Topics for Discussion

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1. Readers have noticed Stevenson's fascination with duplicity. In what ways do various forms of duplicity play a large part in the novel?

2. David and Alan have been judged by some critics as two parts of a whole, rounded person. How are they shown to have opposite and also complementary qualities? Do these traits truly "fit" together?

3. What does the episode of David's stay on the island contribute to the story? What aspects of his personality does it emphasize?

4. What seems to be the Highlanders' chief motivation in maintaining their loyalties to a lost cause?

5. The visit to the cave of Cluny Macpherson is not integral to the plot, but it enriches the characterization of both David and Alan. How?

6. David tells himself several times, especially after the murder of Colin Campbell, that he would be better off escaping alone than with Alan, who is suspected of the murder. Why does he not at least propose the separation to his friend?

7. Stevenson is known for his love of setting. How do the various locations, particularly in the Highlands, add to the force and vigor of the events?

8. Do the reasons for the quarrel between David and Alan seem valid? Is the settlement of the dispute readily believable? Why?

9. At the conclusion of the narrative, several matters remain unresolved, such as Alan's escape and the murder mystery. Is the ending satisfactory?

10. David is repelled by bloodshed, yet he sees plenty of it and even causes some himself. How can his revulsion be reconciled with his active participation, especially on the ship?

11. Stevenson believed strongly in the element of chance in human life. How much of a part does accident play in the plot of Kidnapped? Do these events seem credible?

12. Can one believe Ebenezer Balfour's extreme miserliness and excessive attention to security in view of the probable reasons that he became this type of miserable person?

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