Ideas for Group Discussions

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Since this book has been dramatized a number of times, it might be rewarding to view some of the available versions in order to determine how faithful the adapters were to the original text. For example, one could ask whether the characters are as clearly and fully developed as they are in the novel.

1. Does the quarrel between David and Alan seem realistic? They really have no solid basis for the conflict, but they are both tired and anxious. Is this enough to make the scene credible and effective?

2. Throughout much of the plot David is of two minds: He likes Alan and feels a loyalty to him, but he is also apprehensive about the course of action upon which Alan is bent. Is this inner conflict represented realistically by Stevenson? Does it deepen the characterization of the hero?

3. Is the fight scene on The Covenant believable? Could two persons hold off such a large band of attackers in the fashion presented in the text?

4. What are the central conflicts in the novel, apart from the obvious one involving combat? Are these oppositions adequately developed? Are any of them gratuitous?

5. Is there anything in Kidnapped that directly supports Stevenson's claim that romance is a literary form worthy of high respect?

6. What seem to be the principal motivations for the Highlanders to support what is plainly a lost cause? Are these motives valid?

7. Why does David not finally part from Alan, in view of the clear danger of consorting with a wanted outlaw? Are his reasons in accord with his character as it has been developed?

8. Does the element of chance play too large a part in the plot? Along with such notable authors as Dickens and Hardy, Stevenson has on occasion been accused of depending too much on coincidence to work out his conclusions. Is there any justice in the claim?

Fred B. McEwen

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