Ship Of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter: A PDF Summary of the Twelfth Voyage
If you are looking for a classic novel that explores the themes of human nature, morality, and society, you might want to read Ship Of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter. This novel, published in 1962, tells the tale of a group of diverse passengers sailing from Mexico to Europe aboard a German ship in 1931[^1^]. The novel is divided into three parts: Embarkation, High Sea, and Harbors, each containing several voyages that depict the interactions and conflicts among the characters.
In this article, we will summarize the twelfth voyage of the novel, which belongs to the High Sea part. This voyage focuses on the relationship between two American couples: David and Jenny Scott, and Bill and Mary Treadwell. David and Jenny are young and idealistic, while Bill and Mary are older and cynical. They have different views on life, politics, and love, and their conversations reveal their personalities and backgrounds.
The voyage begins with David and Jenny having breakfast in their cabin. They are happy and excited about their trip, and they plan to visit various places in Europe. They also talk about their friends, Bill and Mary, who they met on board. David likes Bill, who is a successful lawyer and a witty conversationalist, but he dislikes Mary, who is a wealthy widow and a snobbish socialite. Jenny likes both of them, but she feels sorry for Mary, who seems lonely and unhappy.
Meanwhile, Bill and Mary are also having breakfast in their cabin. They are bored and dissatisfied with their trip, and they complain about everything. They also talk about David and Jenny, who they invited to join them for dinner. Bill likes David, who is a talented painter and a naive idealist, but he dislikes Jenny, who is a pretty but shallow journalist. Mary likes both of them, but she feels jealous of Jenny, who is young and beautiful.
Later that day, David and Jenny visit Bill and Mary in their cabin. They have a lively discussion about various topics, such as art, literature, politics, religion, and morality. They also share some personal stories and secrets. David tells them that he was once married to a Mexican woman who died of tuberculosis. Jenny tells them that she was once engaged to a German man who was killed in a car accident. Bill tells them that he was once involved in a scandalous divorce case that ruined his reputation. Mary tells them that she was once pregnant with an illegitimate child who died at birth.
As they talk, they reveal their differences and similarities. David and Bill are both intelligent and ambitious, but they have opposite opinions on everything. David is optimistic and idealistic, while Bill is pessimistic and cynical. David believes in democracy and pacifism, while Bill believes in fascism and war. David values art and beauty, while Bill values money and power. Jenny and Mary are both attractive and charming, but they have different attitudes towards life. Jenny is cheerful and adventurous, while Mary is bitter and depressed. Jenny loves David sincerely, while Mary hates Bill secretly.
The voyage ends with David and Jenny leaving Bill and Mary's cabin. They thank them for the dinner and the conversation, but they feel uneasy and uncomfortable. They realize that they have nothing in common with them, except for their nationality. They also sense that there is something wrong with their relationship, something that they cannot understand or explain.
Ship Of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter is a novel that portrays the human condition in all its complexity and diversity. It shows how people from different backgrounds, cultures, classes, ages, genders, races, religions can coexist on a ship of fools[^3^], but not without conflicts or misunderstandings. It also shows how people can be influenced by their historical context[^3^], as the novel is set in the eve of World War II[^1^], when fascism was rising in Europe[^1^] [^3^]and democracy was threatened in America[^1^]. If you want to read this novel in PDF format[^2^], you can download it from the Internet Archive[^1^]. c481cea774