Treasure Island



Admired by novelists and readers for years, Robert Louis Stevenson has become one of the most translated authors in the world. Born in Scotland in 1850, Stevenson was raised by strict Presbyterian parents. Though firmly fixed in their Protestant view of the world, they did not apply the rigid Calvinism of their religion to the upbringing of their son. In fact, Robert was encouraged to pursue the creative outlet he found in writing tales, and by the age of 21, when Robert had decided make his career in letters, his parents did not protest.

His works are varied, and it is perhaps one of his most popular works, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, that deals best with the subject of morality and human nature. Another and earlier work, however, showed that Stevenson had an eye for and an appreciation of human nature: Treasure Island.

Stevenson’s first major success as a writer, Treasure Island was originally published as a serial in Young Folks, a children’s magazine. The story was the cultivated product of material from other pirate tales, from real-life pirates, places and other men, and from Stevenson’s own imagination. Along with the young hero Jim Hawkins, the novel introduced the world to one of the most memorable and iconic characters ever created: Long John Silver.

Silver is a masterful creation of Stevenson’s. Like the contradictory Jekyll, whose other self is the manifestly monstrous Hyde, Silver is seemingly two men in one. Introduced to the reader as a happy, friendly, savvy, witty, all-around affable and charming fellow, Silver is suddenly revealed midway through the narrative to be a duplicitous, scheming, marauding, mutinous, treacherous, murderous pirate who does not flinch at stabbing a man in the back. Either Silver is a good actor (which he certainly is), or he is one of the most complex villains created since Shakespeare’s Iago, another witty, charming, fiendishly funny rogue.

While Silver may be a likeble pirate (if accepted on his own terms), he...

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Essays About Treasure Island