parkerwharram, March 29, 2012 (view all comments by parkerwharram)
Treasure Island by Robert Stevenson is a wonderfully refreshing novel for readers both young and old. This adventure story was first published in Scotland in the year 1883. The plot of this book is an exciting adventure tale of seeking a pirate’s buried treasure. Anyone who is looking to live vicariously through a great adventure should read this novel. I know I was looking a thrilling read when I picked up this book and I was certainly not disappointed.
The setting of Treasure Island occurs during the eighteenth century near Bristol, England and the mythical Treasure Island is off the coast of Spanish America in the Caribbean Sea. The novel is written in a first person point of view from the character Jim Hawkins, the narrator and protagonist. Jim is a young boy who informs the reader of his emotions and thoughts throughout the novel.
The novel starts with an old pirate by the name of Billy Bones appearing and then dying at Jim’s family inn. In his death he leaves behind an old sea chest in which Jim discovers a map that leads to a buried treasure on an island out at sea. Quickly a ship, captain and crew is put together and the exciting quest for wealth begins! From here on out the name of the game is nail biting adventure, continuous excitement with not even one dull page.
Stevenson uses many tactics to produce this adventurous mood for his novel. First of which is the action filled plot full of death, violence, exotic locations, pirates and of course a pursuit race for hidden treasure. The exhilarating plot is only the baseline for creating the adventurous feel of the novel. Low diction is used by the pirates, “’You ain’t a-going to let me inside, cap’n?’ complained Long John.” (189). The low diction adds an authenticity to the novel, helping the reader to imagine how the pirates would actually talk. The more realistic the pirate is the more scary and intimidating he is. The setting is also a key contributor to the adventurous feel, “Here and there were flowering plants unknown to me; here and there I saw snakes, and one raised his head from a ledge of rock and hissed at me with a noise not unlike the spinning of a top.” (132). By having the island be exotic and dangerous the reader feels the fright and anxiety that Jim is going through. Treasure Island is strikingly unusual and this mysteriousness adds yet another layer to the adventurous feel.
A first person point of view is crucial to the adventurous mood of the novel. By reading Jim’s feelings and thoughts the audience can relate to his emotions and understand his situation better. Take for example this quote, “This put me in great fear, and I crawled under cover of the nearest live oak, and squatted there, hearkening, as silent as a mouse.” (133). Instead of only reading a simple plot advancement of crawling under a tree, the audience is able to see inside Jim’s head and truly observe his emotion of fear. Although third person omniscient would give the same insight, there is a subtle advantage of first person point of view. That is the connection between the reader and the narrating protagonist. The use of first person is more personal, as if the speaker is talking to the reader directly and by one hundred and thirty three pages into the novel this connection is fairly strong. When Jim is in a tough situation the reader feels fear for his safety. Jim’s emotions turn into the audience’s emotions, bringing the reader closer to the thrill of the adventure. Overall, the novel over achieves its goal of having an adventurous feel. Stevenson does a fabulous job of using plot, low diction, setting, first person point of view and a variety of others to keep his readers excited and thrilled throughout his adventure story novel.
On a whole, Treasure Island is the number one book to grab off the self if an adventure story is called for in the recipe. From page one until the end I was hooked due to the numerous techniques that Stevenson included in order to ensure an adventurous feel for his novel. This is honestly my new favorite book because of the way the writing infused emotions of excitement and fear into me. Thanks to the incredible action heavy plot, low diction of the pirates, the mysterious setting and first person point of view from a young kid, this adventure story soars above all others. I would suggest this book over any other to anyone wishing to delight themselves in the magical world of adventure.
Piracy and adventure on the high seas provide a striking contrast between the evil of Long John Silver and the good of young Jim Hawkins.
by Random House,
Masterfully crafted, Treasure Island is a stunning yarn of piracy on the fiery tropic seas — an unforgettable tale of treachery that embroils a host of legendary swashbucklers, from honest young Jim Hawkins to sinister, two-timing Israel Hands, to evil incarnate, blind Pew. But above all, Treasure Island is a complex study of good and evil, as embodied by that hero-villain, Long John Silver: the merry unscrupulous buccaneer-rogue whose greedy quest for gold cannot help but win the heart of every soul who ever longed for romance, treasure, and adventure. Since its publication in 1883, Treasure Island has provided an enduring literary model for such eminent writers as Anthony Hope, Graham Greene, and Jorge Luis Borges. As David Daiches wrote: "Robert Louis Stevenson transformed the Victorian boys' adventure into a classic of its kind."
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