Discuss economic conditions of reality in Treasure Island.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The most basic economic condition present lies in the almost cliched notion of "search for buried treasure."  This simplistic idea reveals much in way of economics.  The first economic condition revealed is a capitalist notion of the good.  There is money or treasure to be made or found, and a few privatized individuals are all that are needed to find it.  Along these lines, the search for treasure, the coveting of wealth, is an individualistic and self- interested process.  Hawkins, Livesey, and Trelawney do not seek to appropriate the treasure for social means.  They do not commence their jouney for the desire of a collective redistribution of wealth. The coveting and seeking of money or profit is an individualistic quest with an individualistic end.  The idea of something being "stolen" is also a self- interested, capitalist concept.  The fact that there is treasure protected by some, denied to others, and forcefully taken by others are all reflections of a capitalist configuration whereby wealth is the primary means of communication and conflict.  Pirates and sailors do battle in Stevenson's work for wealth and ownership of the means of production, in this case wealth and treasure.  Finally, the fact that "buried treasure" holds so much importance for everyone in the novel reflects an economic condition whereby money and profit seem to control the wills and minds of individuals.  It is evident that the characters in the story seem to not mind being controlled by money, treasure, and riches.  In fact, they seem to enjoy it.  Here, there is a major economic condition being identified whereby people are at the whim of "things" and the appropriation of "things" controls how individuals perceive themselves, others, and their own sense of reality.  These are the basic economic conditions of reality in Stevenson's work.

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