Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson


Treasure Island starts in the mid 1700’s where an old sailor, Billy Bones, is hiding out at the Admiral Benbow Inn on the English coast. Billy is concerned that a certain sailor will find him and take his sea chest that contains some money, a journal and a special map.

Jim Hawkins is the innkeeper’s son, an obviously good person right from the start, and the narrator for this story.  Jim is hired by Billy to watch for any sign of a sailor approaching the inn, someone comes, and a confrontation follows. Billy prevails but he soon after has a heart attack. Jim goes through Billy’s things and finds the chest and then the map that shows the way to an island where a big X marks where a treasure of gold is hidden. Jim get some locals team up to buy a ship and sail for the treasure.

As they travel to the shipyards to buy a ship, they hire Long John Silver, a Bristol tavern-keeper as ship's cook. A crew comes together, not without issues, but they set sail for the distant island on the map. Just before the island is sighted, Jim overhears Silver talking with two other crewmen and realizes that Silver and most of the other crew members are pirates who have planned a mutiny. Jim tells the captain and they calculate that they will be seven to nineteen in trying to defend against the mutineers.

When the island is reached the mutiny takes place with the crew separating behind Silver and Captain Trelawney.  Jim and the Captains group get away and set up defenses in a stockade they find. They also find Ben Gunn, a half-crazy Englishman, who tells them that he had already found the treasure and moved it, but he will help them get it if he can return with them.

The pirates had left guards on the ship and the challenge is to hold off the pirates, who out number them, regain control of the ship, and find, move and load the treasure.

A key character is Jim who in the beginning is a timid older child on the verge of manhood, but by the end has matured incredibly. He outwits the pirates, takes control of the ship and saves lives.

The plot is a challenging search for treasure exploring desires, and greed within all the characters. Jim and the captain’s crew gain procession of the treasure. For the pirates, their greed proves irrational and futile and they lose everything.  

Quotes  from Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

“Sir, with no intention to take offence, I deny your right to put words into my mouth.” 

“Fifteen men on the Dead Man's Chest Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum! Drink and the devil had done for the rest Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!” 

“Seaward ho! Hang the treasure! It's the glory of the sea that has turned my head.” 

“Dead men don't bite” 

“If it comes to a swinging, swing all, say I.” 

The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean.