Being human is something far more complex than simply being a Homo Sapien. To truly be a human being, one must be an enigma: selfish, yet selfless; empathetic yet detached.
The best humans are only the positives, and in Cloud Atlas, Adam Ewing and Luisa Rey both represent those good qualities. Ewing is an interesting character within the novel, as he is the most “good”. He displays many qualities of humanity, some bad, but most good.
For example, when Autua reveals himself as a stowaway on board the ship, Ewing demonstrates kindness, selflessness and empathy when helping Autua secure passage on board instead of betraying him to the captain, an act which put Ewing right in the line of fire. After all, the captain not only could have refused, but thrown Ewing overboard for aiding a stowaway. Ewing displays selflessness by standing up for Autua, and persuading the captain to give Autua a chance, at the risk of his (Ewing’s) relationship with the Captain. Ewing also demonstrated empathy by doing so. According to Ewing, when he meets Autua for the first time, “The beaten savage raised his slumped head, found my eye & shone me a look of uncanny, amicable knowing!” Then later, when Ewing meets Autua on board, he remembers Autua as the beaten slave. Realizing the conditions Autua has had to live in, and feeling his pain, Ewing helps him. Indeed, this selflessness and empathy demonstrated by Adam Ewing represent the best parts of humanity. Luisa Rey too demonstrates some of the best parts of humanity.
Her willingness to put her own life on the risk to uncover the dangers behind the HYDRA power plant and save the rest of humanity is commendable indeed, as heroic acts such as this truly show the best of what it means to be human. This is further demonstrated when Rufus Sixsmith asks her what she price she would pay to protect an important source, in which Rey replies, “ Any.” In saying that, Rey is implying that she is willing to s.