Study Guide

Treasure Island

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Treasure Island Summary

Summary (Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Treasure Island

Treasure Island was first a map that Stevenson drew for the amusement of his stepson. The map proved so interesting that he created a story to go along with it, reading installments of the story to his family as he finished them. Stevenson’s father, who happened to be visiting on the day of one of those readings, became so attracted to the story that he made plot suggestions, at least two of which were followed (the contents of Billy Bones’s trunk and Jim Hawkins in the apple barrel).

The novel was published in serial form in a boys’ magazine, Young Folks, and it follows the format of the standard boys’ adventure novel: A boy is drawn into a fantastic, dangerous adventure, but through courage, integrity, and the help of a heroic mentor, he comes through the adventure unscathed, wiser, and more mature.

Stevenson, however, improvises on this theme. His hero, Jim Hawkins, gets hold of a map made by a famous pirate, Captain Flint, to show the location of a large treasure that Flint had buried. Hawkins enlists the aid of two adult friends to help him find the treasure. So far, Stevenson has established a plucky boy and possibly heroic mentors. The adults, however, have bad judgment in hiring crew for the voyage to Treasure Island, and there are dangerous conflicts among crew and passengers once the island is reached. Those conflicts are resolved partly by luck, partly by shrewdness, and partly by stupidity and superstition. The treasure is finally retrieved, but in a way no one had anticipated. The boy comes through the adventure unscathed, but the major villain is not brought to justice, and the boy’s last words in the novel areOxen and wain-ropes would not bring me back again to that accursed island; and the worst dreams that ever I have are when I hear the surf booming about its coasts, or start upright in bed, with the sharp voice of Captain Flint [the parrot of the ship’s cook] still ringing in my ears: “Pieces of eight! pieces of eight!”

The story does not end, then, with the voice of newly found wisdom. Though Treasure Island is a standard boys’ adventure on first glance, on second glance its themes and attitudes are more adult than juvenile.

Treasure Island was originally published as The Sea Cook, and the original title shows how big a part Long John Silver, the ship’s cook, plays in the story. Jim Hawkins is the protagonist, but, as the original title suggests, Silver is perhaps the most important character in the story. He is certainly the most complex and the most fully realized character. In this, his first novel, Stevenson creates what may be his most memorable character in Long John Silver. The complexity of this character foreshadows Stevenson’s techniques and concerns in most of his fiction.

Treasure Island Summary (Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

One day a strange seaman, Bill Bones, arrives at the Admiral Benbow, the inn owned by young Jim Hawkins’s father. Looking for lodgings, Bones comes plodding up to the inn door, where he stands for a time, looking around Black Hill Cove. Jim hears him singing snatches of an old sea song: “Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest, Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum.” When Bones learns from Jim’s father that the inn is a quiet one with little trade, he declares it just the berth for an old seaman. From that time, the strange guest—a retired captain, he calls himself—keeps watch on the coast and the land road by day and drinks freely in the taproom of the inn at night. There he sings and swears great oaths while he tells fearsome tales of the Spanish Main. Bones is wary of all visiting seamen, and he pays Jim to be on the lookout for a one-legged sailor in particular. Bones is so terrible in his speech and manners that Jim’s father, a sick man, never has the courage to ask him for payment after the one he made the day he came to the inn. He stays on without ever clinking another coin into the inn’s till for his meals and lodging.

The one-legged sailor never comes to the inn, but another seaman named Black Dog does. The two men fight in the inn parlor, to the terror of Jim and his mother, before Bones chases his visitor up the road and out of sight. When he comes back to the inn, he falls down in a fit. Dr. Livesey, who has come to the inn to attend to Jim’s father, cautions Bones to contain himself and drink less.

Jim’s father dies soon afterward. On the day of the funeral, a deformed blind man named Pew taps his way up to the door of the Admiral Benbow and forces Jim to lead him to the captain. Bill Bones is so terrified when the blind man gives him the Black Spot, the pirates’ death notice, that he has a stroke and dies. Because Bones died owing them money, Jim and his mother take the keys to the dead man’s sea chest from his pocket and open the chest. As they are examining the contents, they hear the tapping of the blind man’s stick as he approaches on the road. Jim quickly pockets an oilskin packet from the chest, and he and his mother leave hurriedly by the back door of the inn as a gang of men breaks in to search for Bones’s chest. Mounted revenue officers then arrive and scatter the gang; Pew is trampled to death by the charging horses.

Jim takes the packet from the chest to Dr. Livesey and Squire Trelawney. The three discover that it contains a map locating the hidden treasure of the bloody buccaneer Captain Flint. Squire Trelawney is intrigued and decides to outfit a ship in which to sail after the treasure. The doctor throws in his lot, and they invite Jim to come along as cabin boy. In Bristol, Trelawney purchases a schooner, the Hispaniola, and hires Long John Silver to be the ship’s cook. Silver promises to supply a crew. When Jim arrives in Bristol and meets Silver, he finds that the sailor has only one leg. He is alarmed when he sees Black Dog again at the inn operated by Silver, but Silver’s smooth talk quiets Jim’s suspicions.

After the Hispaniola sets sail, Captain Smollett, hired by Squire Trelawney to command the ship, expresses his dislike of the first mate and the crew and complains that Silver has more real authority with the crew than he does. One night, Jim, having fallen into a barrel while reaching for an apple, overhears Silver discussing mutiny with members of the crew. Before Jim has a chance to reveal the plot to his friends, the island where the treasure lies is sighted.

The prospects of treasure on the island cause the disloyal members of the crew to pay little attention to Captain Smollett’s orders; even the loyal ones are hard to manage. Silver shrewdly keeps his party under control. The captain wisely allows part of the crew to go ashore; Jim smuggles himself along in order to spy on Silver and the men on the island. Ashore, Silver kills two of the crew who refuse to join the mutineers. Jim, alone, meets Ben Gunn, who was with Captain Flint when the treasure was buried. Gunn tells Jim that he has been marooned on the island for three years.

While Jim is ashore, Dr. Livesey goes to the island and finds Captain Flint’s stockade. When he hears the scream of one of the crewmen being murdered by Silver, he returns to the Hispaniola, where it is decided that the honest men will move to the fort within the stockade. Several dangerous trips in a small, overloaded boat complete the move. During the last trip, the mutineers aboard the ship ready the ship’s cannon for action, and Squire Trelawney shoots one seaman from the boat. In the meantime, the mutineers on the island see what is afoot and make efforts to keep Jim’s friends from occupying the stockade. Squire Trelawney and his party take their posts in the fort after they have repulsed the enemy. The mutineers on the Hispaniola fire one cannon shot into the stockade, but the attack does little damage.

After leaving Ben Gunn, the marooned seaman, Jim makes his way to the stockade. The Hispaniola now flies the Jolly Roger, the pirate flag decorated with skull and crossbones. Carrying a flag of truce, Silver approaches the stockade and offers to parley. After he is admitted by the defenders, he demands the treasure map in exchange for the safe return of Squire Trelawney’s party to England. Captain Smollett will concede nothing, and Silver returns to his men in a rage as the stockade party prepares for the coming battle. A group of the pirates attacks the stockade from two sides, swarming over the paling and engaging the defenders in hand-to-hand combat. In the close fighting, the pirates are reduced to one man, who flees back to his gang in the jungle. The loyal party is reduced to Squire Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, Captain Smollett, and Jim.

During the lull after the battle, Jim sneaks off and borrows Ben Gunn’s homemade boat. He rows out to the Hispaniola under cover of darkness and cuts the anchor line, setting the schooner adrift. In trying to return to the island, he is caught offshore by coastal currents, and when daylight comes, he can see that the Hispaniola, like his own small boat, is drifting aimlessly—and the large ship is bearing down on him. Just before Ben Gunn’s little boat is smashed, Jim manages to jump from it to the bowsprit of the Hispaniola. He finds himself on board alone with one of the pirates, Israel Hands, who has been wounded in a fight with another pirate. Jim takes command and proceeds to beach the ship. Pursued by Hands, he climbs the mast quickly, just avoiding being struck by a knife thrown by the pirate. Jim has time to prime and reload his pistols, and he shoots Hands after being pinned to the mast by another thrown knife that has struck him in the shoulder.

Jim removes the knife from his shoulder, makes the ship safe by removing the sails, and returns to the stockade at night, only to find it abandoned by his friends and now in the hands of the pirates. When Silver’s parrot draws attention to the boy’s presence, the pirates capture him. Dissatisfied with the buccaneer’s methods of gaining the treasure, Silver’s men are grumbling. One attempts to kill Jim, who has bragged to them of his exploits on behalf of his friends. Silver, however, for reasons of his own, takes the boy’s side and swears that he also would take the part of Squire Trelawney. Silver’s disaffected mates give him the Black Spot and depose him as their chief, but the pirate leader talks his way out of his difficulty by showing them, to Jim’s amazement and to their delight, Captain Flint’s map of Treasure Island.

Dr. Livesey arrives at the stockade under a flag of truce to provide medical care to the wounded pirates. He learns from Jim that Silver saved the boy’s life, and Jim hears, to his mystification, that the doctor gave Captain Flint’s map to Silver. Following the directions on the map, the pirates go to find the treasure. As they approach the hiding place, they hear a high voice singing the pirate chantey, “Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum.” The voice also speaks the last words of Captain Flint. The men are terrified until Silver recognizes Ben Gunn’s voice. Then the pirates find the treasure cache opened and the treasure gone. When they uncover only a broken pick and some boards, they turn on Silver and Jim. At that moment, Jim’s friends, with Ben Gunn, arrive to rescue the boy.

Jim then learns what has transpired. Early in his stay on the island, Ben Gunn had discovered the treasure and carried it to his cave. After Dr. Livesey learned this from Gunn, Squire Trelawney’s party abandoned the stockade, and Dr. Livesey gave the useless map to Silver. Jim’s friends moved to Gunn’s safe and well-provisioned quarters.

The Hispaniola having been floated by a tide, the group is able to leave Treasure Island, abandoning there three escaped pirates. They sail to a West Indies port, where, with the connivance of Ben Gunn, John Silver escapes the ship with a bag of coins. After taking on a full crew, the schooner sails back to Bristol, where the survivors of the adventure divide the treasure among them.

Treasure Island Overview

Treasure Island is a classic adventure story, featuring an ordinary boy, Jim Hawkins, who is transported to a treacherous world of...

(The entire section is 98 words.)

Treasure Island Summary

Part 1—The Old Buccaneer Treasure Island is narrated by Jim Hawkins, the son of the owners of the inn, the Admiral Benbow. In the...

(The entire section is 1673 words.)

Treasure Island Chapter Summaries

Chapter 1 Summary

Treasure Island begins as a scarred old pirate in ragged clothes appears at the Admiral Benbow Inn, a lonely stopping place on the coast of England. He orders a glass of rum and, after drinking it, introduces himself as “the captain” and says he plans to stay awhile. He takes his luggage—a heavy trunk—up to his room and makes himself at home.

The narrator of the story is a boy named Jim Hawkins, whose father owns the Admiral Benbow. Jim is fascinated by his father's new guest, especially after the captain asks him to watch out for “a seafaring man with one leg.” For this task, Jim receives payment of a fourpenny coin every month.

Every morning, the captain climbs up on some rocks and...

(The entire section is 489 words.)

Chapter 2 Summary

One day in the coldest part of winter, soon after his standoff with the doctor, the captain takes his usual walk to the rocks overlooking the sea. Jim’s mother is busy caring for Jim’s father, who is still sick. Because of this, Jim has to do much of the work of running the inn and greeting customers.

As Jim is setting the breakfast table, a pale man—a seafaring type—enters the inn. He carries a short, curved sword called a cutlass, and two fingers are missing from one of his hands. He asks Jim if a man named Bill is staying at the Admiral Benbow. Jim says he does not know anyone named Bill, but then the stranger describes the captain. Jim explains that the captain takes a walk every day and that he should be...

(The entire section is 420 words.)

Chapter 3 Summary

Around noon, Jim checks on Billy Bones in his room. Billy begs for rum, saying that he has traveled through places with horrible diseases, “and I lived on rum. It’s been meat and drink, and man and wife, to me.” He shows Jim how his hands are shaking and promises to pay a gold coin for just one glass. Jim refuses the coin, saying he wants no money except what his father is owed. However, he agrees to bring a single glass of rum and no more.

After drinking, Billy tries to get up and leave, but he finds that he is too weak. He explains that his former crew, who sailed with a famous pirate named Captain Flint, wants his old sea-chest. Jim glances curiously at the chest, which, as far as he knows, has not been opened...

(The entire section is 501 words.)

Chapter 4 Summary

Now that Billy is dead, Jim tells his mother everything he knows about the old pirate. They are in a difficult situation: they need money to pay for Billy’s expenses over the past few months, but if they disturb the old pirate’s things, they may anger the murderous men of his crew. Jim cannot go get help and leave his mother alone, so the two of them run to the village together.

In the village, Jim's mother begs all the men to come with her to the inn and protect her from Billy’s old crew while she searches his chest for money. The men refuse. They have heard of the pirate Captain Flint, and they are terrified of his crew’s cruelty. Angry, Jim's mother announces that she and her son will go back alone with no...

(The entire section is 513 words.)

Chapter 5 Summary

Jim is terrified of the pirates, but he is also curious about what they will do. He climbs out of his hiding place and, concealing himself in fog and bushes, watches as eight or nine men approach the Admiral Benbow. Among them is the blind man who brought Billy the summons. The other men call him Pew and treat him as their leader. He orders some of them to enter the inn while he waits outside.

Moments later, one of the men shouts out the window that Bill is dead. Pew swears at him for stopping work to talk about this unimportant event. He commands the men to search Bill’s body and open the sea-chest. Soon one of the men throws open an upstairs window so hard he breaks it. He shouts that the chest has already been...

(The entire section is 455 words.)

Chapter 6 Summary

Jim and Mr. Dance find Dr. Livesey at the home of a rich squire named Mr. Trelawney. As Mr. Dance tells the story of Jim's adventure with Captain Flint’s crew, the doctor and his friend listen with interest. The men cheer when they hear about Jim’s mother’s courage, and they congratulate Mr. Dance for his bravery as well.

Mr. Dance is soon sent away, but Jim is invited to stay for dinner. Dr. Livesey takes the packet of papers from Jim, but he does not open it right away. Instead he asks Mr. Trelawney, who has traveled a great deal, what he knows of Captain Flint. Mr. Trelawney explains that Flint was a brutal pirate; he made Blackbeard look like “a child.” The doctor asks if Flint had money. Mr. Trelawney...

(The entire section is 415 words.)

Chapter 7 Summary

It takes several weeks to prepare for the journey. Jim stays with Mr. Trelawney’s gardener, Redruth, while the adults make the plans. Jim spends his days daydreaming about the upcoming voyage, thinking of the island and the treasure he will find there. He imagines fights with “savages” and wild animals, but his wildest dreams are not nearly as “strange and tragic” as the adventures that he will actually face before his story ends.

One day Jim and Redruth receive a letter from Mr. Trelawney, who announces that he has bought a ship, the Hispaniola, and hired a crew. Everything is ready, and the voyage will begin as soon as Jim, Redruth, and Dr. Livesey arrive. Mr. Trelawney explains that he has had a...

(The entire section is 439 words.)

Chapter 8 Summary

Jim eats breakfast, and then Mr. Trelawney gives him a note to take to the ship's cook, Long John Silver, at an inn called the Spy-glass. Jim is thrilled at this errand, which gives him a chance to look around town and see the ships. However, he is a bit worried about Long John Silver. What if he is the one-legged pirate Billy always watched for back at the Admiral Benbow?

Jim’s worries disappear when he sees Long John Silver. Silver cannot be a pirate. He is clean, cheerful, and otherwise the complete opposite of the other members of Captain Flint’s crew. Jim enters the inn and delivers a note—and as he does this, one of the customers dashes out the door. Jim recognizes the man as Black Dog, Billy’s old...

(The entire section is 419 words.)

Chapter 9 Summary

Jim boards the Hispaniola and soon meets the captain, Captain Smollett, who marches into Mr. Trelawney’s cabin and announces that he does not like the voyage or the crew—or Mr. Trelawney himself. Mr. Trelawney grows offended and almost fires the captain on the spot, but Dr. Livesey stops him. Calmly, the doctor asks the captain to explain what is bothering him.

The captain launches into a long list of complaints about the voyage and the crew. He says that he was hired with the understanding that the goal of the journey was secret. Normally he would not mind this—but the crewmen all know that they are searching for buried treasure. It bothers Captain Smollett that the crew was trusted when he was not, and...

(The entire section is 464 words.)

Chapter 10 Summary

The crew spends the whole night preparing to leave on the morning tide. Jim works twice as hard as he has ever worked in his life, but he does not go to sleep when the ship sets sail. Instead he stays on deck and watches the sailors, enjoying the feeling of adventure. As the ship moves away from shore, Long John Silver begins to sing:

Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest—

Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum.

The rest of the crew joins in, and for a moment Jim has the creepy feeling that he can hear Billy singing along.

The voyage goes well. The Hispaniola turns out to be a wonderful ship, and the crew is made up of excellent...

(The entire section is 426 words.)

Chapter 11 Summary

From inside the apple barrel, Jim overhears Long John Silver talking to one of the sailors, a young man named Dick. Silver explains that he once belonged to Captain Flint's crew, as did most of the sailors on the Hispaniola. According to Silver, it is wonderful to be a “gentleman of fortune”—a pirate. Pirates get rich, and if they are smart, they can live long, respectable lives. After he leads the crew of this voyage to mutiny, Silver himself will have so much money that he will be able to retire and live in comfort until he dies. Dick asks a few questions and, after thinking it over, agrees to go along with Silver’s plan.

Inside the barrel, Jim is shocked. He knows that he needs to warn the captain...

(The entire section is 472 words.)

Chapter 12 Summary

Everyone rushes up on deck to see the land. Jim looks out over a little island that has just appeared in the fog, the tip of its tallest hill still hidden among clouds. The view is beautiful, but his mind is full of the evil plot he has just heard. This contrast makes him feel like he is stuck in a strange dream.

Captain Smollett asks the men if anyone knows the island, and Long John Silver says that he does. He appears confident—not at all like he is hiding anything—as he explains that he stopped at this island once in the past, when he was sailing on a trading ship. He describes where to anchor the Hispaniola, and the captain lets him look at a map of the landscape. Jim watches Silver carefully during...

(The entire section is 420 words.)

Chapter 13 Summary

The next morning, the weather is hot and gloomy, and the island looks gray and sad. Several men go ashore to do some work, and Jim goes along. He is surprised at the way they act. On the journey to the island, they were cheerful and quick to follow commands. Today, they act lazy and avoid their duties. They all look angry and resentful, and anyone can see that they might stage their mutiny soon.

Only Long John Silver is still pretending to be a good crewman. He quickly obeys every command, and he sings cheerfully whenever he is not working—almost as if he is trying to make it appear that nothing is wrong. His attitude prevents the pirates from beginning their fight, but it is also a bit unnerving for Jim and his...

(The entire section is 436 words.)

Chapter 14 Summary

Proud of himself for giving the pirates “the slip,” Jim sets out to explore the island. It is unlike any other place he has ever seen, and his interest in the landscape soon drives Long John Silver and the other mutineers out of his mind. Jim hikes through marshes and over hills. He sees birds and snakes. One of the snakes makes a strange sound—but Jim does not learn until long afterward that this is the rattlesnake’s way of giving a warning before it strikes.

When Jim sees Long John Silver and another crewman walking together, he remembers that he needs to find out what the pirates are planning. He sneaks up on the men and listens to their conversation. Silver’s companion is a man named Tom, who turns out to...

(The entire section is 428 words.)

Chapter 15 Summary

Jim is not sure who or what is hiding in the trees. He thinks it might be a cannibal or a monster, so he turns back toward the pirates, reasoning that a danger he understands is better than one he does not. The mysterious figure follows Jim, hiding behind one tree after another. He catches several more glimpses of it and becomes sure that it is a human being. He also remembers that he is carrying a pistol. This makes him feel a bit more confident, so he decides to approach the strange person.

The person turns out to be a former sailor, Ben Gunn, who was marooned—left alone to fend for himself or die—on the island three years ago. Ben used to be a member of Captain Flint’s crew, so he knew that Flint had buried...

(The entire section is 416 words.)

Chapter 16 Summary

At this point, the story leaves Jim Hawkins behind for a little while. Dr. Livesey takes over the narration and explains what happens on the Hispaniola while Jim is gone.

The captain strongly considers launching an attack on the six mutineers who are still on board the ship. His men would probably win because they control the weapons, and because they have the advantage of surprise. However, there is no wind, so the captain’s men have no chance of sailing away after their victory. Also, Captain Smollett and his friends soon learn that Jim Hawkins has left the ship. They cannot leave Jim behind, so they watch and wait instead.

After a while, Dr. Livesey and one of Mr. Trelawney’s friends, Hunter,...

(The entire section is 512 words.)

Chapter 17 Summary

For Dr. Livesey and his friends, the second trip to shore is much harder. Five men have to ride in a small boat with a great deal of food and ammunition. The boat is so overloaded that it can hardly stay afloat. To make matters worse, the tide is going out, so it is very hard to make progress toward shore. The doctor, who is controlling the rudder, finds that he has to steer at a right angle to the direction he wants to go; if he did not, the boat would get swamped.

As the men struggle with their overloaded boat, they suddenly realize that they have made a serious mistake. They took or destroyed all of the weapons that could easily be moved ashore, but in their hurried preparations, they did not destroy the ammunition...

(The entire section is 450 words.)

Chapter 18 Summary

The pirates chase Dr. Livesey and the rest of Captain Smollett’s men through the wooded parts of the island. The captain, who is not a very good shot, gives his musket to Mr. Trelawney, whose own weapon is soaked with seawater. Just as they reach the stockade, Mr. Trelawney and Dr. Livesey shoot at their pursuers. One of these shots kills a man, and the other pirates run for cover in the trees. From there, the pirates shoot Redruth, Mr. Trelawney’s friend and servant from home. Dr. Livesey shoots again, and the pirates flee.

It is clear at once that Redruth will die of his wound. Dr. Livesey does his best to make the man comfortable, and Redruth says that he wishes he had had the chance to shoot a pirate before...

(The entire section is 464 words.)

Chapter 19 Summary

In chapter nineteen, Jim Hawkins takes over the story again. He tells what happens to him in the forest during his friends’ skirmish with the pirates. When he sees the Union Jack flying over the stockade, he thinks perhaps it belongs to the pirates. Ben declares this impossible and insists that only the captain’s men would raise the Union Jack. The mutineers would raise the Jolly Roger—“the black flag of piracy.”

Although he encourages Jim to rejoin his friends, Ben refuses to come along. He is not willing to put himself at the mercy of Captain Smollett until he has spoken personally to one of the leaders of the expedition. He begs Jim not to tell Long John Silver that there is another man on the island.

...

(The entire section is 469 words.)

Chapter 20 Summary

Accompanied by one other pirate, Long John Silver stands outside the stockade. A chilly fog swirls around their knees and obscures the view of the forest behind them. The captain peers outside, looking for signs of a surprise attack. He sends three men to strategic positions inside the house to keep watch. He orders everyone else to load muskets and stand ready.

With these preparations complete, Captain Smollett calls out to ask Long John Silver what he wants. Long John Silver—now calling himself Captain Silver—asks permission to come unarmed into the bunkhouse and speak. Captain Smollett says, “I have not the slightest desire to talk to you.” However, he adds that Silver will not be harmed if he wishes to...

(The entire section is 520 words.)

Chapter 21 Summary

After Long John Silver leaves, Captain Smollett comes inside and sees that everyone except Abraham Gray has disobeyed orders and left his post. The men were all so excited to hear what Silver said that they simply forgot to stay ready to fight. This makes the captain furious, and he shouts at them.

The men feel embarrassed as they get to work preparing the house for the upcoming battle. The captain orders Mr. Trelawney to move the fire outside so they will not have smoke in their eyes during the battle. He orders Jim, who has not yet had his breakfast, to eat. Finally, the captain considers how to arrange his defense.

After thinking a few moments, the captain places Mr. Trelawney and Abe Gray, the two best...

(The entire section is 505 words.)

Chapter 22 Summary

The pirates do not attack again right away, so the captain’s men work at cleaning the bunkhouse and tending the wounded. One pirate is not quite dead at the end of the battle, but he dies soon afterward. Hunter’s head wound kills him as well. Captain Smollett, however, survives. His wounds are not life threatening, but they are bad enough to prevent him from fighting and working for a long time.

When he has done what he can to care for the captain, Dr. Livesey straps on some pistols and strides off into the woods. Jim is sure he has gone to meet Ben Gunn. As Jim works at scouring pots and scrubbing blood stains in the house, he wishes that he, too, had a chance to go out walking in the forest.

Jim soon...

(The entire section is 415 words.)

Chapter 23 Summary

Ben Gunn’s little homemade boat is very hard to paddle, and Jim cannot easily steer it toward the Hispaniola. However, the tide is going in about the right direction. With a little effort, Jim manages to row and drift toward the ship. When he arrives, he bumps against the side and pushes himself along with his hands. Soon he finds the anchor rope, and he is about to cut it when he realizes that what he is doing is dangerous. Surely the taut rope is exerting force on the ship. If he cuts the rope now, the ship may swing around and knock Jim into the water.

Jim is about to abandon his whole plan when a breeze arises and loosens the rope for a moment. Reassured, Jim gets out a knife and saws through. The rope...

(The entire section is 424 words.)

Chapter 24 Summary

The next morning, Jim wakes up and finds that he is still in Ben’s little boat, drifting along the southwest edge of the island. Not far away, waves crash violently against the rocks. Strange monster-like creatures play among the waves. These, he learns later, are just harmless sea lions. However, right now he thinks they will surely eat him if he gets too close.

The sun is climbing in the sky, and Jim's need for water is already painful. He tries rowing, but the boat goes out of control. After some experimentation, he finds he can use his paddle like a rudder to ease the boat in the direction he wants to go. He does this, and soon he is making slow progress in the right direction.

After a while, Jim...

(The entire section is 415 words.)

Chapter 25 Summary

Jim climbs aboard the Hispaniola. The jib, which is swinging free, almost knocks him right back out again. Jim falls to his hands and knees and crawls around the deck, checking for pirates. He sees two of them, Israel Hands and a man in a red cap, sprawled on the deck, surrounded by spattered blood. At first Jim thinks both men are dead, but soon Hands wakes up and asks weakly for brandy.

The injured pirate does not seem to be a threat, so Jim makes his way downstairs into the cabin. Much of the furniture is broken, and mud from the island’s marshes is caked on the floors and walls. The doctor’s books are torn up, their pages probably used to light pipes.

When Jim goes into the cellar, he sees...

(The entire section is 479 words.)

Chapter 26 Summary

As Jim works to sail the ship, Hands lies still and watches. Eventually he asks for wine, saying that brandy is too strong for him in his current state of weakness. Jim can tell this is a lie, but he pretends to believe it. He runs downstairs, then tiptoes back up to watch what Hands does. Hands heaves himself across the deck, grabs a bloodstained knife, and hides it in his shirt. Jim resolves to stay out of Hands's reach.

When Jim brings the wine, Hands makes a show of mortal weakness. Playing along, Jim advises him to pray and prepare for death. Hands snarls at this, saying that the only way to live is by taking what one wants:

I never seen good come o’ goodness yet. Him as strikes first...

(The entire section is 467 words.)

Chapter 27 Summary

The beached ships leans out over the water. Jim is stuck on top of the mast, his injured shoulder pinned to the wood with a knife. He watches Hands’s body sink in the waves. For a long time, Jim thinks he is going to fall as well. He clings to the mast, afraid to move or pull the knife out.

After a while, Jim recovers his courage. He tries to pull out the knife and discovers that the wound is not deep; only a small flap of skin is pinned to the wood. He frees himself and climbs down into the ship. He binds his wound, pushes the red-capped man's body into the water, and lowers the smaller sails onto the deck. The main sail is too big for Jim to move, and it is dipping into the water. Unsure what else to do, he cuts it...

(The entire section is 410 words.)

Chapter 28 Summary

The pirates light a torch, and Jim sees his worst nightmare realized. Long John Silver and his men are in control of the stockade, along with all the food and drink the captain’s men brought to shore. Even worse, Jim sees no sign that the pirates are keeping prisoners. Could his friends all be dead?

Long John Silver tells Jim that he has spoken to Dr. Livesey, who called Jim an “ungrateful scamp.” Jim’s friends will not take him back after his desertion, so now he has no choice but to join the pirates.

Although this speech is grim, Jim is relieved to hear it. If his friends hate him, then at least they are still alive. He demands to know what is going on. Long John Silver explains that, after the...

(The entire section is 432 words.)

Chapter 29 Summary

The pirates’ council takes a long time. Jim watches the meeting through the window until the men return to the bunkhouse with a paper in their hands. They give it to Silver, who sees a black spot drawn on one side. Instead of showing fear, Silver examines the paper they used. When he discovers that they tore it out of a Bible, he begins to tease them—both for destroying a holy book, and for having such a book in the first place.

One of the men, George, demands that Silver turn the paper over and read the men’s judgment. Silver does so. “Deposed,” he says calmly. Then he teases George for his “pretty” handwriting and predicts that the men will elect him captain next.

In spite of his joking,...

(The entire section is 409 words.)

Chapter 30 Summary

In the morning, Dr. Livesey comes to the stockade to offer the pirates medical attention. Silver announces that he is holding Jim captive. The doctor seems shocked at this, but he keeps calm as he treats the pirates for their various illnesses and injuries. He says that it is his duty to keep the mutineers alive “for the gallows.” The men grumble at this, but they take their medicine “more like charity schoolchildren than blood-guilty mutineers and pirates.”

When the doctor finishes treating the pirates, he demands the chance to speak with Jim alone. All the men except Silver shout, “No!” Silver, however, silences them and says that they must, in this case, do as the doctor wishes. Silver asks for Jim’s...

(The entire section is 484 words.)

Chapter 31 Summary

After Dr. Livesey leaves, Long John Silver thanks Jim for not running away. They both know that Silver’s men might have killed him if Jim had disappeared. “If I saved your life, you saved mine; and I’ll not forget it,” Silver says.

Jim and Silver join the five remaining pirates for breakfast. While he eats, Jim marvels at the men’s general wastefulness and lawlessness. They burn up all their firewood in one huge fire, and they cook far more food than anyone can eat, tossing the leftovers into the flames at the end of the meal.

After breakfast, Long John Silver congratulates his men for choosing to keep him as captain. He explains the following plan: they will find the treasure, locate the...

(The entire section is 472 words.)

Chapter 32 Summary

When Jim and the pirates reach the top of Spy-glass hill, they sit down to rest. Silver studies his compass and points out the tall tree that is marked on the map. However, nobody moves to follow the next step of the instructions. They sit gloomily, talking about death.

Suddenly Jim and the pirates hear a voice among the trees, singing the pirate's song:

Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest—

Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!

Jim, who does not believe in ghosts, is astounded at how much this terrifies the pirates. They are completely convinced that the singer is Captain Flint, back from the dead, haunting his treasure. Even Silver...

(The entire section is 447 words.)

Chapter 33 Summary

The pirates stand dumbstruck, staring at the empty boxes. Long John Silver realizes that they will soon turn on him. He hands Jim a pistol and moves into position for a fight. Jim is glad to have a gun but disgusted at the way Silver’s loyalties change from moment to moment. “So you’ve changed sides again,” Jim mutters.

The other pirates leap into the hole that once held the treasure. Digging with their hands, they unearth a single two-guinea coin that has been left behind. They pass it around, shaking it angrily at Silver. They are furious—but they are also afraid to fight. George urges the others to attack; after all, they are only facing an “old cripple” and a “cub.”

At this moment,...

(The entire section is 604 words.)

Chapter 34 Summary

The next morning, Jim and his friends get up early and begin loading the treasure onto the Hispaniola. The pile of gold is so enormous that it takes several days to carry it all to shore and ferry it to the ship. During this period, Jim and his friends occasionally hear the three remaining pirates shouting in drunkenness or shooting muskets at goats. The doctor posts a sentry to keep watch, but the pirates never attack. It seems they are tired of fighting.

After careful discussion, it is decided that the pirates must be marooned on Treasure Island. Nobody has the strength to fight anymore, and nobody is willing to risk another mutiny. Long John Silver, in particular, argues that his former crew cannot be...

(The entire section is 489 words.)