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Exploring the main idea, themes, and conflicts in Treasure Island

Summary:

The main idea of Treasure Island revolves around a young boy's adventure in searching for buried pirate treasure. Key themes include the conflict between good and evil, the quest for adventure, and the moral ambiguity of piracy. Major conflicts involve Jim Hawkins' struggle against the pirates, particularly Long John Silver, and the internal battles of characters torn between loyalty and greed.

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What is the main idea of Treasure Island?

The main idea of Treasure Island is that while greed motivates the pirates' search for the treasure, for a young person like Jim Hawkins, who is coming of age, the journey for the treasure is the reward. Through the many perils he faces, Jim comes to a far greater maturity, courage, and wisdom than when he started out.

Jim begins as a timid young man who is easily frightened by the sailors and the stories they tell at his parents' inn. However, he has a taste for adventure, despite his fears, and goes off with them as a cabin boy. He learns the pirates' code of honor, and this becomes important to him. Throughout the story, we see Jim testing his mettle as he meets his fears and matures.

Jim faces reality and grows up when he realizes that Long John Silver, an authority figure he admires, is planning a mutiny. Jim shows his courage when he battles the mutineers at the stockade, and he shows his wits when he cuts the Hispaniola adrift and boards the ship alone to face the mutineers.

In the end, adventure and growth prove to be the valuable rewards of Jim's journey. He shows little interest in the treasure and, having matured as a person, he is ready to put his pirating days behind him. He ends his account with the thought,

The bar silver and the arms still lie, for all that I know, where Flint buried them; and certainly they shall lie there for me.

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What is the main theme of Treasure Island?

It might be a good idea to be a bit more specific as to what you need.  Have you searched the website?  There is a study guide for the novel. In terms of answering specific questions, that would probably be your best bet.

http://www.enotes.com/treasure-island

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What is the main conflict in Treasure Island?

The primary conflict in Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island is a simple one: Who will get to the buried treasure first? We never fully understand why Billy Bones never attempts to return for the loot himself, but it could have been because he was wary of being followed by his former mates. After Jim Hawkins and his mom find the map, Squire Trelawney agrees to finance the voyage and cut Jim in on the treasure. After the squire's loose lips spread the word around Bristol about the voyage for treasure, Long John Silver becomes the main adversary for the squire's men. Silver and the majority of the crew mutiny and, after several battles with the loyal crew, they head for the treasure. Unbeknownst to them all, Ben Gunn has been marooned there, and he has already found the treasure. Eventually, Ben teams up with Squire Trelawney's men; Silver's men turn on him; the squire's group returns to the ship with Gunn and the treasure--and Silver; and the remaining pirates are left behind. Gunn receives a small share; Silver steals a small amount before disappearing; and Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, and Jim return to England--rich men all.

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What is the main conflict in Treasure Island?

There are three types of conflicts in the novel that are all important. They are man vs. man, man vs. nature, and man vs. himself. These are all conflicts that Hawkins has. An example of man vs. man is Hawkins against Billy Bones. Man vs. nature is seen when Hawkins must navigate the strong currents of the island's narrow harbors. Hawkins also has some internal conflicts where he struggles with the choices he has to make. For example, Hawkins decides to abandon his crew. I'm not sure that one of these conflicts is more important than the others since they take place throughout the book and provide the challenges that Hawkins must face. For more detailed information, go to the link below.

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What is the main conflict in Treasure Island?

As in most great adventure novels, conflicts are many, and Treasure Island is no exception. There are many conflicts between the characters involved: Young Jim Hawkins must not only get over his fear of the pirates that surround him, but he must also decide whether Long John Silver can be trusted. Jim has a big decision to make when he decides to "desert" his companions in order to return and gain control of the ship. The doctor is forced to make a decision between his hate for the pirates and his medical obligations to treat his injured and wounded enemies. Later, the doctor agrees with the others when it comes time to strand the pirates on the island, but his humane nature determines that he must also leave them provisions in order to survive. Silver himself has to decide between remaining with his pirate comrades or quickly change sides to join the others when they find that the treasure has been removed. The captain and loyal crew must then decide whether to trust Silver when they allow him to join them against the other pirates.

Other conflicts include man against the natural elements, especially when Jim has to maneuver Ben Gunn's little boat before taking on the bigger challenge of handling the Hispaniola by himself.

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What is the main conflict in Treasure Island?

There are multiple man versus man conflicts throughout Treasure Island:

  • 'The Good Guys' versus the mutinous pirates--This is one of the most central man versus man conflicts in the novel, featuring the noble and well-meaning characters like Captain Smollett, Dr. Livesey, Trelawney, Jim Hawkins.  They must match wits against Long John Silver and his wily pirates at treasure hand.
  • Long John versus his own pirates--The pirates turn against Long John at the stockade and give him the 'black spot,' the pirates way of showing no confidence in his leadership.  Silver, ever crafty, is able to use the circumstantial fact that they drew the spot on a Bible page to redirect their attention.  The pirates turn on Silver again at the dig site when they find the empty treasure boxes.
  • Jim Hawkins versus Israel Hands--  In one of the most tense moments in the novel, Jim must escape from the murderous Israel aboard the Hispaniola.  Originally, Jim planned on sailing the Hispaniola to the beach for Captain Smollett, but Hands waylays him on the ship.  Jim threatens to shoot him from atop the mast, and Hands throws his knife, wounding Jim.  This is a true man versus man conflict in the novel, in which Jim must fight Hands for his life.
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What is the main conflict in Treasure Island?

Whether one could call it a minor conflict or not, I'd like to suggest that there's a constant tension between Long John Silver and his pirate crew. They say there's no honor among thieves, and that's certainly the case here. Silver's crew appear permanently on the brink of mutiny, and the captain is always having to maintain order among his shipmates. Long John Silver is a wonderfully complex character, and although he can often be pretty brutal at times, he's no sadist; he prefers persuasion to physical violence whenever possible. We see this in relation to Tom. Silver doesn't want to kill him, but he has no choice when the others kill Alan. The pirate captain must maintain control of his crew, even if it means resorting to brutal methods.

As an unregenerate pirate, Silver wants to get his hands on the treasure as much as anyone. But there's a certain honesty about him which sets him apart from the rest of his scurvy crew. Silver's men lack his intelligence and vision, as well as his overwhelming charisma. Yet, as the only thing that keeps them together is a desire for loot, they don't see the bigger picture, as it were, thinking they could always do a better job than their captain. So there's a constant simmering conflict between Long John Silver and his men, one that always threatens to culminate in the captain being forced to walk the plank.

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What is the main conflict in Treasure Island?

All good books have various conflicts - both major and minor. It is interesting that you want information on a minor conflict. Let me give you two of them. 

First, the main character, Jim Hawkins, is young. In the first few chapters he is a boy of twelve. He is easily frightened and at one point even runs to his mother. However, as the book progresses, he matures and becomes a young man. He bravely faces Silver and on a few occasions risks his own life. Therefore, one of the conflicts is internal. Will Jim be able to be a man with courage or remain a boy. In the end, he emerges as a mature young man. 

Another conflict is when Silver and Jim come to the treasure site; they realize that it is not there. The reader is in a state of confusion. What makes matters worse is that the men with Silver are furious and they want to mutiny or even worse kill Silver and Jim. The question of where the treasure is is resolved as the reader finds out that Ben took the treasure and moved it. 

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What is the theme of Treasure Island?

There are a number of prominent themes in Treasure Island.  All of the traditional conflict themes of man vs. man, man vs. nature, and man vs. himself are present.  Man vs. man is illustrated by the conflicts between Hawkins and Billy Bones and Long John Silver.  Man vs. nature is presented in Hawkins's struggles to navigate the Hispaniola as well as Ben Gunn's small boat.  Man vs. himself is evidenced in the difficult decisions Hawkins must make, such as when he must decide whether to desert his crew.

Honor is another important theme in the book, which applies to both the good guys and the bad guys.  Even the pirates, who murder and steal as a matter of course, have an unwritten code of behavior which they must follow, or else they lose face in the eyes of their peers.

An overall theme which is prominent in Treasure Island is the achievement of maturity, or coming of age.  Through his choices and experiences, Hawkins emerges at the end of the narrative a much more wise, confident, and courageous character than he was in the beginning.

Check out the enotes link below - it will provide you with a clear but comprehensive analysis of the themes in the book!

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How is the theme of greed portrayed in Treasure Island?

The treasure in Treasure Island is initially a concept only, represented by a map. The map itself is like a portal to gold’s power, and, like the ring in Lord of the Rings, Captain Flint’s map signifies a glittering objective, its particular allure subjective to its beholder. Jim sees it as an invitation to wild adventure and romance, as he’s been hitherto grounded at an inn with his mother. To Jim’s advisors, Dr. Livesey and Squire Trelawney, the map touches off an exploratory zeal: of course they’re driven to mount an expedition in an attempt to recover the sea chest.

To a lesser extent to that of the pirates, greed is an influencial force underscoring Jim’s and the upright adults’ visions. Jim realizes on the island that he’s been susceptible to flattery, by the “abominable old rogue” Silver, for example. He and the Squire and the Doctor are like the marks that a con man targets, exploited for their weakness.

And to Long John Silver and his motley crew, Flint’s treasure is one more conquest along the spectrum of life-or-death power struggle to massive pay-off that’s pretty much intrinsic to the whole pirating enterprise. As Silver says, “Lambs wasn’t the word for Flint’s old buccaneers.”

Here is is about gentlemen of fortune (Silver’s euphemism for pirates), they lives rough, and they risk swinging, they they eat and drink like fighting cocks, and when a cruise is done, why, it’s hundreds of pounds instead of hundreds of farthings in his pockets.

When splinter groups of mutinous crewmen plot, drunkenly betray and kill each other, it’s because of the loot at the heart of it. Silver is older, farsighted, and accustomed to treatury. But the actual material goal is less the point than what people are willing to do, or do to others, to aquire it.

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What is the theme of chapter 1 in Treasure Island?

The first chapter of Treasure Island establishes significant parts of the background, along with the protagonist and several other important characters. The main character, Jim Hawkins, is a teenage boy who helps his parents at the seaside inn they run. The adult male characters who are portrayed in strongly contrasting terms support a theme that there are many different ways to be a man.

Jim’s father is a conscientious, unimaginative, and rather mild-mannered man who is sick enough to need a doctor’s care. While his temperament is suited to taking care of guests, his reticence hampers his ability to collect payment and make the inn financially sound. The mysterious guest—the buccaneer of the chapter’s title, who will later be identified as Billy Bones—is ferocious, bold, and secretive and garrulous in turn. The third distinct type of man is represented by Doctor Livesey, a pleasant, bright-eyed man, who is as honest and straightforward as Mr. Hawkins. He greatly differs from the timid innkeeper in his forthright, self-assured demeanor. With only a few words and a look, the doctor—who is also a magistrate—silences the loud, long-winded pirate.

The chapter establishes how Jim is first exposed to the possibilities of adventure. The longer the old buccaneer stays at the inn, the less mysterious he seems; Jim grows less afraid and more intrigued. In the next few chapters, both his father and Bones will die, and Jim will be forced to make serious, adult-like decisions. As the novel develops, he sometimes regrets that he ever left home. By the end, he will come to value the kind of life that he once considered dull. Along with that new insight, he will also appreciate his father.

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