Harper's: (1914-1915), Volume 130

Front Cover
Harper's Magazine Foundation, 1915
 

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This short story is one of the first examples of "Reefer Madness" literature in Popular Culture. While demonizing cannabis does not seem to be the primary intent of the piece, it is the sensational aspects of the writing that make it fall into the "Reefer Madness" genre. The story has its successes and failures. Its successes obviously include the wide audience it would have reached being published in Harper's Magazine. And, in some ways it did help invent a genre.
However, there are a number of factual errors that seem indicative of the the type of misunderstanding that typifies "Reefer Madness" literature. The ship at the heart of the story, The Marlowe, is hauling a cargo of jute, which the author mistakenly claims is infused with "hashish". When the cargo ignites chaos, death and tragedy of course ensue. However, while jute can be used to make rope, it is not a type of cannabis. There are no psychoactive properties to jute.
The way the the writer depicts the effects of the burning jute it is painfully obvious that they had never experienced cannabis.
As far as the writing about "the sea" as this story is usually classified in the genre of stories about the sea and the exploits of mariners, the reviewer is not familiar enough with that genre to provide a fair review.
 

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information