Ideas for Reports and Papers

1. The idea for Treasure Island apparently grew from a treasure map that Stevenson drew for his stepson, Lloyd Osbourne, during a damp, cool summer in Scotland. Check a biography of Stevenson to find out more about how the story was composed and where it was first published.

2. The theme of the “double” is an important one in Stevenson’s fiction, with Long John Silver’s dual nature obviously related to the strange double life of the protagonist of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Compare these two books. Why do you think Stevenson was so attracted to the ambiguity of good and evil?

3. The plot of Treasure Island bears some resemblance to that of another Stevenson novel, Kidnapped, in which young David Balfour escapes his captors and travels across Scotland. Compare David Balfour and Jim Hawkins as youthful protagonists.

4. Why is it important to Stevenson’s plot that most of the adventure take place on a remote island in the West Indies, far from England or Scotland? What are the advantages of a remote, exotic Setting for adventure or romance?

5. Jim learns of the mutiny while hidden in an apple barrel, meets Ben Gunn after sneaking ashore without permission, and recovers the brig after abandoning his friends in a time of great danger. How credible are Jim’s exploits? Is he too much fortune’s favorite, as Captain Smollett observes?

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