once the natives find out Henry is a doctor, they flock to him for relief from their ailments. Henry is too kind to turn them away.
Adam goes out to explore the shores of Bethleham Bay. At the church, he finds a priest teaching the natives about the wonderful properties of tobacco, and all the members are smoking. A white man explains to Adam that the natives don’t need industrialization because they are too happy. If they’re addicted to tobacco, they’ll work for the priest to buy it from his general store.
Monday, 9th December: Mr. Wagstaff strolls with Adam on the island. A young missionary, he doesn’t actually like life at the cape. A group of naked children run by, most of them are black, but Mr. Wagstaff’s son is also among them, naked. He is angry at his wife for letting his child run around like a savage. His wife is a local, and he married her his first day on the island. He has no love for her and beats her and his son.
Adam asks why there are so many bibles in the church, and Mr. Wagstaff answers that there aren’t enough natives anymore to take them; they are being wiped out by disease.
At dinner, Priest Horrox explains his philosophy, the hierarchy of races, with white man at the top and negro at the bottom. The Polynesians on his isle are right about negros. He believes the lower races headed for extinction because God doesn’t want them to be alive.
Mr. Henry argues that the reason the white man is on top is because of his powerful weapons and love for material objects. When Henry is alone with Adam, he expresses disdain at the preacher’s beliefs.
The next morning they are waiting for the skiff to take them back to the Prophetess. Adam notices Mr. Wagstaff acting as overseer and carrying a whip.
Back on the Prophetess, someone has tried to break into Adam’s trunk but didn’t succeed in getting it open.
Monday, 16th December: The ship is crossing the equator. The “virgins” on the ship, those who haven’t crossed before, are hazed. Their beards are shaved, and they are dunked repeatedly.
Wednesday, 18th December: The crew members catch a shark and butcher it.
Friday, 20th December: Adam wakes up in the middle of the night with a giant cockroach crawling on his face.
Sunday, 22nd December: There is a pod of six whales sighted.
Christmas Eve: Adam’s fingers are so swollen Henry cuts off his wedding band.
Christmas Day: Christmas dinner makes Adam feel ill. Rafael asks him if God can forgive anything.
Later: Adam is steadily getting worse. Dr. Henry’s medicine isn’t helping anymore. Adam sees Rafael passed out drunk on deck, and Boerhaave carries him to the sleeping quarters.
Boxing Day: Rafael hanged himself. Adam is devastated and wonders if it is his fault for not giving the boy sound advice.
Friday, 27th December: Adam approaches the captain, charging Boerhaave and the gang of continuously raping Rafael, leading to his suicide. On deck, he runs into Boerhaave, who tells Adam the stink of decay is on him.
Saturday, 28th December: Adam is still thinking about Rafael. It is getting harder to write.
Sunday, 29th December: Adam is ill.
Monday, 30th December: Death is hours away. Adam asks Henry to send the journal to his family.
Sunday, 12th January: On New Year’s Eve Adam was near death. Henry gives him a potion to get rid of his parasite for good. Adam falls asleep.
When he wakes up, they are nearing San Francisco. Autua is trying to see Adam, but Henry won’t let him, and lies about his condition. Adam realizes Henry has been poisoning him. Henry sees Adam is awake and mocks him, revealing that he killed him for the estate in his trunk.
Later Adam wakes up on deck, retching. Autua is holding him and takes him off the boat and into an infirmary. Autua stays with Adam for 10 days, nursing him back to health. Henry is never found.
Monday, 13th January: Adam is in the garden. He philosophizes that belief shapes the world for humanity, and that selfishness in humanity spells extinction for the species. He decides to join the Abolitionist movement.