2. Paul Theroux was born and educated in the United States, but he worked as a lecturer at universities across the world. In the early 1970s he moved to England, where he lived for seventeen years. He has since returned to the States, but continues to travel widely. He wrote many short stories, novels, and a number of successful travel books. Riding the Iron Rooster won the 1988 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award. The Mosquito Coast was the 1981 Yorkshire Post Novel of the Year.
3. The mosquito coast
4. Hamish Hamilton. Year of first publication: 1981.430 pages. Paperback and no part of series of matching novels.
6. Division into chapters and parts.
Social settings: The family isn’t very rich but also not poor. When they left America they first went out buying thinks they needed. They bought a lot of thinks and some were really expensive. So they were certainly not poor.
Geographical settings: In the beginning in Hatfield (America) but then they go to the Mosquito Coast and that is in Honduras (South-America). In Honduras they build their civilisation at two places: Jeronimo and an other place at the same river.
Historical settings: The book takes one year but the story begins in the nineties. I don’t really know why. It is the impression it gave me when I read the book. But you can see it a little bit if you look to: cars, planes, boats, father who studied at the university.
Initial incident: Father who wants to leave America because that place is rotten and there soon will be a war in America. The y have to escape and they move to Honduras (Jeronimo).
Climax: I think the climax is when ‘Fat Boy’ explodes. From that time everything changes (father who says he is a new man). That explosion changed almost everyone’s thinking and doing.
7. The title is the same as the name of the coast, in front of the island, where the family stays for more then a year. But mosquito is also an insect. On this island are many mosquito’s. The family has to protect themselves from these mosquito’s by building rooms where mosquito’s can’t come in. Because every day, on the same time, the mosquito’s wake up and the family has to retreat.
8. - Father who thinks that America is terrible.
- Charlie and Jerry who have to do test for father to see what they dare.
- Relation between father and son
- Relation between father and mother
- The explosion of ‘Fat boy’
- The trust that Charlie and Jerry have in their father
- Father who wants to start over again
- The lie that father tells about America (America is totally destroyed)
- Charlie who wants to escape from his father
- Father who gets a shot in his chest
9. Charlie Fox: Charlie is 13 in the beginning of the book. He is the son of Allie Fox. In the beginning of the story he believes everything his dad tells him. But later on he begins to doubt. He is scared of his father who treats his as a dog. He sees himself as a prisoner because when his father dies he says he is free. But he never stops loving his father. Even when his father treats him as a dog and let him do all kind of terrible small jobs, he still loves him, obeys him and believes in him.
Jerry Fox: Jerry is Charlie’s brother. In the beginning of the book Jerry already hates his father. And later on it only gets worse. He gives him names like ‘farter’ and think he is insane. But despite of this he still obeys his ‘farter’. The only person he relay cares about is Charlie.
Allie Fox (father): Allie is the father of Charlie, Jerry, Clover and April. He is an inventor, who has a lot criticism on the American society. For example: he doesn’t sent his kids to school because all they learn there is fingerprinting. He educates them himself. His thinks that learning to survive, is the best education there is. He also thinks there will be a war in America soon. And this war will destroy America totally. This is the reason why he leaves America and goes to Honduras where he can build a new civilisation. But his criticism is not only about America but also about life itself. To give an example: he thinks the human body is weak “the skin is to thin and the bones are to weak”. This is only one example of the many he had. Nothing was good enough according to him. Only the thinks he made himself were good enough. He gives speeches all the time to everyone who is willing to listen. And is there is no one to listen, he will find some one who has to listen. But he changes. After the accident with ‘Fat boy’, he never wants to use chemicals again (“I’m a changed man now mother”). He also says that he has changed in other ways. But Charlie and Jerry doubt this. In the end of the book he tells the two boys some lies. They find out that he is lying and they doubt more and more about their ‘new father’. With these lies he seals his death because the boys don’t trust him anymore.
Mother Fox: The real name of Charlie’s mother isn’t told in this book. She is very loyal to father and obeys him very good. She defends him against all the critic that people have against father. But also she has her doubts about father. And especially in the last chapters. When Charlie asks her if America is really destroyed she says that she doesn’t now. But if it is true what father tells about America, they are doing good but if it is a lie they are making a big mistake.
Clover: Clover is one of the sisters of Charlie and Jerry. She has a twin sister, April. There isn’t much told about Clover. But you now that she is very dependant on her father and mother. She believes everything her parents say and especially her father. She is also very close with her twin sister. They are always together and that is very important for the story. Because when Clover is alone she is very weak. But when she is together with her twin sister she is strong. If one cries, the other also cries.
April: April is the other twin sister. She is exactly the same as Clover. She is also very dependant on her parents, she is only strong when she is together with her sister and she believes everything her parents tell her.
10. In the whole book you see everything threw Charlie’s eyes.
11. Everyday language
12. I like this book very much. It is a thick book but it is easy to read. What I liked most in the book was the part where the family just arrives at Jeronimo. They way the writer told how the family settled and started building their own civilisation was really great. You have never ever thought about it before. What I didn’t like was when they brought the ice into the mountains. It doesn’t interests me much how they feel and what they are thinking. It like the parts with more excitement.
An other good point was that I could really enter into the book. The things Charlie did and thought were almost the same as I should do in this kind of situations. I also have a lot of respect for Charlie because in the beginning he does everything his dad does. He is afraid of him. But in the last chapters Charlie becomes wild. He doesn’t listen anymore to his father. He goes his own way. He isn’t afraid anymore.
13. The book is about the family Fox. The family consists of a father and mother and 4 kids. Father (Allie) has a lot of criticism on America. Nothing is good enough. The land is rotten and there will soon be a war in America. He thinks that this war will cost his life because he is smart (he graduated at University) and “they always get the smart ones first”. And that are the main reasons why he wants to leave America. But before they leave there happen some little things that later become very important. Father is an inventor. One of his latest inventions is ‘fat boy’. This is a machine that makes ice out of fire. He usually invents for Polski (a farmer) but he isn’t interested in this invention because it is almost the same as a refrigerator. Father is mad because he is not interested. He gives ‘fat boy’ away to the savages that work for Polski. He has a lot of respect for these people but he doesn’t want to be like them. But he respects them because they live with little. They need little to survive.
Then the journey begins. Father doesn’t tell anything. So Charlie doesn’t know where they are going and for how long. He only knows that they are leaving for a long time and that they are leaving in a rush. Because they earlier bought a lot of camping-material. When they leave the dishes isn’t done and father doesn’t want mother to do this. They leave Hatfield and ride with their car to the sea. It is a long trip but they all don’t mind much. Charlie and Jerry are getting more and more curious because they still don’t now where they are going. When they ask mother they find out that also she doesn’t now exactly where they are going. From this you can already conclude that father has the conduct in this family. They all obey him. When they reach the see, they can’t leave immediately. They can go aboard but the boat will leave the next day. They put their bags and stuff in the boat and leave with the car to the beach. This is where Charlie has to do his first test. He has to stand on a rock while the water becomes flood. He just stands there and waits for the water. Just before the water reaches his head his father tells him that he can come out of the water. He succeeded his first test. Then drive back to the boat and meet a man. Father gives the car to this man for free(he doesn’t want money because he is going somewhere where money doesn’t exists). Then they leave with the ‘Unicorn’. On the Unicorn there are more families that also travel to Honduras (South-America). But only one family matters. It is the family Spellgood. They are all missionaries. If there is one thing that father hates most than it must be everything that has something to do with religion. Spellgood tries to let father pray but he doesn’t succeed. The family Spellgood has a daughter. Her name is Emily. Emily first hates Charlie because she sees him killing a bird while he was fishing. But later she fells in love with him. But Charlie has no interest in Emily. In their first talk Emily asks Charlie very easy questions like ‘who is your favourite movie star’. But Charlie can’t answer these simple questions because father never allowed him to look to movies and not even to a television. Emily thinks Charlie is stupid but Charlie protects himself by blaming his father. He was the one who never sent Charlie to school. After having dinner with the captain (every family may eat one time together with the captain), Charlie has his second test. Now he has to climb all the way up to the highest point of the boat. But the weather is not good. A heavy storm is forecasted. But Charlie begins his trip up because he doesn’t wants to disappoint his father. But when he is half way up the captain notices Charlie. He is angry and gets Charlie down.
The next day father notices that there is something wrong with the ship. He puts a ball on the floor and the ball rolls to a place and stays there. It doesn’t move again. From this he concludes that there is something wrong with the ship because it is not perfectly horizontal. When he tells the captain what he found out the captain doesn’t wants to listen. Father tells him that he can solve this problem. After long pressing the point the captain allows him to solve the problem. Father works all night and the next day the ship is made.
Then they arrive in La Ceiba. But father is not satisfied. This is not what he wanted. He wants to build his own civilisation. That night he has good news for the rest of the family. He bought a little town called Jeronimo. This is were they were going to live. The first reaction of the family is good. They are excited and they want to go as fast as possible. They meet a friend Mr Haddy who has a boat and brings the family to Jeronimo. When they arrive father is very excited but the rest of the family is disappointed. They expected much more. In the meantime father is planning everything. He yells, screams and gives orders. The building of a new Jeronimo is started. The families that already lived in Jeronimo help father building his civilisation. They build houses, a workshop a water-tank and a big version of ‘Fat Boy’. The new ‘Fat Boy’ is huge and the people that already lived in Jeronimo are scared of it. Just before ‘Fat Boy’ is officially ready, Charlie has to do another test. Now he has to climb all up. He does what his father tells him and succeeds. After him everyone follows. After this test no one is afraid anymore of ‘Fat Boy’. Then father turns ‘Fat Boy’ on. After a while the snow and ice came out of ‘Fat Boy’ and everybody was happy and very excited. But father knows that these already have seen ice before. He is disappointed because he wants to show someone ice that had never seen it before. So a few days later he brings the ice upriver. But also there they had seen ice before. Father is disappointed again but he still doesn’t gives up. Now he wants to bring the ice over the mountains. They start there journey on foot. Charlie and Jerry are also with him and this is where Jerry begins to hate his father. When Jerry wants to rest, father tells him he is weak and must go on. But in spite of this they arrive in a village over the mountain. When father wants to show the people the ice the ice is totally melted. The people want father to go but he doesn’t listen. He first wants to eat something. They get some food by three white people. Father thinks they are slaves but later you find out that they are guests op these people. But turn home and father tells his first lie to Charlie. Father tells him that there still was some ice left in his hand and that the Indians had seen it. But Charlie knows that he is lying.
A few days later the three man that they met in the Indian village, visit Jeronimo. But this time they have guns and look aggressive. Father tells them that they can’t stay because there are ants in Jeronimo and they have to burn all houses so there is no place for the three man. The three man don’t believe father and stay and watch. Father gives orders to break one house down. They do what he says but the three man still aren’t leaving. So father tells them they can sleep in ‘Fat Boy’. That night father and Charlie lock all doors and father turns on ‘Fat Boy’. But the man inside start shooting the plates in ‘Fat Boy’. That causes an enormous explosion that destroys everything. The family Fox and Mr Haddy run to the Acre (a secret place that the kids made). The next day they decide to leave Jeronimo and go down river.
They find a new nice place where they start again a new civilisation. But also this place isn’t heaven. Mr Haddy warns them that if it will be flood the land will be covered with water. But Father doesn’t believe him and tells him he can handle this little problems. From this point Mr Haddy leaves the family. He now lives in a little village nearby where his family lives. The family start building at their now homeland. They build a big house where they all live in. They get their stuff they need out of the river and some stuff Father gets from a shop. Father also finds an old engine. He spends days for repairing this engine. Everything goes fine and they have a nice living until the water starts rising. Charlie and Jerry tell father that they have to leave before it is to late but father just doesn’t listen to them. In these days Jerry goes crazy about his father. He is very mad at him and he only wants to go home or go to Mr Haddy. But he has no choice.
The rain just goes on and on. By daytime and at night. In one of these nights Charlie awakes frightened. There is a hand put over his mouth so he can’t scream or say anything. Then he opens his eyes and sees Mr Haddy standing in front of him. Mr Haddy gives Charlie some fuel and a few parts to get fathers engine started. Charlie only tells Jerry about that night and Jerry is very happy. Now he has new faith in it. If it is really necessary they can go wherever they want. And a few days later they are necessary. They all wake up and hear a terrible hard noise. The water had come so far that it had reached their house. But it wasn’t a house anymore. It was a boat now. Father made the house so that if Mr Haddy was right they could always drift away. Charlie gave father the fuel and the engine parts and father started the engine without saying anything. But father didn’t steer the boat down river (what the others hoped) but up river.
The next day is a day without rain. The sun shines and everything is normal (so it seems). But there isn’t much fuel anymore and it won’t take long before the boat will stop. But before the boot stops a part of the engine falls of and falls into the river. Charlie and Jerry have to dive for it but they both can’t find it. Then father goes and he stays down for a very long time. On the boat they think he is dead and that the river took his body down river. They decide to turn the boat (down river) and go home without dad. But when they are just planning to do this, father climbs into the boat with the fallen part of the engine. He understands immediately what they were going to do and Jerry and Charlie are expelled to a smaller boat behind the one where father, mother and the twins are in. Jerry is very mad and says that he would like to kill his father. But they realise both that if father was gone they wouldn’t have any chance to survive. After going a few hours upriver, they pass a little village with beautiful houses and a church. After insisting on moor, father sends the boat to the riverbank. It seems that this village is the village of the Spellgoods that they met on the boat ‘Unicorn’. That night Charlie and Jerry go on land to meet Emily again. The Spellgoods are watching television but Charlie succeeds in getting Emily’s attention. Emily tells Charlie that she can help him escape from his father. There is a truck that they can use. They can ride to an other village and try to get a boat there that can bring them home. Charlie also hears that America isn’t destroyed. He is now sure that his father lied and he is more certain than ever to do what he has in his mind. When he and Jerry are back at the boat he finds mother awake. She tells Charlie that she can’t find father anywhere. Charlie tells his plan to mother but mother has her doubts. On one hand she wants to go and leave everything but on the other hand she doesn’t want to leave father. Then there is a big fire. A few minutes later they see father again. He has a deep breathing and he is very excited. They all now that father set fire to the church. Father wants to leave by boat but they don’t listen to him. Mother has now decided that she wants to go home. While they are talking Mr. Spellgood gets his gun and shoots father in his chest. He doesn’t know that it is father but he knows he hit some one. He already heard that he shot some one so he didn’t take a look. Charlie and Jerry now take father to the truck that Emily gave them. They ride to a little village where they try to find a boat to go home. And that is the end of Mosquito Coast.
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