Study Guide

Dwellers of Ocean Bay in Cloud Atlas

By David Mitchell

Dwellers of Ocean Bay

Bottom Dwellers

Ocean Bay is a snarling pit of godless heathens... or at least it is to Adam Ewing. First, he has to deal with the cesspool that is the Musket, a tavern owned by Mr. Walker that turns into an impromptu bordello on Sundays.

Thankfully, Ewing finds a nice church to go to. Well, he finds a church to go to. Without the stained glass or organ music, it feels a little provincial to Adam Ewing. There, he meets Mr. D'Arnoq and Mr. Evans, who out of the kind Christian charity of their hearts invite Ewing over for lunch. That's when he finds out about the plight of the Moriori, described by Evans as "descended from Jews expelled from Spain, citing their hooked noses & sneering lips" (1.5.3). Lovely.

The Moriori are also natives who were decimated and taken as slaves by the Maori. The Christians must have taken some lessons from the Moriori, as this is exactly what they're doing with their missionary trips in converting the natives. They're just doing it in a subtler way: they force the natives to work but sort of pay them for it. Never mind that money is a white-man concept that the natives never had any use for before.

Ewing isn't in Ocean Bay for long. It's a nice place to visit, but... But you know what? It's not even a nice place to visit. This was a pretty terrible time to live, and we're glad we don't ever have to go there.