Captains Courageous Study Guide

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Captains Courageous By Rudyard Kipling

Harvey Cheyne, son of a wealthy railroad magnate, was quite spoiled by his over-indulgent parents in his youth. Suddenly washed overboard while crossing the Atlantic on a steamship, Harvey finds himself the ward of some fishermen who will not take him ashore, nor do they care about his wealth or good name. With no choice but to work on the We're Here, captained by Disko Troop, Harvey simply hopes to survive until he can return to dry land.

A brutal series of adventures and mishaps force Harvey to adjust to his new, rough life, but he makes a friend out of the captain's son, Dan Troop, and begins to adapt and develop in his new role. After some time, the schooner returns to port in Gloucester, MA, and Harvey contacts his parents. They rush to the fishing town.

Their journey from San Diego to Boston, in chaper 9, is a classic of railway literature. The "Constance", Mr. Cheyne's private rail car, takes the couple from San Diego to Boston without requiring them to change cars -- being pulled by a succession of nineteen locomotives and taking precedence over more than 150 other trains along the way. They were delayed by only two and a half minutes to change engines, three for taking on water, and two for taking on coal. The entire journey takes only eighty-seven and one half hours.

When they arrive, they are amazed to find that they spoiled boy has become an industrious and considerate young man. The seaman who rescued Harvey receives a reward from Harvey's mother, and Harvey's father rewards Disko by hiring Dan Troop to work on his prestigious tea clipper fleet. He is delighted at his son's new maturity, and their relationship blossoms as Harvey elects to work on his father's shipping lines.

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