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Lautaro Torres
Lautaro Torres

Treasure Island Music Festival

Treasure Island: A Classic Adventure Novel by Robert Louis Stevenson


Treasure Island is one of the most enduring adventure tales of all timea coming-of-age story featuring swaggering pirates, sea battles, and a quest for buried treasure. First published in a weekly literary magazine between 1881 and 1882, Treasure Island wasnt the first novel about a boys fantasy of fighting murderous Buccaneers. But with its richly drawn characters, vivid prose and moral complexities, it became the defining work of that genre, and a classic to boot. It also introduced readers to one of the greatest villains in all of literature: the one-legged, parrot-wearing Long John Silver.

In this article, we will explore what Treasure Island is about, who are the main characters in Treasure Island, what are the main themes in Treasure Island, and provide a summary and analysis of Treasure Island. We will also share some interesting facts about Treasure Island that you may not know.

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What is Treasure Island about?

Treasure Island is a novel by Robert Louis Stevenson that tells the story of Jim Hawkins, a young boy who lives at his parents inn near Bristol, England, in the eighteenth century. An old sea captain named Billy Bones dies in the inn after being presented with a black spot, or official pirate verdict of guilt or judgment. Jim is stirred to action by the spot and its mysterious, accurate portent of Billys death. Hastily, Jim and his mother unlock Billys sea chest, finding a logbook and map inside. Hearing steps outside, they leave with the documents before Billys pursuers ransack the inn.

Jim realizes that the contents he has snatched from the sea chest must be valuable, so he takes one of the documents he has found to some local acquaintances, Dr. Livesey and Squire Trelawney. Excited, they recognize it as a map for a huge treasure that the infamous pirate Captain Flint has buried on a distant island. Trelawney immediately starts planning an expedition. Naïve in his negotiations to outfit his ship, the Hispaniola, Trelawney is tricked into hiring one of Flints former mates, Long John Silver, and many of Flints crew. Who are the main characters in Treasure Island?

Treasure Island has a large cast of characters, but here are some of the most important ones:

  • Jim Hawkins: The protagonist and narrator of the novel, Jim is a young boy who lives at the Admiral Benbow Inn with his parents. He is curious, brave, and adventurous, but also naive and impulsive. He finds the treasure map in Billy Bones's chest and joins the voyage to Treasure Island as a cabin boy. He becomes friends with Long John Silver, but later realizes his treachery and opposes him.

  • Long John Silver: The main antagonist of the novel, Silver is a former pirate who works as a cook on the Hispaniola. He is charismatic, cunning, and ruthless, but also charming and friendly. He leads the mutiny against the captain and the loyal crew, and tries to get the treasure for himself. He has a pet parrot named Captain Flint, who often repeats the phrase "Pieces of eight". He has a wooden leg, which he uses as a weapon.

  • Dr. Livesey: A local doctor and magistrate who is a friend of Jim and Squire Trelawney. He is intelligent, calm, and courageous, and serves as a father figure to Jim. He acts as the ship's doctor and later as the leader of the loyal crew on the island. He is respected by both sides of the conflict, and often mediates between them.

  • Squire Trelawney: A wealthy landowner who is a friend of Jim and Dr. Livesey. He is enthusiastic, generous, and adventurous, but also reckless and gullible. He finances the voyage to Treasure Island and hires the crew, including Long John Silver. He acts as the ship's owner and later as a fighter on the island.

  • Captain Smollett: The captain of the Hispaniola, who is hired by Squire Trelawney. He is experienced, professional, and strict, but also fair and loyal. He does not like the idea of going on a treasure hunt, and suspects trouble from the crew. He leads the loyal crew against the mutineers on the island.

  • Billy Bones: An old pirate who stays at the Admiral Benbow Inn with a large sea chest. He is paranoid, violent, and alcoholic, and often tells stories about his past adventures with Captain Flint. He dies of a stroke after receiving a black spot from Blind Pew. He leaves behind a treasure map that Jim finds in his chest.

  • Blind Pew: A blind beggar who delivers the black spot to Billy Bones. He is cruel, sinister, and feared by everyone. He leads a gang of pirates who attack the inn after Billy's death. He is trampled by horses while fleeing from soldiers.

  • Ben Gunn: A former pirate who was marooned on Treasure Island three years ago by his mates after a failed search for the treasure. He is eccentric, wild, and lonely, but also friendly and helpful. He has found and hidden the treasure before Jim and his friends arrive on the island. He helps them against the mutineers in exchange for cheese and a passage home.

What are the main themes in Treasure Island?

Treasure Island explores several themes that are relevant to both children and adults, such as:

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  • The search for heroic role models: Jim Hawkins is a young boy who lacks a father figure in his life. He looks up to different characters in the novel as potential role models, such as Billy Bones, Long John Silver, Dr. Livesey, Squire Trelawney, Captain Smollett, and Ben Gunn. However, he soon realizes that none of them are perfect or ideal heroes. They all have their flaws, weaknesses, or ulterior motives. Jim learns to rely on his own judgment and courage instead of blindly following others.

  • The futility of desire: The treasure that motivates most of the characters in the novel turns out to be an empty or dangerous goal. The pirates who seek it are either killed or betrayed by their own mates. The loyal crew who find it are not satisfied or happy with it. Even Ben Gunn, who has already taken it for himself, does not enjoy it or use it for anything meaningful. He only wants cheese and a return to civilization. The treasure represents greed, corruption, and violence that ultimately leads to nothing.

Deception, secrecy, and trust: The novel is full of deception, secrecy, and trust issues among the characters. Long John Silver deceives everyone with his friendly facade while plotting mutiny Smollett, and Jim as soon as they reached the island. Jim was shocked and terrified by this revelation, and decided to warn his friends as soon as possible.

Jim managed to sneak out of the barrel and find Dr. Livesey, who was on watch. He told him everything he had heard, and they went to inform Squire Trelawney and Captain Smollett. They agreed to keep their knowledge a secret and pretend to be unaware of the mutiny until they could find a way to deal with it. They also decided to let Silver and his men go ashore first, hoping to separate them from the ship.

Part Three: My Shore Adventure

Jim goes ashore with the pirates and meets Ben Gunn

The next day, the Hispaniola arrived at Treasure Island, and Silver and his men prepared to go ashore in a boat. Jim, who was curious and restless, decided to join them without telling his friends. He thought that he could find out more about their plans or even stop them somehow.

Jim and the pirates landed on the island, which looked wild and deserted. Silver gave orders to his men to explore the island and look for signs of the treasure. He also told Jim to stay with him, pretending to be his friend. Jim followe


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