Summary (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
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...
(The entire section is 480 words.)
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Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
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...
(The entire section is 1677 words.)
Treasure Island is a classic adventure story, featuring an ordinary boy, Jim Hawkins, who is transported to a treacherous world of pirates and buried treasure. Jim's adventures begin when he and his mother discover a pirate map in the chest of Billy Bones, a guest at their lodging-house. Jim's experiences on the ship Hispaniola and on Treasure Island test his resourcefulness and teach him important lessons about loyalty and physical courage. Perhaps his most important lesson grows out of his relationship with the one-legged pirate, Long John Silver—a lesson about the moral ambiguity of good and evil.
(The entire section is 98 words.)
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 first pages, Billy Bones, a mysterious and ragged old seaman, appears at the doorstep of the inn, dragging a large sea chest. Bones decides to stay at the inn and asks Hawkins to warn him if he ever sees a one-legged man.
One day, while visiting Hawkins’ father whose health has deteriorated, Dr. Livesey, local doctor and magistrate, inadvertently disregards Bones’ demand for silence in the inn. Despite Bones’ physical threats, Dr. Livesey calmly stands up to the old seafarer and even threatens to put him out of town if he hears of any more disturbances.
Bones dies by the end of this section; Hawkins discovers the map of buried treasure in Bones’ sea chest and shares it with Livesey; and the two men, along with Squire Trelawney, begin their search for the buried treasure.
Part 2—The Sea Cook
Hawkins meets Livesey and Trelawney in Bristol, where a ship, the Hispaniola, has been purchased. Here Hawkins meets Long John Silver, a seaman with just one leg. Although Hawkins remembers Billy Bones’ warning, Hawkins finds himself unconcerned about Silver, who puts on a show of gentlemanly manners, poise, and confidence.
Silver is hired as the sea cook for the Hispaniola; and once the voyage gets under way the majority of the pirate sea hands look to...
(The entire section is 1673 words.)
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 looks out at the sea. Every night, he sits in a corner at the inn drinking rum. Usually he refuses to speak or answer questions, but when he gets drunk he sometimes grows talkative. On such occasions he tells scary stories about his adventures at sea, or he sings his favorite song:
Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest—
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest—
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!
The old pirate terrifies the simple country people who live in the local village, but they seem to enjoy the excitement. They visit the inn often to listen to his songs and stories. When he gets drunk, he sometimes demands that people sing with him, and they sing “for dear life,” certain he will murder them if they do not obey. To Jim’s surprise, some of the villagers come back for this experience again and again.
Unfortunately, the captain does not pay his bills at the Admiral Benbow. Now and then, Jim’s father asks timidly for money, but the captain refuses to give him any. Jim’s father struggles to pay his bills, and he begins to worry a great deal. Soon he grows very sick.
The town doctor, Dr. Livesey, sometimes visits the inn to care for Jim’s father. One night the doctor sits down in the parlor with the other guests. The captain, who happens to be in one of his drunken moods, waves a hand to let everyone know that he wants them to be quiet. Everyone obeys except Dr. Livesey, who loudly continues his conversation.
This makes the captain angry. He orders the doctor to quiet down, but Dr. Livesey refuses....
(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 back soon.
The stranger waits anxiously at the door of the inn, his mood so tense that Jim begins to worry that something is wrong. When they see the captain coming, the stranger grabs Jim and hides with him in a corner of the room, saying, “We’ll give Bill a little surprise.” However, he does not act like an old friend playing a joke. He looks scared and shifty, and he loosens his cutlass in its sheath. All of this scares Jim.
When the captain sees the stranger, he gasps and says “Black Dog!” The captain is clearly wary of Black Dog, but the two men sit down to talk, sending Jim out of the room. Moments later, they erupt into shouts. Running back into the room, Jim sees them fighting with their cutlasses. The captain chases Black Dog away and then collapses, unconscious, on the floor.
Jim and his mother try to help the captain, but they cannot move him, wake him up, or get him to drink anything. They are beginning to panic when Dr. Livesey arrives, intending to check on Jim’s father. The doctor examines the captain and sees his name, Billy Bones, tattooed on his arm. The doctor says that Billy has had a stroke. With Jim’s help, he cuts open the unconscious man’s arm and bleeds him, catching the blood in a basin.
When this is done, the captain wakes up and asks where Black Dog went. Brushing off Billy’s questions, Dr. Livesey tells Billy that he almost died of a stroke and orders him not to drink rum anymore. “The name of rum for you is death,” Dr. Livesey says.
(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 since Billy’s arrival. Billy admits that he is terrified of his crew, who will bring him “the black spot”—a summons. This alarms Jim, who wishes he could go find Dr. Livesey and relate the story. Unfortunately, Jim’s duties at the Admiral Benbow prevent him from leaving home.
That night, Jim’s father suddenly dies. In the following days, Jim and his mother are so busy grieving and planning the funeral that nobody has much time to think about Billy Bones. The captain drags himself out of bed and begins helping himself to rum from the bar. Nobody likes this, but nobody had the courage or energy to stop it. He is constantly drunk, and he sings his old rum song through the funeral preparations. This is shocking to everyone around him, but nobody is brave enough to stand up to Billy.
The day after the funeral, a hunched old blind man in a sea-cloak taps his way up to the Admiral Benbow’s door and asks to be led inside. When Jim moves to obey, the blind man grabs him and demands to see Billy. Jim balks, worrying that the drunken pirate might hurt the blind man. But the blind man refuses to take no for an answer. He twists Jim’s arm, forcing the boy inside.
When Billy sees the visitor, his drunkenness leaves him. He tries to stand up, but he is suddenly too weak. He holds out his hand and accepts a piece of paper. “And now it’s done,” says the blind man. He releases Jim and leaves.
Jim and Billy stay silent for some time. Then Billy looks into his palm at the paper from the blind man. “Ten o’clock!” he says. “Six hours.” He leaps to his feet, claiming he still has time—but he does not. He falls on his face and dies.
Jim calls his...
(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 protection. She is hoping to shame some of the men into helping them, but everybody is too cowardly. They give Jim a pistol, and they send another boy to get Dr. Livesey, who lives in the opposite direction from the inn. But that is all they will do.
There is nothing left for Jim and his mother to do but return to the inn alone. There Jim studies the paper the blind man delivered to Billy. A large black mark is drawn on one side, and the words “You have till ten tonight” are written on the other. It is only six o’clock now, so Jim and his mother hope they can finish their business and get away before the crew arrives.
Jim searches Billy’s body and eventually finds a key around the neck. His mother uses it to open the chest, and she takes out a variety of objects: a brand-new suit, some pistols, a bar of silver, and so on. Eventually she finds a bag of gold. She insists on counting out exactly the amount Billy owes. However, the coins are from several different countries, and she struggles to figure out how much they are worth. As time passes, Jim grows more and more nervous. He begs her to take the whole bag of gold and run, but she refuses.
Suddenly, Jim and his mother hear a ship’s whistle. This sound scares them both, and finally Jim’s mother gives up her task. She takes the money she has counted out—which is not yet enough to pay the bill—and leaves the rest. Jim grabs a bundle of papers wrapped in oilskin, hoping that something inside will be worth enough to make up the difference.
Jim and his mother run toward town as fast as they can, looking over their shoulders often to see who might be following them. They have the legal right to keep the money they...
(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 opened and searched. He says the money is there, but the object they came for is gone.
Guessing that Jim was responsible for opening the chest, Pew tells everyone to search for the boy. Jim hears the men tearing through the inn, but then they hear two whistles from a boat down on the water. It turns out that the whistles are meant to warn them of approaching danger. Frightened, most of the men stop their search. Pew swears at them and calls them cowards for giving up so easily.
The sound of hooves comes from the road. The men run away, all except Pew, who has nobody left to show him which way to go. He runs up the road toward Jim, not realizing that he is heading straight for the approaching horses. The riders do not see Pew in the fog, and he gets trampled to death.
Now that Pew is no longer a threat, Jim jumps out of his hiding place and calls out to the riders. They are a group of tax collectors brought by the boy who was supposed to get Dr. Livesey. Jim is glad that they came; otherwise, he and his mother would surely have been found and killed. The men take Jim back to the inn, where he sees that the whole place is smashed up.
The supervisor of Jim’s rescuers, a man named Mr. Dance, asks Jim what the pirates wanted. Jim says that they must have wanted the little pack of papers wrapped in cloth that he has in his pocket. Mr. Dance offers to take the packet to keep it safe, but Jim wants to take it to Dr. Livesey. This is appropriate because the doctor is also a magistrate, a public leader for the village and its surroundings. Mr. Dance offers to accompany Jim on this errand, and they set out right away.
(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 says yes and insists that no pirate crew would have risked their lives for anything except a fortune. He goes on to say that he would personally fund a voyage to go and search for a treasure that belonged to Captain Flint.
At this, Dr. Livesey opens up the packet, finding a book and a paper inside. The writing in the book is difficult to understand, but it clearly notes sums of money, and sometimes locations as well. After everyone studies it, Mr. Trelawney says that Flint must have used the book to record the loot he collected over many years. Next, the little group looks at the paper. It is a map to hidden treasure.
Immediately, Dr. Livesey and Mr. Trelawney begin making excited plans for going after the treasure. Trelawney will fund and lead the mission. The treasure is buried on an island, so he will buy a ship and hire a crew of sailors. Livesey will be ship’s doctor, and Jim will come along as cabin boy. Trelawney prattles about how easy the journey will be and how much money they will all find at its end.
Hearing his friend’s excited chatter, Dr. Livesey begins to look grave. He says that there is someone involved in the mission who scares him. Mr. Trelawney, clearly outraged that anyone would threaten their mission, demands to know who it is. “You,” the doctor says simply. He explains that Trelawney talks too much, and that this is sure to raise trouble with Captain Flint’s crew. Mr. Trelawney realizes that the doctor is right. He swears he will keep the matter secret, and Jim and the doctor do the same.
(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 great deal of help from people who are excited at the idea of finding buried treasure. Mr. Trelawney’s friend Blandley helped him buy the ship, and an old sailor named Long John Silver helped hire a crew. Years ago, Long John Silver lost a leg in service to his country, but still, he knows a great deal about running a ship. He will come along on the voyage and work as the cook.
Reading the letter, Jim gets a little worried. It is clear that Mr. Trelawney has been talking about the treasure, and his words may have reached Captain Flint’s old crew. The one-legged cook, Long John Silver, may well be the one-legged pirate old Billy used to fear.
Before leaving, Jim goes to the Admiral Benbow to visit his mother. Mr. Trelawney has paid to repair the place, so it is back in business. She has hired a boy to work for her in Jim’s absence. When Jim sees this boy, he realizes that he is not just going out on an adventure—he is also leaving his home behind.
In spite of his misgivings, Jim is eager to leave. He and Redruth travel to the city of Bristol, where Trelawney is waiting, in a horse drawn coach that carries the mail. Jim is squished uncomfortably between Redruth and another passenger, but he manages to sleep. By the time Redruth awakens him, it is already light, and the night’s journey is over.
Jim walks around Bristol, a port city in southeastern England, feeling that he is in “a delightful dream.” He is awed at the sight of so many sailors and ships—especially because he is planning to sail away in search of treasure. When he meets Trelawney, he learns that Dr. Livesey has also just arrived. Everything is going according to plan, and the journey will begin...
(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 crewmate. Long John sends some men to catch Black Dog, who has not paid for the drinks he ordered, but nobody catches him.
Long John questions Tom Morgan, a customer who was sitting with Black Dog just before he ran away. Morgan insists that he never saw the man before today. He says the two of them were talking about keel-hauling, a brutal punishment for sailors that involves dragging a man underneath a boat by a rope.
The whole incident makes Jim suspicious, but Silver seems sincerely surprised that a member of Captain Flint’s crew came to his inn. Silver offers to go himself and tell Mr. Trelawney and Dr. Livesey what has happened. The incident seems to strike him funny, and his laughter is so contagious that Jim finds himself laughing too. He is soon convinced that Long John Silver is innocent.
Jim and Silver walk together to the Hispaniola, and on the way, the old sailor teaches the boy about boats and nautical language. By the time they arrive, the two are good friends, and Jim stands by everything Silver says about the strange encounter with Black Dog.
Mr. Trelawney and Dr. Livesey listen to Silver’s story and decide that nothing can be done about Black Dog. They wish that he had been caught, but they are impressed with Silver’s honesty. When Silver leaves to return to the Spy-glass, Dr. Livesey says to Mr. Trelawney:
I don’t put much faith in your discoveries as a general thing; but I will say this, John Silver suits me.
Trelawney agrees, saying that Silver is “a perfect trump.” With that, he cheerfully invites Jim and the doctor to tour the ship.
(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 he dislikes treasure hunts, which tend to be dangerous. Also, given the way the news of the destination leaked out—including details such as the exact latitude and longitude of the island they plan to approach—he suspects that the men leading the expedition are not cautious enough.
Next, Captain Smollett complains that he does not like his crew. Mr. Trelawney protests that they are all good sailors. Captain Smollett replies that they probably are, but that he should have been allowed to choose them himself. He does not like the first mate, Mr. Arrow, who seems too friendly with the men. He also dislikes the way the crew has arranged the weapons and the sleeping quarters. The people who are loyal to Mr. Trelawney are too spread out, and the weapons are stored too close to the crewmen.
Dr. Livesey encourages the captain to go on, and the captain says that he thinks all of the men known to be loyal to Mr. Trelawney should sleep on one end of the ship with the weapons close at hand. The captain and his mate will sleep on deck, and the crew will sleep belowdecks, as far as possible from the weapons. Finally, the captain asks the doctor and Mr. Trelawney to swear they will not let anyone see their treasure map.
Dr. Livesey understands the meaning of the captain’s requests. “You fear a mutiny,” he says. The captain hesitates to admit that he thinks the men may revolt against him. However, he says that he is responsible for the ship’s safety and that he wants the people in charge to make sure they control the weapons and the power.
Clearly impressed with the captain’s honesty and foresight, Dr. Livesey agrees to follow all of his suggestions. Mr. Trelawney agrees as...
(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 sailors. Only Mr. Arrow, the first mate, is a problem. He repeatedly gets so drunk that he is unable to fulfill his responsibilities. Over and over, Captain Smollett has to send him to his bunk and take over his work. Nobody can figure out where the mate is getting his liquor, no matter how closely they watch him. Then one night, he simply disappears. Everyone figures that he has fallen overboard and drowned.
In some ways, Long John Silver is the most impressive man on the ship. Silver is hardly slowed by the fact that he has only one leg. He hops gracefully across the rocking decks, only occasionally using his crutch or grabbing a line he has tied up for steadying himself. Everywhere he goes, he carries his green parrot, named Captain Flint “after the famous buccaneer,” on his shoulder. The parrot loves to talk and often squawks, “Pieces of eight! pieces of eight!”
Although Mr. Trelawney and Captain Smollett clearly dislike each other, the rest of the men on the ship are happy. The sailors are treated unusually well, as is Jim. There is always enough to eat, and there are often small treats that would not be available on most ships. For example, a barrel of apples is always kept open, and anyone is allowed to grab one whenever he wants. One night when Jim finishes all of his tasks, he decides to go get a snack. The barrel happens to be almost empty, and he climbs inside to look for an apple.
Lulled by the rocking of the boat, Jim falls asleep inside the apple barrel, but soon Long John Silver’s voice wakes him up. Jim is about to get up and say hello when he realizes that Silver is saying something terribly disturbing. Jim freezes and listens.
(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 and his friends that they are among pirates who plan to stage a mutiny. For now, however, he stays quiet, knowing that he will likely be killed if anyone finds out what he has heard. He wonders if there are any honest men on the ship, aside from the captain and the few men Mr. Trelawney brought from home.
Outside the barrel, another sailor, Israel Hands, joins the conversation and demands to know when the crew will overthrow the captain. Silver says that he would prefer to wait until after they locate the treasure and sail halfway home. He does not have the treasure map, and none of the sailors are educated men. They can steer a ship, but they cannot chart a course as the captain can. However, Dick and Israel are impatient, unwilling to follow Captain Smollett's strict code of behavior much longer. Silver says that he will order the crew to revolt on the island.
Dick asks what Silver plans to do with Captain Smollett, Mr. Trelawney, and the few men loyal to them after the mutiny. Silver says he will kill them. He explains that if he just maroons the honest men on a deserted island, they may eventually get rescued and make their way home to enact revenge. Besides, Silver would enjoy killing Mr. Trelawney. “I’ll wring his calf’s head off his body with these hands, Dick!” Silver says.
Silver sends Dick to retrieve some rum from a keg he has hidden. Even in his terror, Jim realizes that this explains how Mr. Arrow kept getting drunk before he disappeared. Dick soon returns, and the three men drink three toasts together. Their conversation turns to other topics, but Jim hears one more useful bit of information: “Not another man of them will join,” someone says. Clearly, then, some...
(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 this exchange, but the pirate is clever, and he gives nothing away.
The men mill around, glad to have arrived at their destination. Jim hovers on the sidelines, wondering how to warn his friends of the danger without arousing the suspicion of Silver and his men. When Dr. Livesey asks Jim to go get him some tobacco, Jim whispers, “I have terrible news.” He asks the doctor to go to a private cabin with Captain Smollett and Mr. Trelawney—and then to find an excuse to call for the cabin boy.
Pretending nothing is wrong, Dr. Livesey does exactly what Jim suggests. As soon as everyone is behind closed doors together, Jim tells them about Silver’s plot for mutiny, theft, and murder. Captain Smollett is shocked. He says that a captain normally sees signs of mutiny brewing—but no such signs exist now. Dr. Livesey says that Silver is a good leader who can keep the crew under control.
Captain Smollett says they will have no choice but to fight the crew. He would rather turn around and sail home, but he is sure the men would rebel. However, Jim and his friends have one advantage: time to plan a surprise attack. The captain is sure that the men will not mutiny until they know where the treasure is hidden.
Next, the conversation turns to odds. Mr. Trelawney brought a few men with him from home, and they are sure to be loyal. But nobody knows which other crew members are honest. As the matter stands, the group of loyal men consists of six men and a boy. Before the journey is done, this small force may have to battle nineteen pirates.
(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 friends. Now that they know that Silver is dishonest, his acting skills seem almost scary.
Captain Smollett holds a meeting of the loyal men, including Jim, and says that the situation looks very bad. If he shouts at the men for their behavior, they might fight back immediately, before the loyal men get a chance to take a good tactical position. However, if Captain Smollett does not shout at the men, the mutineers may suspect that he knows something.
It is clear that, although the crew is itching for freedom, Long John Silver does not want the battle to happen yet. The captain decides to give the crew an afternoon’s rest on shore. His hope is that Silver will go along and convince the other sailors to wait a while before the rebellion. If Jim’s friends are very lucky, the whole crew will go ashore in the lifeboats. This will give the captain’s men the chance to attack from the high ground of the ship’s decks when the mutineers return.
After the captain offers the men an afternoon off, Jim watches Silver organize them into boats to row ashore. The seven people known to be loyal to the captain are all expected to stay on the ship, but Jim sees that Silver is leaving a few of his own men, too. Jim knows that his friends will not be able to plan a surprise attack with Silver’s co-conspirators on board. So Jim makes a quick decision, not yet knowing that it will help him become a hero. He hops into one of the boats and goes to shore with Silver and the rest of the sailors.
On shore, Silver calls to Jim to stay close—but Jim disobeys. He runs into the bushes and gets away.
(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 be one of the last honest men of the crew. Tom insists that he will never turn disloyal, and he pleads with Silver not to rebel against Captain Smollett.
This conversation is interrupted by a shout and a cry of pain in the distance. Jim knows instantly that the person he is hearing is probably another loyal crewman being murdered. Silver does not pretend otherwise. “I recon that’ll be Alan,” he says calmly. Tom understands that he is about to be killed too—if he does not join the mutiny. Still, he refuses to join in the crime. He runs away, but Long John Silver throws a log at him, knocking him down. Jim does not know whether or not the force of this impact kills the man, but it does not turn out to matter. Long John Silver hobbles toward the fallen man and stabs him twice in the back.
This cold-blooded murder horrifies Jim. For several moments, he cannot seem to breathe properly or focus his eyes. Then Silver blows a whistle, and Jim hears the other pirates running toward the sound. Quickly—but without letting himself be seen—Jim scrambles in the opposite direction, staying in the cover of the trees. He runs as far and as fast as he can. Now, he knows, he is in the worst possible spot. If he goes back to the boats, the pirates will kill him. If he stays away, they will realize he suspects their plans, and they will find him and kill him anyway.
Hardly noticing where he is going, Jim runs up a little hill with two peaks. He comes into a little forest and sees something—a man, maybe, or a monkey?—jump out of sight behind a pine.
(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 treasure on this island. After Flint’s death, Ben returned with another group of sailors to look for the gold. When he was unable to find it, his fellow sailors grew angry at him and sailed away without him. He has been alone, living on goats and oysters, ever since. He says he is hungry for “Christian diet” and asks hopefully if Jim has any cheese. Jim does not, but he promises to give Ben a piece of cheese if they ever get back on board the Hispaniola.
Jim tells Ben about his adventures with Long John Silver. Ben is scared when he hears that many of Flint’s former men are on the island. Ben knows the pirates will kill him if they see him, so he offers to fight on Jim’s side in exchange for a share of the treasure and a ride home. Jim says he is sure his friends will accept this arrangement. The group is planning to share the treasure equally in any case, and they need more men who can fight and sail.
When Jim says he does not know how to get back to the Hispaniola without getting murdered by mutineers, Ben suggests using a little boat he has built. During this conversation, they hear the sound of a cannon. The battle has begun. Jim, hoping to see what is going on, leads Ben back toward the pirates. As they walk, Ben talks nonsense, a habit that he seems to have developed in his time alone on the island. Amid the gunshots, Jim sees a flag raised above the woods. It is the British flag, the Union Jack.
(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, go ashore to explore. They find a stockade, probably built by Captain Flint. This is a low house on top of a hill, with the land around it cleared of any bushes that might provide cover for attackers. There is a tall fence around the compound, and there are plenty of holes in the walls of the house so that the people inside can shoot muskets from positions of relative safety. Dr. Livesey is particularly pleased to see a small spring filled with fresh drinking water nearby. He immediately decides to move his friends to the spot.
Just as Dr. Livesey makes this decision, he hears the cry of Alan, the first man who gets murdered by the mutineers. The doctor thinks he is hearing Jim’s murder, but he refuses to allow himself to succumb to his grief and fear. As a doctor, he has plenty of experience making decisions during times of death. He sticks to his decision to move to the stockade, and he immediately puts the plan into action.
Dr. Livesey goes back to the Hispaniola and explains his plan. The first thing the captain's men do is subdue the six mutineers on board. The mutineers are unarmed, so the captain and Mr. Trelawney threaten them with pistols. To avoid getting shot, the mutineers decide to wait quietly in the cabin. Meanwhile, the doctor and a couple of other loyal men load a boat with weapons and food. They take these supplies to shore and carry them to the stockade.
Dr. Livesey leaves a man in the stockade with six loaded muskets and goes back to get the captain and another load of food and weapons. They do not have time to carry a third load, so they sink all of the remaining weapons and ammunition to the bottom of the sea. This will prevent Long John Silver and the...
(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 for “the long nine”—a big cannon on the Hispaniola. They look back to the ship and see that the mutineers they left on board have noticed the error. They are already loading the cannon to take a shot.
Mr. Trelawney is the best at shooting a musket, so the men stop rowing and hold the boat steady while Trelawney takes a shot at the pirates. He aims at Israel Hands, the man his friends know to be the most skilled with heavy weapons. Unfortunately, Hands bends down at the last moment, and Trelawney’s bullet hits someone else. This poor man does not die, but his comrades do not help him. Instead, they continue their hurried preparations with the cannon.
As all this is happening, the captain’s men see several of Long John Silver’s mutineers running along the shore. These men climb into one of their small boats and begin to row toward the captain’s men. They are no great threat; they are fighting the tide, so it is clear they will not arrive quickly. However, the cannon is almost ready to fire.
The captain tells the doctor to steer straight for shore, even if the boat takes on water. The doctor obeys, and he makes fairly good progress until the cannon fires. The captain’s men dive out of the way, and the cannonball flies over their heads. However, in all the jostling, the boat gets swamped.
Only the doctor and the captain have the presence of mind to keep their muskets out of the water; three guns get dunked in the sea, as does the whole boatload of food and ammunition. Now half of the supplies are lost, three of the muskets will not shoot. They run to shore, hoping they will arrive at the stockade before Long John Silver can organize his pirates for an...
(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 being killed. Before losing consciousness, he asks the other men to say a prayer for him.
While his companions care for Redruth, Captain Smollett unloads his coat pockets, and the others see that he has brought several objects of symbolic comfort, including a British flag and a Bible. His first action is to raise the flag, and he clearly feels more comfortable as soon as the colors are flying overhead. Next, he examines the stores of food and weapons.
Redruth dies, but there is no time to mourn. The pirates may attack again at any moment, and the captain's men know that they may be under siege in the stockade for weeks or even months. Unfortunately, in their flight from the Hispaniola, they only managed to transport enough food to last ten days.
As this grim fact sinks in, a cannonball sails over the stockade. Surprisingly, the captain seems glad about this. He explains that the pirates are highly unlikely to hurt them with the cannon, and that any attempts to do so will simply waste their gunpowder. In the next few hours, several more cannonballs fly overhead, slamming into the sandy yard or the woods beyond. One even comes through the roof, but it does not hurt anyone.
During this onslaught, the captain sends two men down to the swamped boat to try to recover the ham, which is the only food that might have survived the dunking in the sea. Unfortunately, these men find that the pirates have already retrieved the usable food.
When night arrives, the rain of cannonballs stops. The captain sits down at a desk and writes out a short description of their situation, along with the names of the few loyal men. When he comes to Jim Hawkins, he pauses. Nobody is...
(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.
Ben’s pleas are interrupted by a cannonball, which hits the ground not far from where he is standing. He runs away. Jim flees in the opposite direction and spends the afternoon in various hiding places, hoping the cannonballs will miss him. When night falls and the bombardment stops, he finally decides that it is safe to enter the stockade. There his friends welcome him gladly and listen to his story.
The night soon grows cold, and unfortunately, Jim’s new home is very uncomfortable. Wind blows sand inside, and smoke from the fireplace fills the room. To make matters worse, Redruth’s body lies in a corner, reminding everyone of the grim situation they are in.
The men are at risk of sinking into despair, but Captain Smollett does not allow this to happen. He divides everyone into groups and sets them to work gathering firewood, burying Redruth, and keeping watch. The mood lifts when the men are busy, and Dr. Livesey privately tells Jim that the captain is an excellent man for leading them so well.
After dinner, everyone discusses the plans for fighting the mutineers. Their little group cannot last long without more food, but their situation is not as bad as it could be. There are only fifteen pirates left, two of whom are wounded. The captain resolves to watch and wait, taking every opportunity to pick off pirates. His best hope is that the pirates will get fed up with fighting and sail away in the Hispaniola to seek their fortune on the high seas. If that happens, the loyal men will only have to wait a few more months until a rescue party arrives from England.
Tired from his adventures, Jim goes to sleep. He sleeps late the next morning, awaking to...
(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 come.
The captain steps outside and watches Silver climb the fence and make his way up the hill. With his one leg and his crutch, Silver makes very slow progress on the sandy ground, but Captain Smollett does not offer to help. Instead he sits down and whistles a tune while he waits. Silver eventually reaches the captain and, after complaining that the captain should invite him inside, sits beside him on the ground.
Silver complains about something that happened last night, and it becomes clear that one of the pirates was bludgeoned and killed while he slept. None of the captain’s men went out last night, but the captain does not admit this. Jim knows what must have happened: Ben Gunn must have attacked the mutineers’ camp on his own. Now there are only fourteen pirates left.
Silver and Captain Smollett smoke their pipes together, not speaking. Finally Silver spits on the ground and makes an offer. He says that if Captain Smollett hands over the treasure map, the pirates will spare the men’s lives and share the rest of the food. However, the pirates will take the treasure for themselves.
Captain Smollett is clearly unimpressed by Silver’s proposal. He says that the pirates have no basis for making demands. They do not know where to the find the treasure. They do not have the knowledge necessary to sail the ship away without wrecking it. They are cowardly drunks who cannot fight. The captain makes a counterproposal: if the pirates turn themselves in, he will chain them up and take them back to England for a fair trial. Otherwise he will fight them to the death. “I’ll put a bullet in your back when next I meet you,” he says.
This makes Long John Silver...
(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 shots, on the longest side of the bunkhouse, where the pirates are most likely to focus their attack. Each of these men is given two muskets so that he can shoot more often. The captain puts the doctor at the doorway, a man named Hunter on the east side, and a man named Joyce on the west side. Meanwhile, Jim and the captain—who are both bad shots—are supposed to stand in the center of the room and help everyone else with the slow process of reloading muskets. Finally, the captain places a stack of cutlasses in the center of the room, ready in case the battle comes down to hand-to-hand fighting.
The captain’s men wait and wait, growing nervous and jittery as time passes. Finally, after more than an hour, they hear gunshots and feel musket balls hit the sides of the house. The attack comes from the cover of the trees, so although the captain’s men return fire, they have nowhere to aim.
Suddenly, seven or eight pirates climb into the stockade. The captain’s men shoot as fast as they can, killing two pirates and scaring one away. More shots hit the house, and four pirates run toward the bunkhouse, storming inside. The house fills with the smoke of gunfire, so nobody can see where to shoot.
“Out, lads, out, and fight ‘em in the open. Cutlasses!” shouts Captain Smollett. Rushing to obey, Jim grabs a cutlass and rushes out the door. He takes a swing at a pirate and gets tripped. By the time he gets back to his feet, the battle is already over. Three pirates are down, and one is running away. The doctor shouts at the others to shoot the fleeing man, but nobody can get to a musket in time. When the last pirate is gone, Jim and his friends run back inside.
(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 makes up an excuse to get away for a few hours. He remembers that Ben Gunn mentioned owning a small homemade boat, and he knows that it would be useful to have access to such an asset. Jim resolves to go and look for it, but he does not ask permission because he strongly suspects it will be denied. He just fills his pockets with food, grabs a couple of pistols, and sneaks away without telling anyone where he is going. This is an unwise thing for Jim to do, considering that only two able men remain in the bunkhouse to fight if the pirates attack, but he means no harm.
Careful not to be spotted by the pirates, Jim makes his way through the trees toward a big white rock he has noticed at the top of a hill. It fits the description of the place where Ben said he hid his little boat—and sure enough, Jim finds the boat quite quickly. It is a small, round, woven contraption that is barely seaworthy. Jim doubts that it could carry a full-grown man, but it is big enough to hold a boy.
Now that Jim is outside, he is itching for an adventure. Watching the pirates, he sees them leave two watchmen on the Hispaniola without a lifeboat. Jim decides to take Ben’s little boat out to the ship and cut it loose. This, he reasons, will prevent the pirates from sailing away to freedom. He waits for darkness to fall, and the night turns out to be calm and foggy—perfect for a reconnaissance job. He carries the boat to the water and sets off.
(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 grows tight again as he works, so he waits to cut the last few strands until the next breeze comes along. While he waits, he listens to the arguments of the two watchmen on board the Hispaniola, who are clearly drunk and out of sorts. Eventually a breeze rises, and Jim takes his chance to finish cutting the rope.
Immediately the Hispaniola begins to move with the ocean’s current. Jim’s little round boat gets buffeted along the side. At first he is afraid that he will get swamped and drown, but this does not happen. However, Jim finds that he cannot fight against the force of the Hispaniola’s movement. He simply allows himself to be pushed along, waiting until the current frees him on its own.
The watchmen do not seem to notice that they are adrift, and Jim wonders why. Curiosity gets the best of him, and as he drifts past the cabin, he stand up—almost toppling overboard in the process—and peeks inside. He sees the watchmen in a silent fight, each of them trying to strangle the other. He sits back down, careful not to upset his boat, and soon the current carries him away.
Unfortunately, Jim still cannot steer. He drifts toward the shore, where a group of pirates is singing by their campfire. When he sees where he is headed, Jim grows terrified that someone will soon notice him drifting in the water and come to kill him. Unwilling to watch his death approach, he ducks down inside the boat and closes his eyes. There he waits for someone to come and kill him. Nobody comes, and eventually the rocking of the waves lulls him to sleep.
(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 drifts around a point of land and sees the Hispaniola. He ducks down into his boat, sure that he will soon be spotted, caught, and killed. He watches the ship sail toward him, but soon it changes course and sails toward land instead. “Clumsy fellows,” he mutters, assuming that the men on board are drunk as usual. The Hispaniola turns again, aiming out toward the sea. It dawns on Jim that nobody is at the helm, and that the ship is simply sailing itself in circles.
Suddenly all thought of shore goes out of Jim’s mind. Either the pirates have abandoned the ship, or they are passed out drunk. If Jim can get aboard, he can take the ship back for Captain Smollett. Not only that, but he can also drink the water the men keep stored on deck. He changes course, attempting to steer toward the ship instead of the shore.
For a long time, Jim makes very bad progress. He is drifting in the direction he wants to go, but so is the Hispaniola, and he cannot seem to catch up. Suddenly the wind shifts and the ship turns, putting yet more distance between itself and Jim. This frustrates Jim—but only until he sees the ship turn again. This time it turns toward him.
The Hispaniola’s approach toward Jim looks slow and gentle—until it gets close. Then he realizes that it is stronger than he expected. He can see that it will swamp his little boat, and that he will have just one chance to get out safely. Jim waits until the last possible moment, and then he springs to his feet and scrambles onto the ship.
(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 that the pirates have drunk most of the ale and liquor. Amazed at how much they have consumed, he guesses that none of them has been sober for five minutes since the mutiny. He grabs a bottle with a little brandy left in it, as well as some food for himself. Then he makes his way back up to the deck, where he stops for a long drink of water.
Next Jim delivers the brandy. Hands drinks some and then says that the man in the red cap is dead. He, Hands, is only wounded. He would be perfectly fine if the doctor were still on board. “I don’t have no manner of luck,” he says, but Jim is unable to feel pity for a man who helped stage a mutiny.
Hands is in no shape to fight, so Jim cheerfully announces that he is taking over as ship’s captain until Captain Smollett can return. Jim’s first action in his new role is to take the Jolly Roger off the flagpole. He does not have a British flag, so he simply throws the pirate’s flag into the sea and yells, “God save the King!”
Jim wants to beach the ship on a safe spot he knows on Treasure Island's north side, but Hands points out that Jim does not know how to sail. The two of them make a deal: Hands agrees to give Jim advice about what to do, in exchange for food, drink, and a bandage for his wound.
Jim is pleased with himself for taking the Hispaniola back for the captain. He has been feeling a bit guilty about running off on his own, but he knows he will be forgiven after this success. The weather is beautiful, and the breeze is blowing in the right direction. Everything seems perfect.
Israel Hands, for his part, looks much stronger after he eats a bit and bandages his wound. He watches Jim work at...
(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 is my fancy; dead men don’t bite; them’s my views—amen, so be it.
It is nearly time to beach the Hispaniola, and Hands explains how to aim the ship for shore. Jim runs back and forth, rushing to follow instructions, impressed in spite of himself with Hands's skill at sailing. Jim gets so absorbed by his work that he forgets to be careful of his companion’s treachery.
As the Hispaniola moves the last few feet toward shore, Hands draws his knife and runs at Jim. Noticing the attack at the last second, Jim lets go of the tiller and dodges out of the way. The tiller swings around and slams into Hands, who falls down long enough for Jim to draw one of his pistols. Unfortunately, it has been soaked with seawater, so it refuses to fire. Jim does not have time to re-load, so he is reduced to leaping and dodging.
As Jim and Hands face each other, the Hispaniola hits the beach. The impact tosses them both off their feet, and the deck of the ship turns to a forty-five degree angle. Both Jim and Hands fall, but Jim regains his footing first. He cannot easily run on the tilted deck, so he scrambles up a mast and, sitting down at the top, begins re-loading his pistols.
Hands puts his knife in his teeth and begins to climb the mast. His injury slows him, however, and before he reaches the top, Jim primes his pistols and takes aim, saying:
One more step, Mr. Hands, and I’ll blow your brains out! dead men don’t bite, you know.
Hands stops and takes the knife out of his mouth. Appearing confused and upset, he curses his bad luck and admits that he has lost. Then, as Jim revels in...
(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 loose and leaves it lying on the surface of the waves.
Leaving the Hispaniola, Jim wades to shore. When he gets to land, he takes off running, imagining the looks on his friends’ faces when he tells them what he has done. As he passes the area where he met Ben Gunn, he slows down. He sees a fire and feels confused. Why would Ben burn such a bright campfire when the pirates are still lurking nearby? Jim does not stop to find out. Helped by the moonlight, he makes his way onward to the stockade.
When Jim comes to the stockade, he sees a huge bonfire burning in the yard. This is also confusing because the captain normally insists that his men conserve their firewood. Jim sneaks around, looking for signs of danger, careful not to scare his friends into shooting him by mistake. He creeps safely toward the door, feeling a bit surprised when the man on watch fails to notice him.
Inside the bunkhouse, Jim decides to sneak to his bed and let his friends discover him there in the morning. As he tiptoes farther into the room, he accidentally steps on a man’s leg. The man grunts awake, and a voice begins shouting, “Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!”
Jim freezes. He recognizes this voice. It belongs to Long John Silver’s parrot, Captain Flint. The stockade has changed hands in Jim’s absence, and he has walked straight into the company of pirates. He tries to run, but the pirates grab him and hold on tight.
(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 Hispaniola disappeared, Dr. Livesey visited the pirates’ camp and offered to give up the stockade and supplies if the pirates would refrain from further fighting. When Silver agreed, Jim’s friends promptly moved out of the stockade. Silver does not know where they have gone.
Silver repeats his statement that Jim should join the pirates, but Jim refuses. He tells them that he has undone their plans. He stole the Hispaniola, so now they have no way home. He gives them a choice: they can kill him, or they can turn themselves in. Jim promises that if they let him live, he will testify to that effect back in England. This, perhaps, will save them from being hanged.
Most of the pirates want to torture Jim to death on the spot, but Silver forbids it. His men storm outside to hold a meeting without him. When they are gone, Silver confesses that the game is over. Without the ship, he cannot get away with the treasure. As far as Silver is concerned, his best option now is to go back to England and hope that Jim will keep his promise to testify in his defense.
Listening to Silver’s plea, Jim feels overwhelmed. Silver has been the mutineers’ leader—and the cleverest opponent of Jim and his friends—since the beginning of their adventure at sea. It is almost hard to hear the man admit that he has lost. However, Jim repeats his promise to do his best for Silver’s defense.
Hearing this, Silver pledges to fight on the side of the captain and Mr. Trelawney. To seal the deal, he pours himself a glass of cognac and drinks it. Then, almost as an afterthought, he mentions that the doctor gave him Captain Flint’s treasure map.
(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, Silver clearly takes the confrontation with his men seriously. He tells them that, according to the rules, he gets a chance to respond to their complaints. The men accuse him of losing the ship, letting the captain’s men go free, and being too soft on Jim Hawkins. Silver calmly reminds them that he wanted to stay aboard the Hispaniola and defend it, and that they demanded to sleep onshore. Next, he says that keeping their hostage alive is a smart move that will give them a chance to bargain with the enemy. Finally, he shows them why he agreed to Dr. Livesey's bargain. With a flourish, he pulls out Captain Flint’s treasure map.
Thrilled and excited, the men grab the map and pass it around so that everyone can see. Jim can tell at once that it is the real map, and he wonders why Dr. Livesey gave it up. The pirates do not bother with such thoughts. From the looks on their faces, Jim can tell that they have completely forgotten the reality of their situation. They seem to believe that all is well now that they have the map—never mind the fact that they have no way to get away with the gold.
On the spot, the pirates re-elect Long John Silver to the captaincy. Then they all have a drink and lie down to sleep. Jim lies down with them, and he soon finds himself amazed at how well Silver sleeps, considering the dangerous game he is now playing. Jim feels too troubled to sleep, and it is no wonder. Today he killed a man, and tonight he is resting among pirates.
(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 “word of honour” not to run away, and Jim gives it. The pirates rebel, accusing Silver of betraying them and playing a game to save his own skin—which is exactly what he is doing. Ever the con man, Silver convinces them otherwise. He waves the treasure map in their faces and asks them how they plan to go treasure hunting in safety if they rekindle hostilities with their enemies.
Eventually the men give in. Silver tells them to make breakfast while he stands watch over Jim’s conversation. The men grudgingly obey, and Silver takes Jim to the edge of the stockade. There, Silver loses his cockiness. He humbly tells the doctor that he will do anything to avoid being hung. Then he stands back and lets Jim and Dr. Livesey talk.
First of all, the doctor lectures Jim for giving his friends the slip, saying it was “downright cowardly” to run away when the captain was too weak to prevent misbehavior. However, the doctor clearly still cares about Jim's safety. He begs the boy to break his word and run away from the pirates immediately. Jim refuses, saying that he cannot break a promise. He tells the story of his latest adventure, and he explains precisely where the ship is located.
The doctor shakes his head and says that Jim’s actions have now saved his friends’ lives three times. First, Jim overheard the mutineers’ plot. Next, he found Ben Gunn. Now Jim has saved the ship. Dr. Livesey tells Jim that finding Ben Gunn was “the best deed that you ever did, or will do.” Jim does not understand why, but the doctor refuses to explain just now.
Before leaving, Dr. Livesey calls out to Long John Silver:
Silver!—I’ll give you a piece of...
(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 Hispaniola, and sail away with Jim as their captive. Hearing this speech makes Jim feel sick to his stomach; he knows that Silver will really do all of this if he gets a chance. He has “a foot in either camp,” and he will choose the side that wins in the end.
Jim still has no idea why his friends gave up the stockade and the treasure map. He knows from Dr. Livesey’s comments, however, that something dangerous awaits them. Because of this, Jim is unenthusiastic as the pirates prepare to hunt down the treasure. The men tie him up and make him come with them, leading him on a rope “like a dancing bear.”
Soon Jim and the pirates reach the highest part of the island, a hill called the Spy-glass, where the map instructs them to find a certain tall tree. The men laugh and joke, running ahead, as Jim and Silver plod along behind. Silver is slowed by his disability, Jim by his worries.
Suddenly, up ahead, one of the pirates shouts. On the ground, he has found a skeleton. Judging by its clothing, it belonged to a sailor. The men think it was Allardyce, one of the men Captain Flint took with him to bury his gold. Some of them have always suspected that Flint killed everyone who saw him hide his treasure. Now it appears that they are correct.
The skeleton’s bones are laid out oddly, the hands raised above the head to point in the direction the map says to go. The pirates know that Captain Flint would have found it funny to use a corpse in this way, but they all knew Allardyce, and they do not laugh. Nervously, they ask each other if the sailor’s soul—or worse, Captain Flint’s—might haunt this spot. Silver tells them that they have nothing to fear from ghosts....
(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 is terrified, but he controls himself better than the others. He scolds the men for their fear.
The voice in the trees speaks again, saying, “Darby M’Graw! Darby M’Graw! Fetch aft the rum, Darby!” These were the dying words of Captain Flint. The men who used to belong to his crew remember this—but they have not told the story to anyone else on the island. Now they are convinced that the treasure is haunted, and most of them seem on the verge of running away.
Long John Silver tries to convince his men to keep pursuing the treasure, saying, “I never was feared of Flint in his life, and, by the powers, I’ll face him dead.” When the others still seem unconvinced, Silver argues that the voice cannot have belonged to a spirit because it had an echo. He says staunchly that spirit voices should not make echoes.
To Jim’s amazement, this comment brings courage to the men. George thinks it over and says that the speaker did not even sound like Captain Flint. Silver agrees. To him, the voice sounds like Ben Gunn’s. The pirates think Ben is dead, but, as one of them says, "Why, nobody minds Ben Gunn...dead or alive."
Thus reassured, the men follow the last few steps for finding the treasure. As they get close, they forget their fear and run toward the goal. Even Long John Silver makes good time on his crutch. Watching Silver’s face, Jim sees that the old pirate is drunk on the thought of money. The greed on his face is easy to read, and Jim is sure that if the pirates get the money now, Silver will do everything he can to kill the honest men and escape.
But the pirates do not get the treasure. When they arrive at the spot marked on the map, they see that...
(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, three musket shots ring out from the forest. George and another pirate fall, and the other three flee. Moments later, Dr. Livesey emerges from the trees with Ben Gunn and Abe Gray. The doctor orders everyone to run through the trees and cut off the pirates’ access to the lifeboats, which are at a nearby shore. Silver—who knows that none of his new allies is particularly loyal to him—manages to keep up without any help.
When Jim and his friends arrive at the top of a hill, they see the three pirates running in the opposite direction from the boats. Reassured, they slow their pace, and Dr. Livesey explains why the treasure was no longer lying where Captain Flint put it.
Ben Gunn has been marooned on Treasure Island for years. He found Flint's gold one day and realized that someone was sure to come back for it. Bit by bit, he moved it to the cave where he lives. When the doctor found out about the treasure’s new location, he quickly gave the pirates the stockade, the food from the ship, and the treasure map. Then he moved the loyal men into Ben Gunn’s cave to protect the treasure. Dr. Livesey pauses here to apologize for leaving Jim in danger. In the doctor's view, he had to do what seemed best “for those who had stood by their duty.”
Continuing the story, Dr. Livesey explains what happened today when he learned that Jim had been captured. After leaving the stockade, the doctor quickly went and got help. He and his two companions rushed through the trees, but only Ben Gunn was fast enough to reach the site of the treasure before the pirates arrived. He stalled them by exploiting their superstitions, thus giving the doctor and Abe Gray time to join the fight.
(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 trusted—not that anyone respects Silver’s opinion anymore.
Silver works hard and behaves just the same as the men who were loyal to the captain throughout the adventure. However, everyone despises him and wastes no chance to tell him so. When people insult him, Silver remains silent. Only Ben Gunn and Jim refrain from abusing him. Ben is scared of Silver, and Jim has “something to thank him for.”
Just before leaving the island, Jim and his friends put as many supplies as they can in Ben Gunn’s cave for the benefit of the three men they are leaving behind. Still, everyone feels terrible as they sail away. The three pirates come to shore and beg to be brought home. The doctor tells them about the supplies, but the men just weep and blubber. Then, when they are finally convinced that they are not going to get a ride home, one of them shoots his musket at the Hispaniola. After that, Jim and his companions duck their heads below the bulwarks until they are well out of range.
The Hispaniola makes a rough trip to a South American port, where they replenish their supplies and hire a full crew. There, Long John Silver steals a bag of gold and slips away. Nobody is exactly happy that they do not get a chance to bring him to justice, but they are all glad to be rid of him “so cheaply.”
After the stop in South America, the journey home goes smoothly. When they arrive in Bristol, Jim and the men divide the treasure and go their separate ways. Each man spends his share “wisely or foolishly, according to [their] natures.” Captain Smollett retires, and Abe Gray gets an education. Ben Gunn, meanwhile, spends all of his money in nineteen days and ends up a poor...
(The entire section is 489 words.)