Topics for Discussion

1. Long John Silver plots a mutiny aboard the Hispaniola, murders a man in cold blood, and betrays his comrades. He is also cheerful, personable, and friendly to Jim. Why does Stevenson create such a likeable villain?

2. Why does Stevenson take so long to get the voyage of the Hispaniola underway? The brig does not leave Bristol until chapter 10. How does Stevenson use the early chapters to set the stage for Jim’s adventures?

3. Jim leaves the Admiral Benbow Inn after his father’s death and joins Doctor Livesey and Squire Trelawney. How do these two men function as surrogate father figures? Is Long John Silver a father figure, as well?

4. Squire Trelawney is depicted as overly talkative and a poor judge of character who prefers Long John Silver to Captain Smollett. What are the consequences of the squire’s turning over the hiring of the crew to Silver?

5. Stevenson’s original title for his novel was The Sea Cook. Is Treasure Island a better title? Why or why not?

6. Although most of the story is narrated by Jim, Doctor Livesey narrates three chapters. Why do you think Stevenson makes this narrative shift?

7. From the beginning of the story, when Jim and his mother ransack the dead pirate’s chest, to Squire Trelawney’s impulsive decision to sail in search of the buried treasure, greed and the quest for money serve as primary motivations in Stevenson’s plot. What does Stevenson suggest about this motive? Why is it appropriate that the buried treasure contains coins from throughout the world?

8. Are skill, energy and heroic endeavor necessarily linked with moral goodness in Treasure Island? Do you empathize with Silver, the presumed villain, and feel impatient at times with the “good” Characters? Does the ending of the story reestablish a conventional moral framework?

9. Are stories about pirates, adventure, and buried treasure still relevant today? Why does Stevenson’s story retain its appeal for contemporary readers? Is it an adult’s story or a children’s story?

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.