Kidnapped | Study Guide

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Course Hero. "Kidnapped Study Guide." December 20, 2019. Accessed July 29, 2021. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Kidnapped/.

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Course Hero, "Kidnapped Study Guide," December 20, 2019, accessed July 29, 2021, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Kidnapped/.

Kidnapped | Chapter 11 : The Captain Knuckles Under | Summary

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Summary

In the early morning Alan cleans his coat carefully and plucks off a button for David, telling him that he should show the button wherever he goes to receive aid from "the friends of Alan Breck." Shortly thereafter, Mr. Riach appears on the deck to ask for a negotiation. Alan and the captain negotiate a deal to end the fighting: Captain Hoseason will drop Alan in his home country, despite the dangerous waters on the coast, and Alan will pay him 60 guineas. They also exchange a bottle of liquor from the roundhouse for two buckets of water from the sailors's quarters.

Analysis

Alan's gift to David of his silver button signifies his indebtedness to David and the new bond between them. David can see that this gift is especially meaningful to Alan because Alan takes such good care of his fine coat, but he does not yet understand its value. David does not comprehend the fierce loyalty among families and clans in the highlands, and he does not know how well regarded Alan is there.

For Alan, the offering amounts to giving away a piece of himself. Alan inherited the buttons from his father, and he is quite attached to them. He is identifiable by the buttons, as he proves later when he uses one to communicate with John Breck. The offering constitutes a bond of loyalty and a willingness to protect David, suggesting that Alan offers his life on behalf of David's. David saved Alan's life, and Alan's gift of the button marks that debt with the pledge of a deep personal bond.

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