Though pirates are no longer a part of contemporary life, the thrill that the word carries has not ceased. Although centuries passed since the book first reached the hands of curious readers, it is still decorating the readers’ bookshelves to date. The book is also prescribed in schools and colleges as one of the genre’s pioneer books.
Glimpse into the story
Treasure Island begins with Jim narrating his purpose for writing down his adventure experiences to the strange island. The story’s incidents are narrated from Jim’s perspective, the young protagonist, who witnesses the actual world during his journey. The main problem starts when Squire Trelawney, the adventure organizer, is misguided into recruiting some pirates into his crew.
At the beginning of the journey in Treasure Island, only captain Smollett gets a weird feeling about the crew. However, when they were about to reach the island, Jim, the novel’s protagonist, overhears that half of the crew members are pirates, and they are waiting for the right opportunity to go against the good people on board.
Jim passes the message to Captain Smollett, Dr Livesey, and Squire Trelawney. Together, they play smartly when the pirates finally start a mutiny. Both the pirates and the good people fight for the treasure. Eventually, lives are lost on both ends. Nevertheless, in due course, the treasure is unearthed, and a few good ones, along with two pirates, get back to the mainland.
Greed, the evil of all evils
The desire for money becomes the root cause of all evil, a statement that has proved itself true through the centuries. From time immemorial, money enslaved human beings with the desire to acquire it. In the novel, the pirates embody the evil that arises out of the desire for money. They go to an extent where they ruthlessly kill each other for money. Thus, choosing between good and evil matters when one desires money. Sadly, many people fail in this aspect. The fine line drawn between the good ones and the bad ones during their journey to the treasure island depicts it well.
When looked closely at the story, it is evident that all the mishaps, deaths, and hardships the characters face in the novel result from deliberate deception for personal gain. Through the characters that go on a voyage to Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson observes the role of greed in society.
Prototype of Pirates’ Life
R. L. Stevenson has created his pirates’ characters by blending history with his personal experiences gained from the sea voyage. His portrayal of pirates in the novel has changed the way people thought of pirates and created a prototype that is followed even in contemporary times. Especially Long John Silver’s personality and appearance. Stevenson describes his character as:
“His left leg was cut off close by the hip, and under the left shoulder, he carried a crutch, which he managed with wonderful dexterity, hopping about upon it like a bird. He was very tall and strong, with a face as big as a ham – plain and pale, but intelligent and smiling”.
Though pirates are usually a heterogenic community from different places, Stevenson made them use slang and faulty language in the novel. Notably, Long John Silver’s character uses language that is an unusual combination of slang and officialese. However, in the end, a stereotypical image is created about the way of “Pirate talk” was established by Treasure Island.
Whether true or not, Treasure Island has laid the path for the life of the pirates, making it the pioneer of such character demonstrations.
In the concluding part of the novel, Jim narrates how they left the Island and his decision never to return to the island.
Jim Hawkins, Squire Trelawney, Dr Livesey, Ben Gunn, Captain Smollett, and a few crew members along with Long John Silver leave the island, leaving behind the last two pirates. Long John Silver escapes en route to Bristol, and his whereabouts are still unknown. Others get a good share for themselves and start living happily.
As the pirates’ song goes, “Drink, and the devil had done for the rest” explains, only a few returned among the many who went sail. In contrast to Israel Hands’ observation, good has come to those with goodness, including Long John Silver, who decided to help the good.
“For thirty years,” [Israel Hands] said, “I’ve sailed the seas and seen good and bad, better and worse, fair weather and foul, provisions running out, knives going, and whatnot. Well, now I tell you, I never seen good come o’ goodness yet. Him as strikes first is my fancy; dead men don’t bite; them’s my views–amen, so be it.”
Treasure Island Review: Adventure in the face of adversity
Lasting Impact on the Reader
Treasure Island Book Review
Treasure Island is a tale about a young boy who finds a map that leads to the island, where the infamous pirate Captain Flint buried all his treasures. Moreover, there are pirates, former crew members of Captain Flint, who are also after the treasure. In this way, the story starts with two different sets of people going on the expedition to bring back the treasure. Despite everything, the one to get the treasure, in the end, is the story.
Although the crew meets with many challenges from nature, pirates, and others, in the end, virtue is rewarded while evil punished.
- Well Crafted Characterization that gives life to the story
- Simple story and plot construction
- Impressive projection of life and adventure around the sea
- Despite categorized as a Children’s book, the language is a bit complex for younger children.
- Silver being a pirate, his missing whereabouts, in conclusion, doesn’t give a positive outlook.