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The most popular pirate story ever written in English, featuring one of literature’s most beloved “bad guys,” Treasure Island has been happily devoured by several generations of boys—and girls—and grownups. Its unforgettable characters include: young Jim Hawkins, who finds himself owner of a map to Treasure Island, where the fabled pirate booty is buried; honest Captain Smollett, heroic Dr. Livesey, and the good-hearted but obtuse Squire Trelawney, who help Jim on his quest for the treasure; the frightening Blind Pew, double-dealing Israel Hands, and seemingly mad Ben Gunn, buccaneers of varying shades of menace; and, of course, garrulous, affable, ambiguous Long John Silver, who is one moment a friendly, laughing, one-legged sea-cook . . .and the next a dangerous pirate leader!
The unexpected and complex relationship that develops between Silver and Jim helps transform what seems at first to be a simple, rip-roaring adventure story into a deeply moving study of a boy’s growth into manhood, as he learns hard lessons about friendship, loyalty, courage and honor—and the uncertain meaning of good and evil.
Angus Fletcher is Distinguished Professor Emeritus, City University of New York, and is the author of Allegory: The Theory of a Symbolic Mode, Colors of the Mind, and A New Theory for American Poetry, among other books.
If we go back to the origins of adventure story fiction, we discover that the heroic quest remains its principal myth. Quest-romances take many different forms, whether it be the search for the Holy Grail in Arthurian legend, for the Golden Fleece as in the Argonautica, the ancient epic of Jason and the Argonauts, for the safe return home after perilous Homeric wanderings, as in the Odyssey, or for a wide range of ends both material and spiritual. What is important is that, once established in classic form, the great adventure stories render all readers, of any age, essentially children at heart. The quest gives us our dream of success, and when we tire of daily labor in making a living, it returns us to that time of the dream. Thus for Treasure Island the questing dream comes out of a long preceding history. Besides two early travel books based on journeys in France, Stevenson told stories in homage to the Near Eastern tradition of loosely woven adventures: his New Arabian Nights 1882, in which the exotic nature of travel to distant lands is imagined as occurring in stories set in Europe. This art of romance thrives on the incredible voyage, the sailor’s yarn in his day perhaps more fashionable than any other type, the tall frontier tale, including exotic or utopian settings that could never actually exist, because romance demands almost complete power to overcome all human obstacles. The mode of romance therefore demands freedom to imagine. Yet the tradition seems to mix realism on some level with such unreal situations for the hero. In Robinson Crusoe 1719 Daniel Defoe mingles fact and fiction liberally. The same mixture appears in Arthurian lore, while with the rise of the modern middle classes a new kind of romance arises around the quest for material success.
By Stevenson’s time Protestant beliefs and secular technology had long since fueled the rise of capitalism. Robinson Crusoe, while it inaugurated the realistic tradition of the novel in England, makes a continuous critical commentary on mercantile capitalism and its value system, especially as they derive aid and comfort from Protestant Christianity. Crusoe, whose name plays on the name of Christ, is in effect a marooned capitalist, who must rebuild his fortune, by returning his commercial skills to their most primitive beginnings. In this process Crusoe learns who he actually is. Such a quest is tied to the science of counting up supplies, enemies, distances, and even dreams, all of which become the very stuff of realistic modern fiction. Typically the castaway begins his lonely sojourn by surveying what is left to him from the ruins of shipwreck—that is, making the inventory of tools available beyond mere life itself. To be sure, virtually all the major novelists comment, directly or allusively, on the nature and sources of wealth, often indicating how these derive from imperial expansion. Scholars have found these middle-class indicators in what might seem the strangest places—for example, the novels of Jane Austen. Character and commerce seem not so secretly linked. Yet how could it be otherwise, since the bourgeois novel attempts an accounting of life? At the end of the nineteenth century, Henry James claimed for the novel that its function was to provide genuine “criticism” of the way we live, to provide a kind of narrative philosophy, storytelling endowed with serious levels of meaning, suggesting profound and often obscure themes. Stevenson’s essay “A Humble Remonstrance” 1884; see, in “For Further Reading,” The Lantern-Bearers and Other Essays countered James’s critical principle by favoring romance. There is no way, the essay claimed, for the novel to “compete with life.” Instead the novel should maintain its exhilarating imaginative independence from the crude facts of existence, drawing upon those facts solely as a resource for delineating passion. The saame article faults the distinguished American novelist and editor William Dean Howells for a similar dependency upon the new naturalistic style. Stevenson wanted to keep the idea of treasure somehow pure. With Henry James, whom Stevenson so much admired and who became his valued correspondent, the idea of a treasure sought by adventurous quest took on an ironic aspect. James’s critical gaze, enhanced by his own obsession with wealth, led him to analyze the typical methods of acquiring it, such as real estate speculation in the value of houses or New Englanders piling up industrial wealth or European princes marrying American money. In these late novels and stories James’s critical conceptions collide with material obsessions, and the results are often obscure, even uncanny, as in The Ambassadors, The Wings of the Dove, and The Golden Bowl.
By the author’s own account “the seed” of his novel came from the idea of a treasure chest he found in another adventure story, Charles Kingsley’s At Last 1871. As a goal of acquisitive good luck and daring, treasure in general provides the motive, indirectly or directly consider Rider Haggard’s immensely popular novel King Solomon’s Mines for all sorts of adventures. The nineteenth century saw a new world of yearning popular literature, much like Hollywood movies and television shows today. Sentimental romances, “penny dreadfuls,” and “shilling shockers” enthralled large masses of readers. The fossilized popular novels of this earlier date now sit moldering on the storage shelves of pre-electronic libraries, their desiccated pages exuding a dismal smell. Once great in number and acclaim among the young, they saved many a tedious day from misery. The adventure novels of G. A. Henty 1832–1902 appeared in more than 150 volumes. In twentieth-century Britain, Henty was displaced by the more up-to-date Percy Westerman 1876–1959; at school youngsters called him “Percy Piffler,” to show they knew their author, who wrote more than 100 such books. In the United States, to match such prolific output one would look to the 135 “dime novels” of Horatio Alger 1832–1899, again showing how the market of books for the young continued and still continues to put a premium on production. This literature multiplies mainly because it lacks any serious, thought-provoking realism about the hazards of either romance or adventure. The book cannot be read fast enough! Sentimental romances and the adventure stories are of course the same commodity, masked by gender difference. If the novel is to work, it must on some level achieve an illusion of escape, and also of achieving a goal at the same time.
Posted September 16, 2009
This is one of my favorite adventure stories, for anybody who enjoys action, adventure, and thrill, they should definitely buy this book. This book was so excellent I had to pass it on to somebody else so they could enjoy it just as well.
I highly recommend it!
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Jim, the protagonist, is just a boy, that works at the Admiral Benbox Inn, but he can see that Billy Bones is a nervous man, always alert and watching for stangers arriving at the inn. And he has the right to be nervous, because he possesses a map drawn by Capitan Flint, the most feared pirate to ever roam the high seas. <BR/>Well, Flint died, but there's plenty of men who served with Capitan Flint still alive who feel they deserve a fair share of the treasure. The map, though, ends up with Jim Hawkins. (it's a near thing, read the book to find out how that happens). Jim confides in the local doctor and squire, who work together to acquire a ship, a crew, and provisions to sail for Treasure Island. There is a weak link though, because although Squire Trelawney is well-intentioned, he has a big mouth. By the time the Hispaniola is ready for sea, she is boarded by the old murderous mob who sailed with Flint! <BR/>There's a scene in the book where Jim, hiding in a barrel on deck, discovers that mutiny is planned. The numbers suggest that the pirates are going to take over the ship and make this journey their own, taking all the treasure for themselves. There are nineteen mutineers and seven honest men, including Jim, aboard the ship. <BR/>And now....this book will have you pining to see what happens next. This is a fantastic story of double-crossing and deceit, bravery and cowardice. I don't know how things would have turned out if Jim hadn't been involved. For it is he who finds Ben Gunn, marooned on the island, half-mad with isolation. And it is Jim who single-handedly steals the Hispaniola from under the very noses of the pirates and sails her round the island to a secret beaching place. <BR/>And do you know what happens to Long John Silver, the greatest double-crosser of them all? A true classic my dad read to me when I was young.
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Posted January 22, 2012
Posted July 11, 2009
I felt this was a rather good book that seemed to really start the pirate tales that have gone through to the Pirate of the Caribbean movies. I thought that the intro was also good and did explain where Stevenson got his ideas for the book, and much better than the intro for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which I felt gave the ending away too early. I was hoping the book would be a bit more exciting, but there was enough action throughout. I have read better books, but I have also read worse, so that is why I gave this book 4 stars.
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 29, 2012
The Treasure Island is a fascinating read. It has such original characters that has been reinvented throughout the decades. Anyone who likes sea voyage, pirate stories will love the beginnings of such stories in Stevenson's cleverly portrayed novel.
The characters are fun and interesting, the plot is actionful there is always another secret to solve in the story.
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Posted February 18, 2013
Not An Ordinary Treasure Hunt
By Robert Louis Stevenson
304 pgs. $4.45. (Young Adult; ages 13 and up)
“Reading” is usually something a teenager doesn’t want to hear. But when you read Treasure Island, your mind goes off into to a great land where it is just you and the book. Robert Louis Stevenson created a fiction novel that makes you think. It makes you want to know what is going to happen next. You are more focused on finding the treasure in this book. What starts off a little slow turns into a great adventure on which you will embark with the protagonist named Jim.
Robert Louis Stevenson, a Scottish author, wrote “Treasure Island” in 1884. Even though this book has some age on it doesn’t mean it is not good. “Treasure Island” is a classic for many reasons. “Treasure Island” is a book that will take you on an adventure that you will never forget. It starts off with a young boy named Jim. Jim and his parents own a Inn near the ocean. Jim helps out at the “Admiral Bow”. Jim met one “customer” one day that would change his life forever. They called him Captain. Captain was an odd man that created the story.
The Captain’s personality was spine chilling. They said he was a mean man. He showed it when the book described this, “The old fellow’s fury was awful. He sprang to his feet, drew and opened a sailor’s clasp-knife, and balancing it open on the palm of his hand, threatened to pin the doctor to the wall.”(17). That just got the book started. There was more to come.
Jim, the protagonist, was a very adventurous kid. He had to grow up fast when he learned he had to embark on a journey with a crew of older men. It took them to Treasure Island. The story got a lot more intense as it went on. It even pushed Long John to the edge. He said, “That’s enough, cap’n,” shouted Long John ,“A word from you’s enough. I know a gentleman, and you may lay to that.” (336). Tension gets high when treasure is put on the line. Long, the captain of the crew, wanted to find that treasure.
Jim meets tons of people on his journey. He makes friends and enemies. He learns from mistakes. Jim learns that he can put himself apart from others and still accomplish things. As you read this book, you have to remember Jim is not an adult. He is just a really mature kid. The kid shows in him at times when he is a little too curious. He knows he can do what the other crewmembers can. Jim will prove to the people that he is not a little kid anymore.
Keep reading this wonderful novel to find out what happens next. You will not want to put down the book once you start. This book will keep you guessing. There is something awesome happening in “Treasure Island”. This adventurous book will make you have chills running down your back. This book has you on the edge. This book shows you the build up to adventure, the adventure, and what happens after the adventure. When you start the journey to Treasure Island, you will be in your own world with Jim and his shipmates.
This book would be a 4 out of 5 stars for me. I like it but I really don’t love pirate adventures. This is still a great read and I recommend it to anyone that loves adventure.
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Posted June 16, 2012
Posted December 1, 2013
Posted January 9, 2013
Posted May 6, 2012
Posted December 6, 2011
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson was created to entertain audiences with fanciful tales of pirates, treasure, and adventure, and it delivers. This novel was written in a time where reason and scientific discovery were systematically eliminating the imaginations of the general public, but Stevenson fought back. He tells a tale of a young boy, Jim Hawkins, who stumbles into a web of deceit and must fight for his life in order make it through each day. Hawkins finds an encoded treasure map, a staple of all swashbuckling novels, and proceeds, with companions close by, with a voyage in search of the ¿booty¿ at hand. On this voyage, the author draws the audience in with rumors of betrayal among the crew. The suspense builds until a full-blown mutiny occurs, led by the buccaneer Long John Silver. A few loyal crewmembers survive and escape to the island, living to fight another day. The survival of the ¿good guys¿ from this ordeal creates a promise of recurring conflict as well as espionage during the two-sided treasure hunt. Pirates and sailors clash in a stymied gunfight. The protagonist sneaks past the enemy border line and engages in a pistol duel for control over the ship he was forced to abandon. However, on his way back to rescue his friends, he is taken hostage and held as a bargaining chip for future negotiations. He is tied up, beaten, and nearly killed while under the ¿care¿ of Long John Silver. By some stroke luck, Silver had obtained the treasure map from the loyal crewmen and was in pursuit of his long-awaited treasure, but when the destination was reached, the treasure was already looted. Robert Louis Stevenson uses new plot twists to engage even the most logical of minds. He created an adventure that is not only a fun and chimerical read, but presents quandaries and paradoxes to satiate the palates of those readers who had the imagination of a rock. This was his battle through life. Stevenson was trying to prove that a dose of fantasy and imagination is necessary for life to be enjoyable and fulfilled. Through his novel Treasure Island, this goal is accomplished by exercising the limits of the audience¿s imagination and ensnaring them in a land of mystery, intrigue, betrayal, and heroism that presents new twists around every turn.
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Posted October 27, 2011
The popular image of a pirate has come to be a peg-legged, grammatically-incorrect, rum-fancying gold-seeker, usually of the selfish and corruptible variety (possibly with a parrot perched on the shoulder). Everyone knows a pirate cannot be trusted, because they are either risking their life for gold, or risking the lives of others for their own safety. This universally accepted pirate lore is largely indebted to Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, a classic novel starring the young Jim Hawkins and his quest for treasure on an abandoned island.
The story begins at Jim's home, the Admiral Benbow Inn, where his father is slowly passing away and a dilapidated old seaman has made himself at home. "The captain," as everyone calls him, steers clear of any obvious seamen, and warns Jim of a one-legged sailor. When Jim's father dies and strange and unwelcome men come knocking at the inn in search of the captain, the boy finds himself in the midst of an epic and dangerous adventure aboard The Hispaniola, a ship sailing toward the legendary island where Captain Flint buried his treasure.
Treasure Island remains a cherished story to this day for many reasons. For one, Stevenson expertly crafts the protagonist, Jim Hawkins. Jim is a smart and resourceful young man. He has just lost his father, his mother is an ocean away, and the threat of death is around every corner, and yet he does anything but curl up and hide. In fact, his biggest fault is his undying bravery - his tendency to act before really thinking things through, but always in the best interest of his friends. Luckily for Jim and his comrades, such as the intelligent Dr. Livesey and the hardnosed Captain Smollett, his foolhardy actions often work out for the better. As Jim survives close shaves with the treacherous ocean and the backstabbing pirates, readers can see him evolving from a sad and scared young boy into a confident and honorable young man.
Another gem within Stevenson's tale is the duplicitous Long John Silver, the peg-legged sailor that is a respected sea-cook one second and a mutinous captain the next. Silver is the ultimate pirate, always conniving and talking his way toward both treasure and survival. One never really knows whose side Silver is on, though it can be certain he is always doing what is best for himself. Stevenson gives Silver the ability to turn words and manipulate his fellow buccaneers - so well, in fact, that I often found myself wondering just what his intentions were. Was Silver really all that bad? Could he get any worse?
Treasure Island is filled with mystery, deceit, yo-ho-hos, and bottles of rum - a true pirate's tale complete with plenty of action to keep the pages turning. From Captain Hook to Jack Sparrow to the popular Muppet's Treasure Island, bits of Stevenson's timeless story live on to this day. If you are interested in reading where the world of piracy and treasure-hunting first came to form, X marks the spot on Treasure Island - you're sure to find what you're looking for from the first sentence to the last.
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Posted November 22, 2013
Posted November 1, 2013
The novel is, of course, a classic adventure story. Unfortunately, this edition is poorly done. Among other flaws, it lacks an illustration of the treasure map, which is critical to the story. Instead of traditional quotation marks, it uses some odd invention that is distracting.
I took the book to my local B & N store, where the clerk agreed with my negative assessment of this edition and where I quickly found an excellent version of the book. I bought it and gave it to my grandchildren, as was planned. The story's book was actually less expensive, too, so this all ended happily.
But ditch the edition I ordered online. It is substandard.
Posted October 24, 2013
Posted September 17, 2013
For all that the name "Long John Silver" evoked images of the ultimate pirate, smart and vicious... one leg but still agile in a fight... adventure after adventure, I had never actually read Treasure Island until recently. Worth the read if you've never read it and, like me, are trying to fill in the gaps of classic literature that you might have missed out on earlier. It may not stand up to some of today's more graphic adventure tales (or movies...) but it still does stand up as worth the read. I was actually surprised to realize (since I obviously hadn't until then), that this is the only adventure written about Mr Silver! All the tales I imagined as a kid, from whispers in other media, all stem from a single book. This book (and Peter Pan), in my opinion, shaped much of the American view of "pirates".
If you want to read about the base for many a tragic love story, you own it to yourself to read Romeo and Juliet, but if you want to delve into tales of the high seas and the pirates that thrive on them, read Treasure Island.
Posted August 25, 2013
Posted August 1, 2013
*she smiles shakily* ....member this? Good times. xD I'm almost afraid to post at any other result cause I don't wanna erase any of my old ones.... xD just read them, Chris! We were such noobs. *she throws her head back laughing* e.e....that was the best part. So awesome.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 19, 2013
Posted June 20, 2013
1.SL of course<br>2.Batu and his wife, can't rember her name.<br>3.Sparrow<br>4.15-20 ish<br>5. My guess is somewhere around 2,500 and 3,00<br>6.Woodrose Mountain.<br>7. Cat clans<br>8. Cat clans.<br>9.Fang.<br>10.any of my best friends.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.