In Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson, what is David's initial impression of Alan Breck Stewart?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Stevenson's introduction of Alan Breck Stewart, the man with the belt of gold, is a dramatic one. The prelude is a crashing jolt to the ship and the announcement that the ship had run a boat down in the fog. This was accompanied by the news that the one survivor had jumped from the stern of the boat to the bowsprit of the brig Covenet, while wearing an overcoat reaching below his knees (an important point to confirm first impressions), and thus saved himself; a feat showing agility, strength, cunning, quick wits and quicker reflexes. David's first direct observation of and reflection on the stranger is that after the dramatic entrance to the brig, he "looked as cool" as David did (cool as in calm and collected). David's next observations are of his stature, which was not great nor imposing, the "dancing madness" of his eyes, his velvet ("plush") clothing and feathered hat, a red waistcoat, silver buttons, lace, and pistols. The sum of these observations was that Alan Breck Stewart was a "man [he] would rather call [his] friend than [his] enemy." Add to that the favorable impression Alan's manners made upon David and you have not only the sum of David's impressions but the foundation and foreshadowing of what is to follow through the whole course of the story.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial