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The Wreckers by Iain Lawrence

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1 The Wreckers by Iain Lawrence
English 3202

2 Introduction There was once a village bred by evil.
On the barren coast of Cornwall, England, lived a community who prayed for shipwrecks, a community who lured storm-tossed ships to crash upon the sharp rocks of their shore. They fed and clothed themselves with the loot salvaged from the wreckage; dead sailors' tools and trinkets became decorations for their homes. Most never questioned their murderous way of life. Then, upon that pirates' shore crashed the ship The Isle of Skye. And the youngest of its crew members, 14-year-old John Spencer, survived the wreck. The time is 1799 and the Skye is lured onto the rocky coast by the people of Cornwall. John does not know who to trust.

3 Cornwall, England Isle of Skye wrecks in this bay

4 Chapter 1 – The Wreck The Isle of Skye wrecks on the Tombstones
John Spencer 14 year old boy on his first voyage Mr. Spencer John’s father; orders Stafford to head for shore Captain Stafford Uneasy from the start of the voyage; does not want to take the ship into shore Cridge the first mate “In the eerie glow of a burning dawn I saw figures up along the clifftop, and a line of land that almost ringed our little ship.” (p.8)

5 Chapter 2 – A Drowning John survives the wreck but runs for his life
Caleb Stratton and his men Kill Cridge – crush his head John witnesses the murder Runs away John is discovered and is hunted by the men Stumps saves John from the men “One noise and you’re done for,” said this voice like a rusted hinge. (p.18)

6 Chapter 3 – The Legless Man Stumps believes the ship’s cargo is gold
John sees his father’s ring on Stumps Caleb discovers John with Stumps plans to kill John Tommy Colwyn Only a boy killed by Caleb Spots wants to let John go Caleb reminds the men of the law The wreck must be dead Simon Mawgan Rescues John “Remember this,…If you put the wreckmen on me, your father will rot where he lies.”

7 Chapter 4 – Galilee Simon’s house is richly furnished from the wrecks
On the way to Simon’s house, they meet Parson Tweed Warns Simon to keep John close John feels something sinister and sly about him Simon questions John about the Isle of Skye The voyage began in Spain Cargo was wine Simon is suspicious that the cargo was loaded at night John agues that Caleb used false lights to wreck the ship Mary makes starry- gaze pie for Eli “I was stung by the way that even Mary could talk, with such nonchalance, of what came from the drowning of sailors.” (p.40)

8 Chapter 5 – A Row of Bodies John learns about the wreckers
Mary gives John Peter’s clothes Peter is Simon’s dead son John and Mary go riding and he confides in her believes his father is alive and is somewhere in the village Mary tells John why the mines of Pendennis closed when a wreck occurred, the men left the mines to take everything from the wreck. Even women and children of the village tracked a ship for days The law of a wreck: anything that came from a wreck was free for salvage, but only if there were no survivors. Simon has the ‘right of wreck’ if it comes ashore in St. Elmo’s Bay between Wrinkle Head and Northground John learns that Tommy Colwyn was a wrecker and was hanged because he wouldn’t give the names of the wreckers “So it was the law, John, that made the devil’s work of wrecking.” (p. 48)

9 Chapter 6 – The Haunted Cove John and Mary get to know each other
Mary tells how she saw Caleb use false beacons when she was a child The women and children were sent home Simon argued with Caleb He came home the next morning bloodied, bruised and wet Told Mary he tried to stop them Went down to the beach and took up an axe That was the night Stumps lost his legs Simon told Mary he made sure that was the last time they used the lights But John argues they still do Mary doesn’t believe him and says Simon gets the salvage because of the law and John was saved by her uncle John and Mary ride to Coffee Cove Mary tells about the corpse lights – pale blue lights that move across the cliffs and beach People of the village run away when they see them Mary shows John her secret garden For each wreck she plants a flower Mary believes Caleb is not smart enough to be the leader But John secretly suspects Simon “The next time a ship wrecks on the Tombstones, I’m going to swim out to it…I’ll tie myself to the mast. And if they want the wreck, they’ll have to …to kill me.” (p.58)

10 Chapter 7 – The Evil Eye John and Mary go riding on the Moors
John sees the widow People believe she’s a witch She puts the evil eye on John – word of John has spread Mary tells John the Widow’s brother and husband drowned John and Mary race back to the house John meets Simon in the stable Simon demands to know where they went John feels he’s treated like a prisoner, but Simon claims he is only concerned for his safety Eli tries to communicate with John He draws a running man John thinks Eli is telling him to run away Simon warns John and Mary about racing on the moors the sinkholes are dangerous Simon reveals that Mary told him that John’s father is alive Mary says Simon could help Simon presses John about the cargo of wine Says John is a liar “And I still didn’t know whether to trust him or not. He seemed quite harmless, yet every man in Pendennis obeyed his commands.” (p.72)

11 Chapter 8 – The Mystery of the Barrels Eli tries to tell John something
John tells Simon about the voyage They anchored at night in a cove John stayed on the ship He was sent to the foretop with hooded lanterns Told to show the light when given the word John said he was suspicious John’s father left the ship for about an hour They brought back barrels, loaded them on the ship and left Simon believes the barrels had false bottoms to carry gold or diamonds John flatly denies this claim Simon says he doesn’t care for the gold but he wreckmen are talking about it. Says Caleb will kill his father if he finds him Stumps will probably sell him for a reward after he finds the gold Stumps has disappeared Simon believes he is hiding Mary and John go outside John tells Mary about Eli’s drawing Mary explains it is the man on the tomb John learns that Eli doesn’t take from wrecks and refuses to live in the main house Mary takes John to the tomb ( the cromlech) on the moors Simon says there is a curse on the tomb – whoever looks in will die in a day. John and Mary hear two gunshots which means there’s a ship in the bay

12 Chapter 9 – A Ship Embayed John and Mary go to the cromlech kram-lek – Welsh for bent stone; a circle of stones John and Mary hear someone go into the cromlech John goes inside and finds a beacon ( lantern ) John thinks Simon planted the false light Mary refuses to believe her uncle would do such a thing A ship is off shore and the people of Pendennis pray that it wrecks John tells Mary he is going into Pendennis while it is empty A good time to search for his father “Sometimes this last for days,” said Mary. “…the people wander back and forth…sleep here…there edn’t a one of them who’ll go away and miss the chance to be first at a wreck.” (p.95)

13 Chapter 10 – Wrapped in Chains John finds his father
John and Mary go to the village John whistles a tune his father would recognize John hears a scratching sound while he and Mary near the chandlery – once a brewery - a passageway to the sea John finds his father chained to a wet brick wall Stumps comes at dawn and dark to move him so he won’t drown, for now “Shaken, I lowered the trap. The door to the passageway locked with a simple crossbar. As soon as it opened, Mary was there… “Where’s your father…he’s wrapped in chains…we have to come back.” (p.108)

14 Chapter 11 – A Gargoyle Come to Life John and Stumps fight
Parson Tweed frightens John and Mary as they leave the passageway He asks if John found his father John says no because he does not trust him John and Mary go to the blockhouse where Stumps lives John finds a set of keys and returns to his father, but the keys do not work Mary goes ahead while John pauses to think Stumps arrives and chases John across the rooftops of he brewery “Stumps came hurling up onto the roof behind me…he looked like a gargoyle come to life.” ( p )

15 Chapter 12 – A Stone for a Heart John is still in danger
John struggles to get away from Stumps Mary arrives with Parson Tweed who kills Stumps John keeps quiet about his father. After the Parson leaves, Mary tells John she does not believe the Parson is the puppet master behind the wreckers, but John will not trust him. John and Mary return to the cliff out of sight of the widow and the villagers who keep a watch over the ship that is closer to shore At dawn, Uncle Simon appears on the coastal road The Widow performs a chant as the ship moves closer to shore But the ship clears the rocks on Wrinkle Head Caleb Stratton is furious and the Widow blames the escape on John’s presence Caleb wants to find John to kill him. Caleb threatens Simon that he might tell Mary the truth about her father and what happened one night on the Tombstones Simon fights with Caleb and warns him that he will deal with John Mary and John rush to return to Galilee before Simon “Along the cliff, the wreckers crouched on the ground. They put their hands on the earth; they lowered their heads and hunched their shoulders. And above them the Widow sang. She screeched like a flock of gulls.” (p.127)

16 Chapter 13 – Four Together Mary tells John about the night her parents died
John and Mary go to the farm in Galilee They hear a scream and can not find Eli They search the house and go into Simon’s room John sees a painting of Peter Mary tells John about the night her parents, Simon’s wife and his son Peter died – she was a baby They had gone to London and returned early on the ship The Rose of Sharon The ship was embayed and was wrecked on the Tombstones with false beacons Simon found his son and wife washed up with their arms around each other Mary’s parents washed ashore a few days later Simon arrives and John tells him they heard the scream from the cromlech and Simon is angry They see blood on Simon’s hands Simon says he found Eli dead in the stable with a pitchfork through him Mary thinks Simon killed him Simon blames John Mary and John find Eli alive in the stable Simon carries Eli to Mary’s bed in the house Mary has to nurse Eli to save his life “There’s not a man in Pendennis who would come out here to help him. The nursing would be Mary’s task alone. (p.141)

17 Chapter 14 – A Terrifying Decision John wants to save his father
Mary and John care for Eli Simon tells John he is leaving on the ship that stops at Polruan the next day and warns him not to run off John struggles with the idea of leaving his father in Pendennis He doesn’t trust Simon to get him safely away John decides to make a final attempt to rescue his father after Simon goes to bed He has to travel over the moor at night to avoid Caleb When Simon falls asleep, John sneaks away “ I thought of my father chained to the tunnel wall, of the rats that gnawed at his feet.” (p.146)

18 Chapter 15 – Across the Moor John tries to free his father
John takes Mary’s pony and heads across the moor toward the village The horse falls into a mine shaft John goes on to Pendennis Two gunshots are heard to signal another ship in the bay John tries to free his father but his only tool, the chisel is useless John’s father tells him to leave “I sat back against the wall. Father was right; it couldn’t be done.” (p.158)

19 Chapter 16 – A Dead Man Rises John learns the truth about the cargo
Mary arrives with Parson Tweed to help John free his father Once John’s father is free, Parson Tweed holds them at gunpoint He admits that he stabbed Eli He wants the gold in exchange for John John attacks the Parson The gun fires and John falls into the water below He lands on the skiff and Stumps rises to the surface Parson tweed grabs Mary and fires again at John John’s father attacks the Parson from behind They throw the Parson into the skiff with Stumps and shove the boat out to sea where it disappears John’s father explains that the Spaniards cheated them They did not know the barrels had false bottoms filled with sawdust John and his father take Mary’s horse to ride to Polruan “Evil men will always see evil in others…”

20 Chapter 17 – False Beacons John tries to save the ship from the wreckers
John hears three shots which means a ship is coming to shore He and his father decide to turn back They see the dead Stumps and the Parson on the sea John finds Simon in the cliffs with a lantern and believs he is a wrecker When John smashes the lantern, Simon tells him that he is trying to save the ship The lantern glass is blue Simon is the corpse light People run away when they see the corpse lights He didn’t tell anyone Simon admits he wrecked The Rose of Sharon The wreckers have lit the beacons to wreck the ship They see Stumps and think he’s come back from the dead “I could smell the fumes of the lanterns; I saw the shadowed forms of the men who tended them, two in capes beside the pony, one more below.” (p.182)

21 Chapter 18 – Men of Fire John saves the ship
John tries to stop Caleb and his men Then they see the corpse lights A keg of oil spills when Caleb fires at John The oil spills over Jeremy Haines and John ignites the oil which rapidly spreads including Caleb Jeremy and Caleb fall into the sea The ship changes course John and his father spend the night at Simons house Simon says there will be no more wrecking Mary learns that Simon was the corpse lights John future is in sailing according to his father John and his father return to London and they never see Mary and Simon again. “Never again will a sailor look up from a storm-tossed deck and see the false beacons gutter and burn. The wreckers only sit and wait. But on the darkest, wildest nights – or so the story goes – the corpse lights still walk on the beach at the Tombstones.” (p.191)

22 Question It can be said that a hero is someone who does the right thing even when they are scared. Using specific examples from the book, show how this definition of a hero applies to John or Mary. Model Answer: It can be said that a hero is someone who does the right thing even when they are scared. In the novel, The Wreckers by Iain Lawrence, the major character John is a hero. John is a hero when he tries to save his father and when he risks his life to stop the wreckers. From the beginning of the novel, John is a hero when he tries to save his father. When Stumps hints that John’s father is alive, John knows he has to keep quiet about his father because he does not know who to trust. He eventually trusts Mary and when they find where Stumps has hidden John’s father, they risk their lives to rescue him. John has to fight off Stumps who is willing to kill John and his father for the sake of gold. John has to free his father from the chains so that he won’t drown. John does not give up trying to save his father. When all the villagers are at the cliffs waiting for a ship to wreck, John makes a last attempt to save his father. After Parson Tweed helps John fee his father, John almost loses his life when the Parson tries to shoot him. But luckily John’s father kills the Parson. John is a hero because he never gave up trying to rescue his father even though he was in danger. John is also a hero when he tries to stop the wreckers. Even though he and his father are close to freedom, John feels he has to return to the cliffs to save the ship in the bay. He confronts Simon on the cliffs thinking that Simon is using false lights to guide the ship into the bay. But when he learns that Simon is only trying save the ship, he realizes he has to do something to stop Caleb and his men. He puts himself in danger when he confronts Caleb and his men who have lit the beacon fires to lead the ship into the bay to crash upon the rocks. Caleb will not hesitate to kill John if he gets in his way. But he sets the men on fire when their fuel is spilled. Caleb and Jeremy are sent to their deaths when they are caught on fire. John was willing to risk his life so that he could save a ship load of men. He is definitely a hero for saving so many lives and stopping the wrecking for good. John is a hero because even though he was in scary situations, he risked his life to do the right thing. He saved his father and stopped the wreckers who had been killing lots of innocent people for years.

23 Question Suspense was used a great deal in this novel. In your own words, define suspense and give two examples of suspense from the novel and explain how each creates suspense for the reader. Suspense – the feeling of uncertainty about an outcome Examples: The reader does not know if Simon is a wrecker John does not know if he can rescue his father Parson Tweed is a suspicious character and John can’t trust him John is unsure if Stumps will catch him trying to rescue his father No one knows if the corpse lights are real or ghosts.

24 Question The author of this book has made John a character that we can sympathize with or feel bad for. Explain two ways that the author has made John a sympathetic character (someone you would root for!). John is worried that his father will die and he is determined to save him John refuses to leave Pendennis without him John worries about Mary who wants to stop the wreckers by swimming out to the next ship that comes into the bay John can not trust anyone – he is a stranger in Pendennis Caleb Stratton wants to kill him, but Simon protects John

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