Kidnapped | Study Guide

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Course Hero. "Kidnapped Study Guide." December 20, 2019. Accessed July 23, 2021. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Kidnapped/.

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Course Hero, "Kidnapped Study Guide," December 20, 2019, accessed July 23, 2021, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Kidnapped/.

Kidnapped | Chapter 1 : I Set Off Upon My Journey to the House of Shaws | Summary

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Summary

In June 1751 David Balfour's father has recently passed away. After taking care of all of his father's affairs, David decides to set out on a journey for greener pastures. As he leaves the house, the minister of his hometown—Mr. Campbell—gives him a message from his father that David should go to his relatives in the house of Shaws, near the town of Cramond, as well as a letter of introduction to Ebenezer Balfour, Esquire, of the house of Shaws. David decides he will go to the house of Shaws and try to obtain his relatives's help to make his way in the world.

Analysis

David is introduced as a respectable young man who is seeking adventure. His discussions with the minister before he leaves inform the reader that David has a good character, is a faithful Protestant, and is well-liked by respectable men in his community. On the other hand, he is ready to break free of his small town. Before he received the letter from Mr. Campbell, he was already planning to leave his small town in an effort to make a career elsewhere. David leaves his home by choice; he heads toward the house of Shaws only because he hopes that some relatives might help to launch him in a career. In the 1700s it was common to rely on personal connections in order to secure employment, so David was making a rational choice. However, his choice to take a chance by seeking out relatives whom he has never heard of, much less met, reflects his adventurous spirit. Ultimately, the adventure that David eventually takes is a much longer and more dangerous one than he had expected.

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