Treasure Island


Key Quotes

1. “Spoil foc’s’le hands, make devils.”—chapter 10

This belief is expressed by Captain Smollett to Dr. Livesey in regard to Trelawney’s kind excesses with the crew of the Hispaniola. Trelawney is happy to celebrate the men’s birthdays, dole out double grog, and spoil them with apples aplenty. Smollett asserts that such excesses will spoil the crew, which, to perform its duty, ought to maintain a sense of discipline, asceticism and renunciation. The quote essentially means that spoiled men soon enough become like devils. The wisdom of the line is borne out by events that transpire on the cruise: Without renouncing the pleasures of the belly, the few honest men on the crew are unable to renounce the wickedness of John Silver. Already corrupted by Trelawney’s laxity, they are one short push (provided by Silver) from turning into mutinous dogs.

2. “Mutiny, it was plain, hung over us like a thundercloud.”—chapter 13

This observation is made by Jim in his narrative after discovering Silver’s actual intentions and noticing the agitation of the crew. With the anchoring of the ship, the disgruntled pirates are barely able to contain themselves and follow orders. Just as a weather cloud will break and unleash a torrent of rain, so too does Jim realize that the pirates will not hold back for much longer.

3. “You’re too much of the born favorite for me.”—chapter 33

This line is spoken by Captain Smollett to Jim after the boy and Silver are brought to Ben’s cave. It is Smollett’s way of forgiving Jim for abandoning the stockade, of praising him and his luck, and of acknowledging their differences. Smollett is an old man for whom luck has seemingly run most of its course. Jim is new to the world and appears to have Lady Luck’s interests at heart, which is good enough for him.

4. “Come back to my duty, sir.”—chapter 33

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