The Biggest Differences Between The Cloud Atlas Book And Movie
The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing
His journey is streamlined significantly. This is true of all the stories, as you see, but whereas Adam Ewing's journey across the Pacific included several stops-- including in Hawaii to recuperate from his poisoning-- we see him on land only where he meets Dr. Goose and Autua, and then arriving home in San Francisco at the very end. The character of Horrox, whom he meets in a stopover, is transplanted to the first island, where he makes the same racist statements about the "natural order of things."
He doesn't hike into the volcano. This is a digression, so you won't miss it much, though the image of the corpses inside the bottom of the volcano is brought back when Zachry and Meronym finish their hike in "Sloosha's Crossin'."
The character of Rafael is cut. We see the toll a long Pacific journey can have through Ewing's observation of a deckhand named Rafael, who starts out bright-eyed and energetic and winds up hanging himself amid rumors of a homosexual affair with a shipmate. His story is another tangent that would be hard to delve into onscreen, but the suicide-- and the implication of homosexuality-- is an interesting parallel to Frobisher's.
We meet Ewing's father-in-law and Tilda. In one of the film's final scenes, Ewing arrives home at tells his father-in-law much of what he only writes to himself in the book-- that he wants to move East and join the abolitionists, that he owes his life to a self-freed slave. Tilda joins him. Significantly, the cargo Ewing is carrying across the ocean is also changed significantly-- he's been sent to the Pacific to sell a slave, and dramatically burns the contract in front of his father-in-law. In the book, Ewing is merely seeking out the beneficiary of a will.
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