A Theme Of Deception In Treasure Island By Robert Louis Stevenson
Have you ever felt an intense feeling of having something? What would you do to get it? Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson showcases what limits a human would cross to get what he wants. Jim Hawkins life takes a big twist when Captain Billy Bones keeps a step into the inn. Jim is very excited for the adventure he was going to be a part of. However, this adventure was filled with bloodshed and while reading Treasure Island there are many themes that can occur to the reader’s mind like greed, deception and sense of duty. This report will focus on the theme of deception, when a human lies or tricks someone is called the act deception. Several characters depict this trait throughout the novel. Their decisions affect them and the people around them in either bad or a good way.
Captain Billy Bones is a pirate. He worked under Long John Silver. He comes to stay in Jim’s parent’s inn. He walked into the inn as a regular customer, however deep beneath he was hiding his true identity. In the following extract from the book, it’s learned how Captain Billy Bones reveals all his secrets to Jim. ‘Now if I can’t get nohow, and they tip me the black spot, mind you, it’s my old sea-chest they’re after; you get on horse-you can, can’t you?…. I was first mate, I was, old Flint’s first mate, and I’m the on’y one as knows the place. He gave it to me at Savannah, when he lay a-dying, like as if I was to now, you see. But you won’t peach unless they get the black spot on me, or unless you see that Black Dog again, or a seafaring man with one leg, Jim-him above all.’ Captain Billy Bones deceptive behavior is revealed before he dies of a stroke. In his confession to Jim, he reveals why he was asking him to keep a watch for a one-legged seafaring man. As a result, his deceptiveness benefitted him for some days as no one tried to steal the map from him and he could enjoy his life.
Long John Silver is the ship’s cook, however, on Flint’s ship Long John Silver was the quartermaster. He starts the cruise to find Flint’s treasure smoothly. However, there is a plan on his mind. ‘I’ll finish with ’em at the island, as soon’s the blunt’s on board, and a pity it is’. In other words, pretending to be nice until he has laid his hands on the treasure. Then conquer the ship and kill each honest person. Silver’s deceptiveness to act as an honest person helped him earn Mr. Trelawney trust. Mr. Trelawney allows him to pick the crew. So, the faithful party, the people who were not on Silver’s side, were outnumbered till they figured out Silver’s plan. Dr. Livesey is a nobleman. He is the doctor of the ship. Before Jim’s second disappearance Jim had told Dr. Livesey about Ben Gunn, the marooned man. Dr. Livesey visits Ben Gunn. The doctor wormed Ben Gunn to expose where the treasure is hidden. ‘…., next morning, he saw the anchorage deserted, he had gone to Silver, given him the chart, which was now useless-given him the stores, for Ben Gunn’s cave was well supplied with goats’ meat salted by himself-given anything and everything to get a chance of moving in safety from the stockade to the two-pointed hill, there to be clear of malaria and keep a guard upon the money.’ This is the reason why the doctor agrees to give Silver and his companions’ health check-ups, so he could keep an eye on them. This profited the faithful party as they got enough time to settle in their new campsite and come up with a plan to attack Silver and his companions. This surprise attack led to the death of Silver’s two people; the other three ran away; this led Long John Silver to agree to Dr. Livesey’s terms.
Analysis And Review Of Treasure Island By Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of this Treasure Island and many more, was born on November 13, 1850. Through the early stages of his life, he was heavily governed by his father, Thomas Stevenson, who worked as a lighthouse designer. At 17 Robert enrolled in University to study engineering with the goal of taking over his father’s business, though, Lighthouse design never really did appeal to Robert. So he decided to study law instead. However, law was just as meaningful as Lighthouse design, as Robert emerged from law school in 1875, but never practiced it. He truly felt that being a writer was his calling and being around young writers and painters as he traveled the world only furthered his belief. As his writing career continued he became one of the first authors to practice the short story in the United Kingdom. And through continuous practice of writing, he began to develop the ‘adventure-story narrative’ he is known for today. Around 1878, Robert published his first volume of work, An Inland Voyage later continued through the text, Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes, which focused on the quality of using the voice and character of the narrator, rather than just telling a story. Later throughout his life, he met his future wife, Fanny Osbourne in 1876, who had two children. One of which helped Robert write one of his greatest works, Treasure Island. Which, ironically, started off with a drawing of a treasure map for his 12-year-old step-son. Soon after Treasure Island was published Robert began to get his first taste of popularity and his goal of becoming a famous writer had finally begun. Unfortunately, On December 3, 1894, Robert died of a stroke, as he had hemorrhagic lungs throughout most of his life. Fortunately, his works have remained in their glory and are still popular today.
Like previously stated, the idea of Treasure Island was ignited by a treasure map given by Robert to his step-son. In addition, Robert created a pirate adventure story to accompany the drawing telling the tale of a young spirit-filled boy named Jim Hawkins who travels the sea in search for the treasure formally owned by a devastating pirate called Flint, who puts Blackbeard to shame. He joins a crew of men that sail on a ship called the Hispaniola, but soon later figures out that most of the crew are a band of pirates, led by a man called Long John Silver, that plan to take over the ‘good-men’ on the ship and claim the treasure for themselves. No force strong enough to compare to the pirate’s scary image Jim is found caught between the world of chaos and the world of order, and must grow in character if he wants to save not only his friends on the ship, but himself as well. In the end, Jim’s brave and noble actions, along with the help of his friends they save the day and overrule the pirates. As they claim the treasure for themselves, the book ends with one pirate escaping and stealing some of the treasure, and Jim Hawkins scarred for life, never wanting to travel sea again, over the events that have unfolded over the past days.
An adventure novel, such as Treasure Island, usually does not have any themes. Rather the story of a quest and the common characteristics of quest stories like the hero’s journey, often to a mysterious place of unknown descent, usually in pursuit of treasure, etc. While Treasure Island no doubt fits this description it is not to say that there are no morals or lessons that could be taught. Robert Louis Stevenson, whether inadvertently or purposely, has many themes to portray. One of the most predominant themes is Chaos vs. Order, which can be demonstrated throughout the whole text. For instance, “I have only one thing to say to you, sir … if you keep on drinking rum, the world will soon be quit of a very dirty scoundrel!” This conversation between Dr. Livesey and Billy Bones in Chapter 1 is an early portrayal of the conflict between the World of Order, represented by Dr. Livesey vs. the World of Chaos, represented by Bill Bones; a pirate. Billy, even though is an outsider to the inn and to the general area he holds usurped power for himself, as he does not pay the money he owes for his stay at the inn and terrorizes other guests just by slamming the table. This type of power is considered insulting to the civilized world as it provokes the values that embody the World of Order. However, many characters such as Jim are fascinated by the unknown power the pirates hold and admire to be like them. Robert Louis Stevenson subconsciously plays with the reader’s mind as one of the inevitable questions is ‘as a reader which character are you?’ a character of order or chaos. While the characters in the text seem to favor the world of chaos, Robert adds contracting opinions to the text suggesting that the World of Order rank superior. One of which being right after the event I had previously explained is when Billy attempts to attack Dr. Livesey in return for insulting his manner, but Dr. Livesey retorts with saying “If you do not put that knife this instant in your pocket, I promise, upon my honour, you shall hang at next assizes.” Dr. Livesey demonstrates his calm authority and controls Billy’s rowdy behavior. Furthermore suggesting that ‘Good’ will always prevail in which it does as just like most adventure stories, no matter how impossible the challenge at hand, good will find a way on top. However, while both worlds seemingly have accurate points that could contribute to which one is better, we learn later on in the text that both the doctor’s and pirate’s world are flawed. Both lead to inevitable inspiration and destruction.
After reading the book the first time it could easily be said that the text has a very important message that should be heard by all kids. Treasure Island, while it is an adventure novel it also has the perfect story of a boy growing up, and showing increasing levels of maturity, confidence, and cleverness. Although the book uses a lot of different forms of language, like the speech of pirates, and is sometimes troublesome to comprehend it offers valuable insight on how we should deal with situations that are hard to deal with; not just for kids but for all ages. One common example is when Jim’s mother faints and he, with his quick wit, decides to carry his mother away from the inn towards a bridge where they remain safe, away from the incoming pirates and imminent death if they were caught. This is an early example of Jim’s maturity and growing character. Furthermore, Jim finds himself not only growing in intelligence but in many other ways such as security and bravery. As Jim kills Israel Hands, a pirate, he states. “The process was so slow and laborious that, in my new-found security, I laughed aloud.” Jim finds himself acting with strength and for once in his life not governed by fear. It is clear that Jim is no longer controlled or influenced by the world of pirates, but rather than his own ambitions; being the treasure. In short, Robert Stevenson uses Jim Hawkins as a way to convey the theme of Coming of Age and the battle of Chaos vs. Order to tell an excellent story for all ages. While the story is easy to read it tells an influential message that should never be forgotten.
Jim Hawkins: A Young Pirate
Stories about pirates are some of the interesting and clever stories to tell such as the Treasure Island. It is a classic story about a young pirate, written by Robert Louis Stevenson and published in 1883. It tells about the young boy, Jim Hawkins, who turned into a pirate with his crew searching for the treasure (“Treasure Island”). Robert Louis Stevenson was a famous Scottish author of travel and adventure books, but he also wrote fiction stories, essays and poems (“Robert Louis Stevenson”).
He pursued engineering first followed by law; however his interest was never in either of those.
He was fond of reading and travelled many places before he became a famous writer (“Treasure Island: About the Author”). The story about Treasure Island is narrated by Jim Hawkins. He tells the story based from his observations, feelings, perceptions, and on how he responds to the people and events around him. He became easily involved in the pirate game and treasure hunting since his family owned the Admiral Benbow inn.
There stayed Billy Bones, the captain who has the map of the treasure that Captain Flint buried.
Captain Flint is already dead however the men who worked for him are still alive and searching for his buried treasure (“Treasure Island: Character Profiles”). The first pirate that Jim met is Billy Bones who stayed at their inn. Bones is a ragged, scarred, and drunkard pirate who always sing a pirate song; but he was kind with Jim. He always asks Jim to look out for any seafaring men along the shore which Jim thought that the man only wants some company. However, it turned out that the man is eager to avoid the other seafaring men especially the ‘seafaring man with one leg’ (“Treasure Island”).
One day, another pirate named Black Dog, a companion of Billy Bones, came to Jim and asked for the whereabouts of Billy Bones. Both pirates wrestle until Bones is greatly injured. However, a blind pirate named Pew came with horsemen to Bones and delivered the ‘black spot’. After Bones died, Jim snatched a key and an oilskin packet from Bones. He and his mother left immediately and went to the next village. The village people, however, are not willing to help them and the two hide under the bridge. The men continuously searched for the “Flint’s fist” but they could not find it.
They escaped leaving Pew behind while the horses of the revenue officers from the village trampled him to death (Nelson). Jim and his mother stayed with Dr. Livesey and Squire Trelawney where the squire analyzed the packet that Jim got from Billy Bones. The squire said that it is the account book of the ‘black-hearted hound’. After studying the rest of the oilskin packet, they found a map of Captain John Flint’s Treasure Island. Trelawney became eager to find the treasure and planned the rest of the voyage including the finances.
He secured on of the best ships in England, the Hispaniola, and hired several men including a one-legged ‘seafaring man’ named Long John Silver and a group of sailors. Jim unexpectedly became part of the instant adventure (Nelson). Long John Silver was very much liked by Jim and the squire because of his performance as the ship’s cook. At the beginning of their journey, he is friendly and helpful to the rest of the crew however he is as notorious as Captain Flint who is concerned only about the money he can get (“Treasure Island: Character Profiles”).
Jim, while hiding in an apple barrel, accidentally overhears Silver, Israel Hand, and Dick talking about their plan of overtaking the ship once they get the treasure. After getting on land, Captain Smollet together with his men fought with Silver and the pirates. Jim and his group escaped together with Ben Gunn, one of the original members of Captain Flint’s crew who was abandoned in the Treasure Island three years ago. Jim together with his group is lead to Gunn’s secret cave where he relocated Captain Flint’s treasure.
In spite of Silver’s plan, Jim, Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, Gunn and the rest of the group are able to retrieve the treasure and haul it to Hispaniola and return to England (“Treasure Island”). Treasure Island is an exciting book inspired by adventures of notorious pirates. During the early 1700s, thousands of pirates wander along different seas in the world who plundered ships and private vessels for coins and precious metals that were likely hidden in small islands. This perhaps is one of the sources of Stevenson’s pirate stories.
However, most of the pirates began in their early twenties until they age fifty or so, some crippled, blind, or dead. Young pirates were also common, but there were no enough records to prove that teenagers became fierce pirates. Young pirates like Jim Hawkins is like a dream come true for kids who always dream of sailing and travelling and someday finding a treasure (“Treasure Island”). In the early 18th century, there was a story about a young boy who joined a group of buccaneers. The story was based from the records of Captain “Black Sam” Bellamy.
In 1716, Captain Bellamy’s ship Marianne attacked Bonetta, a ship travelling from Antigua to Jamaica. Some of Bonetta’s crew joined the pirates. John King, a kid travelling with his mother, also wanted to join the group of buccaneers so bad that he even threatened to kill himself after the captain did not allow him. It was not clear why John wanted to become a pirate, but there were speculations that maybe he was with a harsh parent or he does not want to go wherever they are going. Later, a kind a charismatic Captain Bellamy allowed John King to join the band (Krystek).
In connection with the story of John King, a treasure hunter named Barry Clifford searched for the remains of Captain Bellamy’s boat – Whydah that sunk along Cape Cod. He found a cannon, artifacts, and silver coins. The artifacts they found included a human leg bone, a stocking, and a shoe belonging to a tiny adult, as he said. However in 2006, after the bone was examined in The Center for Historical Archeology in Florida, they found out that the bone belonged to a child aged between eight and eleven years old. The tale of a John King, a little boy who turned into a young pirate indeed was true (Krystek).
In the early chapter of Treasure Island, the story was established through the first person narrative of Jim Hawkins. Money is introduced as the major driving force of the characters’ actions. Through Jim’s narration of events, greed and corruption are even more highlighted. As the number of pirates looking for the map increases, it pushes Jim into learning more about the treasure and acquiring the map. The first six chapters slowly unravel Jim’s transformation. He is now not controlled by Billy Jones and the other pirates and he chooses to stand with his mother and save her.
He is beginning to take part into the action happening and acted like a hero (Nelson). In the middle chapters, more terrible things happened which challenged how Jim would respond. Jim has witnessed several deaths including Billy Bones’ and Tom’s. However, his response to the death of Tom’s death is different from Billy Bones’. He cried at Bone’s but not to Tom’s death where he just sat in silence. Upon arriving at the island after all the terrible things that he witnessed, Jim found a friend and a father figure whom he has gained trust (Nelson).
At the later chapter, Jim is able to develop both physical and moral strength after their triumph against the pirates. Jim is able to survive and gain enough guts to face Silver and his crew and help his crew. He has matured and does not act like a child in the middle of the events. Jim is a child and adult in deciding and justifying the things he did. He is now acting not just to save himself but also the rest of his crew after he stole and find a boat. He became the story’s hero but not because of luck and fortune. Also, Jim does not forget how to be adventurous and try things despite failure.
He never gives up although he is now engaging to wrong choices, these are justifiable by the arbitrary death that could happen anytime (“Treasure Island: Character Profiles”). Throughout the story, Jim Hawkins character changed from a simple observer of the events around him into a character who became actively involved and became a certified pirate. Even though he is just a kid, he is able to help in uncovering the mutiny plan of Long John Silver and retrieve the treasure. He became a competent boy physically and beat Israel Hands.
He has grown morally mature after choosing not to run away from Long John silver despite Dr. Livesey urging him to. Jim is a smart boy with courage and good heart. Anyone reading the book could easily identity himself with Jim. Stevenson created it in such a way the reader could put his own imaginations in place of Jim. Jim Hawkins is an open, predictable character who narrates the story by telling what he sees and observed, but is close in telling his own feelings and thoughts about the other characters (Nelson). The transformation in Jim’s character was evident when he delivered a speech to the pirates.
He is able to survive and save himself against the fierce pirates by offering deals that an adult would usually do. His courage has developed from their journey, a courage that he does not have back to the inn. An interesting encounter between Jim and Long John Silver once proved Jim’s ability to stand up and fought for himself even though it is Silver, a notorious pirate, he is talking to (Nelson). Jim Hawkins justifies the thoughts and imagination of a teenager and later the beginning stage of maturity developed from the combination of different adversities.
The story of Jim Hawkins and the Treasure Island is not as exciting as it is when summarized because there is no other of telling his story in such an engaging way except reading all the chapters.
Krystek, Lee. “The Littlest Pirate”. 2006. 5 May 2008. <http://www. unmuseum. org/piratelittle. htm>. Nelson, Britanny. “Gradesaver: Treasure Island – Study Guide – Character List”. 2008. 5 May 2008. <http://www. gradesaver. com/classicnotes/titles/treasure/charlist. html>. “Robert Louis Stevenson”. 2008. Jalic Inc. 5 May 2008. <http://www. online-literature. com/stevenson/>. “Treasure Island”.
Bibliomania. com Ltd. 5 May 2008. <http://www. bibliomania. com/0/0/46/88/frameset. html>. “Treasure Island”. 2008. Wiley Publishing. 5 May 2008. <http://www. cliffsnotes. com/WileyCDA/LitNote/Treasure-Island-Character-Analyses-Jim-Hawkins. id-175,pageNum-32. html>. “Treasure Island: About the Author”. 2008. Wiley Publishing. 5 May 2008. <http://www. cliffsnotes. com/WileyCDA/LitNote/Treasure-Island-About-the-Author-Personal-Background. id-175,pageNum-1. html>. “Treasure Island: Character Profiles”. 2008. Novelguide. 5 May 2008. <http://www. novelguide. com/TreasureIsland/characterprofiles. html>.
Treasure Island: Themes
Everyday people mature, learn something new, and gain new experiences. There is always critical moments in life that play a part in a young person transitioning into adulthood. In Treasure Island, the coming-of-age of Jim Hawkins is a theme throughout the book.
In the first half of the book, Jim is an impressionable boy who lives with his parents in an inn. He knows very little about what life is like outside of his home. The second half of the book is when Jim and the pirates begin searching for the treasure, more obstacles take place and it is apparent that this is when Jim slowly begins to grow up.
Treasure Island is a coming-of-age story in which Jim Hawkins goes on an adventure filled with trials and stipulations that allow him to discover manhood.
At the beginning of the book, Jim is an innocent young boy that helps his mother and father take care of the inn. He is easily frightened as shown when he runs to his mother when he is scared by Pew and said: “I never saw a more dreadful figure” (Stevenson 28).
His cowardly qualities are also shown clearly in the beginning when his nightmares about Billy Bones are talked about (Stevenson 6).
His lack of courage is most demonstrated when he refuses to go back into the inn after the pirates’ attack. Although Jim is scared easily at this point, he soon will realize that these experiences contribute to his growth from a young boy to a young man.
As the story goes on, Jim slowly but surely begins to evolve out of the childhood phase. The author begins to demonstrate his maturity growth when his father and Billy Bones die. He is placed with great responsibility after his fathers’ death, like arranging the funeral. His juvenile mind has no choice but to become more mature and rational. When this happens, it starts the actual development of Jim as a young man.
Because he can’t rely on his father anymore, he is forced to make decisions on his own. With these decisions, came the beginning of the adventure to find the treasure. Along with conflicts along the trip, Jim had many role models that played a part in him becoming a man. Dr. Livesay was a role model because he was the one who helped point Jim in the right direction as far as making good decisions.
Even Long John Silver was someone that Jim looked up to. Silvers’ courage and independence was something that Jim grew to admire. Although Jim was learning life-lessons from his “role models”, he was going through real-life experiences that required him to not have a cowardly mentality.
When he overhears Silver, Israel Hands, and Dick planning to kill the map holders as soon as they reach the island, his growth is evident. He tells Dr. Livesey what he has heard and Livesay tells Trelawney and Smollett to listen to their plot.
It was a milestone in his journey to manhood because he proved he could make the right decisions without being frightened or timid. Along with two murders that occur, fights, and plots that were to transpire, Jim proves he can have the courage and the maturity that no one would have expected.
In the chapters where Jim is nearing the end of his adventure, is when Jim takes exponential steps out of his adolescence. When Silver gives Jim the ultimatum of joining the pirates or not. Jim decides he would rather die than join the pirates. By Jim not wanting to join the pirates, his character and his ability to make strategic, smart decisions is shown.
Silver gains respect for Jim and this decision ultimately proves his bravery and responsibility. The relationship between Jim and Silver shows that Jim has become strong and demosnstrates how much Silver appreciates him. From this voyage, Jim is able to see the world with a whole new outlook.
Treasure Island is a coming-of-age story in which Jim Hawkins goes on an adventure filled with trials and stipulations that allow him to discover manhood. In conclusion, it is evident that due to certain elements Jim turns into a responsible and mature young man. At the beginning of the book, Jim is an innocent young boy living with his parents and knows little about experiences in the world.
By the end of the book, he is a young man who has been through traumatic experiences,made a voyage across high seas, and killed someone. When he returns home, Jim is has grown extremely and learned a lot about life and himself from his experience at sea. His adventures ultimately allowed him to go from being an impressionable young man to a young man who is capable of making reasonable decisions.
GCSE English Coursework Treasure Island
GCSE English Treasure Island Coursework
‘Treasure Island is a ‘rites of passage’ novel that tells of Jim Hawkins’ spiritual and psychological growth from child like innocence to an experienced, wise young man. The Theme of this novel is the development of the central character Jim from childhood to maturity. Jim Hawkins is a curious, resilient and volatile boy. The writer portrays him as volatile through his spontaneous and often non-thinking approach to situations. The reader sees this when Jim jumps ashore with the pirates or runs off to capture the Hispaniola.
The writer does this because it keeps the plot flowing, and adds a dimension of unpredictability. The condition of the time the writer is writing about demand Jim to be resilient in the face of it all. Enormous pressure is put on Jim early in the novel, when his father falls ill. Jim at a young age of probably twelve is now running the “Admiral Benbow”. But at the time that this is being written about this is not unheard of.
Shorter life spans meant that children where put to work much earlier and Jim would have already been quite experienced in the work place.
In the absence of Jim’s father, he looks towards new role models. I believe that to begin with Jim does in some ways respect Captain Bones as he does fear him, ‘This, when it was brought to him, he drank slowly, like a connoisseur, lingering on the taste, and still looking about him at the cliffs and up at our signboard. ‘ The writer writes of Jim’s admiration of the Captain in a very subtle way, as an indication to its lesser significance to the novel. Far more does Jim look up to Dr Livesey; Jim is full of admiration for the heroics in the face of Billy Bones.
So much so that upon escaping Blind Pew, Jim goes to the Doctor as though he is the obvious solution to the problem. The writer writes in first person and direct speech that gives the novel a diary form. The writer does this because it gives the reader the story from Jim’s point of view. Jim often shows signs of great bravery, and it’s that bravery in the face of the pirates in the Admiral Benbow that leads him to Long John Silver. Long John is incredibly charismatic, and immediately upon meeting Jim, starts playing psychological games, ‘I see you’re our new cabin-boy; pleased I am to see you’.
This makes Jim feel self-important and he takes a liking to Silver. Silver is a master of Psychology, he has the Squire totally fooled and even Dr Livesey is taken in. The writer does this to take in the reader, convince the reader of Silver’s honesty and adds to dramatic dimension of the revelation to Jim that he is a pirate. However in doing this the writer is opening up a totally different suspense for the more experienced reader, who has suspicions about Silver and picks up on the writer’s signposts towards the truth.
I think the lack of a father figure for Jim when he meets Silver is important. Jim wants to believe that he is someone he can trust. In the apple barrel Jim discovers the true nature of Long John Silver. The writer also reveals a crucial theme of the novel, greed. ‘I want their pickles and wines and that’. Greed is what has driven the pirates to plot of mutiny, and ironically greed is also why Jim, the Doctor, the Captain and the Squire are driven to the Island. In this chapter the pirate use colloquial language that Jim is guesses at it to interpret what is being said. By a ‘gentlemen of fortune’ they plainly meant neither more nor less than a common pirate’. ‘Barbeque: how long are we a-going to stand off an on like a blessed burn boat? ‘ the writer writes in this way to distant Jim and the honest characters from the pirates. Jim is overcome by fear and loathing for Long John and the thought of striking him down through the barrel crosses his mind. After the horrific death of Tom Jim shows his weak childlike self and faints. The writer is portraying a moment in which innocence is lost.
When Jim encounters Israel Hands on the Hispaniola Jim is a wiser man, he know more about adults and no to trust them. The reader sees this when Jim does not fall for Hands’ ploy. In stead we see a wiser Jim, who is in control of the situation, and does not panic or act rashly. On the Hispaniola Jim and Israel explore the theme of afterlife and the cost of human life. Israel Hands talks of death and murder as matter of fact, still Jim is fearless in the face of this cold murderer. When Jim comes to kill Hands, it is almost the final rite of passage.
Nobody can now accuse Jim of innocence. In the face of the pirates and being abandoned and betrayed by those he has done great service, he remains honourable and noble to his principles. The speech he delivers to the pirates is brave in the extreme. At the end of the story Jim has completed his ‘rite of passage’. Throughout his experience he has refused to give in to greed and piracy, he stayed true to his course. Now he is a mature experienced young adult, whereas at the beginning of the novel he was a young boy being trodden on by the world.
The Effect of Selfishness on Long John Silver’s Motivations in Treasure Island
What defines loyalty? Loyalty to a friend, to a family, or simply to oneself? The analysis of Robert Louis Stevenson’s character Long John Silver from Treasure Island is complex and interesting, yet in some ways ultimately subjective. Silver displays many charismatic and leadership-oriented traits, keeping a constant commitment to his own plans, but does that make him faithful? Can a person hold shoddy intentions, yet still be loyal? It is hard to interpret this dilemma, as we automatically associate faithfulness with positive purpose, but that is not always the case. Loyalty to a cause is a very important theme in Treasure Island when analyzing the mutineers versus the honest men, but Silver was merely loyal to himself. Long John Silver’s constant determination in his goals to obtain treasure never once falters until he ultimately achieves his goal, proving loyalty to his own mindset.
Despite Long John Silver’s suspicious intentions, his greed constantly keeps him committed to his plans. It is easy to recall how successfully Long John Silver masks his true identity for days, until Jim accidentally hears the pirates expressing their rebellious plans for mutiny. Until then, Silver had Jim, Dr. Livesey, and the Squire fooled. Jim recalls, “It was Silver’s voice, and before I had heard a dozen words, I would not have shown myself for all the world, but lay there, trembling and listening, in the extreme of fear and curiosity, for, in those dozen words, I understood that the lives of all the honest men aboard depended on me alone” (Stevenson 99). The mutineer-leader could even control a group of unlawful pirates for weeks. What is he so passionate towards that could motivate these actions? He is committed to his own selfishness. Silver will kill innocent, honest men, such as Tom Redruth, seeming to express no culpability or sorrow even when committing intensely violent and immoral crimes; thus, he shows how focused he is on his aims. This mutineer must have some essential need for this treasure, or rather, he may just have an immeasurable sense of greed, as displayed in his ability to measure his own wealth over another’s life. Long John Silver has the same plans, to obtain riches, from the start of the quest to the end. Even near to the book’s ending, when Silver is supposedly on the honest men’s side, he abandons his honor to steal a portion of the jewels, never to be seen or heard of again. Though Long John Silver’s determination is put toward accomplishing precarious plans, it is consistently present.
There are few scenarios in which relationships get in the way of Long John Silver’s ultimate plans. The pirate once said, “I like that boy, now; I never seen a better boy than that. He’s more a man than any pair of rats of you in this here house” (Stevenson 266.) This is how Silver describes Jim, a mere teenager, though more manly than any of the mutineers. This fondness appears to be genuine, though it doesn’t stop Long John Silver from his inevitable commitment. He will hurt Jim emotionally, but never physically. Though Long John Silver’s fondness for Jim seems legitimate, he never lets it get in the way of his narrow, one-way path.
Feeling such an immensely strong responsibility to win the treasure, the only thing that Long John ever puts in higher regard is his own survival. “Dooty is dooty” (Stevenson 79 and 185) is one Silver’s personal mantras, saying that whatever is your responsibility is your duty, and you must see to it under any circumstance; your job must be carried through. It does not matter what extents you must travel to in order to complete this goal, because success is adamant. The only exception to this philosophy occurs whenever Silver’s own life is at risk, yet another tribute to his utter selfishness, caring only about his life and his wealth. “So you’ve changed sides again” (Stevenson 312) are words which escape Jim Hawkins’s mouth after Silver yet again switches from the mutineers to the honest men. He does so to ensure his own safety. There is no description of Silver as gracious rather than greedy; such a characteristic would disrupt the entire plot. Long John Silver’s self-sustenance does not only drive his character’s personal motivation, but also the entire storyline. If Silver did not have such a present sense of rapacity, he would not have another motivator strong enough to push him to deceit and murder. It is quite evident that greed is an essential ingredient to Long John Silver’s success, though this isn’t the case with everything in life.
Loyalty is not only subjective, but relative. When determining loyalty, one must analyze this quality from many viewpoints (ethically, socially, and to whom). In doing so, one could consider Long John Silver a character loyal to himself. Maybe he isn’t loyal to his peers or fellow mutineers, but that is all comparative. What is it that promotes Long John Silver’s loyalty to his mindset? It is his is very own greed, the main ingredient of Silver’s ultimate success in stealing treasure. Ultimately, it is proven true that greed and a pre-determined mindset can be undeniable factors in success.
A Gentleman Chosen
One particular climax in the story “Treasure Island” occurs when Jim Hawkins unwittingly stumbles into enemy camp and is captured by Long John Silver and his pirates. This passage is of particular importance because it ultimately allows Jim to make a choice between the “gentlemen born” and the “gentlemen of fortune.”From the first moment Jim is captured, Long John Silver tries to win Jim over to the “gentlemen of fortune” and get him to side with the pirates. Silver is keenly aware of Jim’s need for acceptance, and asks him, “Hawkins, will you give me your word of honor as a young gentleman for a young gentleman you are, although poor born your word of honor not to slip your cable?” (749). This is Silver’s not-so-subtle way of telling Jim that, although he may choose honor over dishonor, he will never truly be a “gentleman born.” Silver plays on Jim’s need for acceptance and deftly lets Jim know that he will be accepted as a “gentleman of fortune.”Silver has a variety of motives for making this statement to Jim. I believe his ultimate motive is to win Jim’s loyalty because he wants Jim to join the pirates. But why does he want Jim to join the pirates?First of all, Long John Silver realizes he needs Jim on his side to help protect him from the other pirates. The other pirates are mutineers who have somewhat lost their trust in Silver. And while Silver has been able to regain the upper hand with the pirates, he knows he will never be able to turn his back on them or they are bound to rise up against him. With Jim on his side, Silver will have one more set of eyes and ears to keep tabs on the mutineers.Secondly, Silver realizes that he needs Jim to help protect him from the gallows. Jim has already given his word to Silver that he will act as a witness when they get back to England to protect Silver from the gallows. Perhaps Silver is testing Jim’s integrity to see if he will keep his word and “not slip his cable” (749). This, in turn, would indicate that Jim would keep his word as a witness for Silver.More importantly, Silver realizes that if he wins the allegiance of Jim, he will win a victory over the “gentlemen born,” Smollett and Livesey. Until this point, Jim has been loyal to the gentlemen born despite all of Silver’s flattering talk and approval. The capture of Jim by Silver and the pirates marks the first time an enemy has been caught by the opposite side. However if Jim chooses to stay on the pirates’ side by his own volition, Silver has won a moral victory over Smollett and Livesey. This would mean that Jim has rejected the good guys and embraced the bad. It would also mean the gentlemen born would have one less person to fight on their side, thereby reducing their manpower and strengthening the pirates’ chances for victory in battle.Finally, perhaps Silver has a need for acceptance as well. Up until this point, Silver has really been the most prominent father figure to Jim, as he is the only one who truly understands Jim’s need for adult approval. Silver has already told Jim, “I’ve always liked you, I have, for a lad of spirit, and the picter of my own self when I was young and handsome” (740). While this is most likely false flattery from Silver to try to win Jim over, perhaps there is an element of truth to what Silver says. It is possible that Silver does truly see himself in Jim as a young boy. We are not aware of Silver’s history; perhaps as a young boy Silver also needed adult approval for his own self-esteem, and as an adult there is still an element of that need for approval. It is also possible that Silver enjoys playing the father figure to Jim, as Silver has no son of his own. Perhaps he truly does want Jim to accept him to fulfill his own need for love from a son.Ultimately Jim does choose the moral route. He does indeed keep his word to Silver, but not because he chooses the “gentlemen of fortune.” Jim keeps his word to prove that he is indeed a gentleman, if not a “gentleman born,” and with this he attains his full moral stature.Sources:Stevenson, Robert Louis, “Treasure Island.” A Custom Edition of Classics of Children’sLiterature, Fourth Edition. Ed. John W. Griffith and Charles H. Frey. Bloomington: Prentice-Hall, 1996, 647-765.
Jim Hawkins vs. Long John Silver: The Inadvertent Intersection of Success and Villainy in Treasure Island
Any basic plot is driven by the conflict from opposing trails to intertwined goals. There can only be one winner. Treasure Island symbolizes this with the epitome of archetypes: Long John Silver the notorious villain and Jim Hawkins the hero boy. However, the argument can be made that Silver is the cause for Jim’s effectiveness as a hero. Jim would lose his appeal if there was not as sharp a repellant as Silver. The sea-cook had his own idea of success, and his motives, means, and ambitions surface as sordid throughout his character growth in the novel. Key traits bleed into our interpretation of Silver: his manipulative treachery, his selfish secrecy, and his brutal level of determination. It is all of these traits that compound in his development to make it an aware fact that he is the villain, and Jim Hawkins is the hero. Mr. Stevenson’s work is a just depiction of two alternate sides in a typical Romantic adventure: Long John Silver’s development along his path to becoming a villain demonstrates that evil is rarely circumvented on the pursuit of success throughout Treasure Island.
Long John Silver is in a definitively comprehensive state of others’ emotions and uses that ability to control others. This is evident from the start from his encounter with Squire Trelawney, where he sold his character as eloquently loyal, humble, and pitied simply by targeting the nobleman’s sympathetic ties. As Silver recruits the opinion of “one of the best possible shipmates” (Stevenson 36) from Jim, and the boy pants after him with the obedience of a pitiful dog, ready to chase after every piece of flattery that drops carelessly from Silver’s lips, it is becoming clear that Silver has a motive behind the catalyst of his relationships, and he is not innocent to the effect of the emotions of his peers. He is always in control of what others think of him, as he shapes his image in convenience for situations with his gift of manipulative charisma. Even after Jim disillusioned his personal judgment of the mutineer by witnessing Silver play his magic on another while eavesdropping through the apple barrel, and he responded with feelings of anger and rage, “I would have killed him through the barrel” (46), the two circle back around to a remarkably truant relationship as hostage and beholder. This documents Silver’s skill of always being able to stay where he wants to in his ever-shifting game of charades.
The ultimate embodiment of Silver’s powers is when he was able to overturn the black spot, the mutineer condemnation that demanded certain death. Dick, a young boy that Silver had initially coaxed into the buccaneer way of thinking, had his shifty conscience targeted when Silver made allusions to his roots that Dick had abandoned to join the rebel cause. Silver is slyly clever enough to always turn around the standings so that he is carefree and in control, safe on the high road. The others even catch on and tell him to “belay that talk” (126). With words as the main weapon by which Silver is characterized, it is a sneaky underlain notice that he is a ceaselessly thinking man. He always knows how to expect what’s next, easily adapting no matter what the odds. It is clearly showcased that Long John Silver is a genius, and because of his comprehensive abilities, Long John could and should have succeeded as a protagonist. However, selfishness steered Long John Silver’s talents and made him evil, consequently bringing Jim up in the light of good.
At the start of the voyage, Long John Silver begins to distance himself from the rest of the crew in an invisible personal hierarchy, overthrowing Smollett and channeling the loyalties of the ship’s crew to himself. Accomplishing his convenient bias, it is also noticeable that when there is danger, it is never the sea cook that is targeted, as he ensures that to either team at any moment, there is a value to him that insures his worth. For instance, Silver takes Jim as hostage under the proposal to his band that the boy is an excellent cover plan, yet sells the act to the doctor and the squire as one of memorable mercy, telling them to “make a note of [it]” (132). The man is a constant accessory to both sides, with the mere interest of self survival. This is a strong contrast from Jim’s loyalty. Jim will stick to his word no matter what the outcome, yet Silver has shady, dodgy, questionable motives tailored to himself without regards for others. This shuts him off as a reachable character for the other characters and the readers.. His crew abhors him for his ultimate abandonment, and Jim resents him for his underhand betrayal. Readers see Silver’s fading public perception when he narrowly escapes the wrath of his dimwitted pirate band, and Jim becomes emboldened as the hero as he acknowledges his disapproval for Silver’s unethical ways. Jim’s steadfast devotion to courtesy and reliability provides the romantic figure desired by homely hearts. Long John Silver let his aptitude become tainted with self-servitude, and it led to his name of evil as a villain.
Long John Silver became identified as a villain when he grew relentless and brutal inn chasing after his goal. In the developmental stages of planning his scheme for acquiring treasure, he makes it clear that he will continue with the eventual clearing of anyone that isn’t on his side. With the excuse that what’s got to be done has to be done, he proclaims, “I claim Trelawney. I’ll wring his calf’s head off his body with these hands” (48). There is no sense of conscience found at closer examination of Silver’s blood-thirsty viciousness. He adorns his past with his adventures of mutiny and daring quests, and boldly implies that he has killed many before the expedition to Skeleton Island. Throughout the novel, Jim and Silver had been on parallel races to success, but because of Long John’s narrow vision, he became strictly obsessive, and was blinded to the true terrible value of his ruthlessness. He becomes scarily willing to take harsh and definite means, insisting upon severe clearings. Evil is an insignificant label as what matters in his world tables off onto a straight platform of pining after the treasure he has coveted for so long. Filtered through a ferocious mindset, evil intent and tack seem plausible and sane to Long John Silver. To the pirate, evil has evolved to become another aspect to the logic of success. Long John Silver had the potential of triumphing in his goal. However, his plan was sabotaged by the opposite force at work, heroism.
As Silver’s basis of success was founded upon a shaky and unstable manipulative path, there was no way for him to stay close to any morals, ethics, or conscience. He eventually progressed to be a distinguishably detestable villain as success diverged into evil. This was the downfall of his intentions. The story cheered on the hero, and the readers read in earnest. Because Jim was able to come out in possession of goodwill with a fist of luck in the air, he was the hero that countered Silver’s attempts. Long John Silver’s example of how brilliance, intelligence, and ability still cannot guarantee success exemplifies that evil is a very obstructive obstacle, and to achieve success without it is truly heroic.