Michener, is a novel which covers, on both a fictional and a non-fictional level, the total history of Hawaii from its beginning until approximately 1954. The work traces Hawaiian history from the geological creation of the islands ("From the Boundless Deeps) to the arrival of its first inhabitants, ("From the Sun-Swept Lagoon"), then to the settlement of the islands by the American missionaries, ("From the Farm of Bitterness"). In the novel, as the island's agricultural treasures in pineapple and sugar cane were discovered, the Chinese were brought as plantation workers to Hawaii ("From The Starving Village"). Years later, when it was realized by the island plantation owners that the Japanese were more dedicated workers, and did not feel the need to own their own lands as the Chinese did, they too were shipped in vast amounts to Hawaii, ("From The Inland Sea"). The final chapter deals with what Michener refers to as "The Golden Men": Those who lived in Haw (not necessarily Hawaiians) who contributed a great deal to the islands and their people.
Since Hawaii covers such a huge time span, there are a great many plots and sub-plots, all of which show the different situations that each of the many "types" of Hawaiians are confronted with. Michener uses mostly specific, fictional details to support the general ideas of the islands and their various people, that he conveys through Hawaii. I will go into more detail about the plot in the "Documentation" section.
Michener's Hawaii is a superb example of a great work of literature. He paints vivid literal pictures of various scenes throughout the novel. For example, in the first chapter, the Pacific Ocean is described: "Scores of millions of years before man had risen from the shores of the ocean to perceive its grandeur and to venture forth upon its turbulent waves, this eternal sea existed, larger than any other of the earth's features, vaster than the sister oceans combined, wild, terrifying in its immensity and imperative in its universal role.