Treasure Island | Study Guide

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Treasure Island | Part 3, Chapter 13 : My Shore Adventure (How My Shore Adventure Began) | Summary

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Summary

By the next morning, the ship is close enough to the island to afford Jim a better look. It is far from the island paradise of his imagination, with melancholy, gray-colored woods and wild, spire-like hills of naked rock. In fact, from his first look at it, Jim hates the very thought of Treasure Island.

Because there is no wind, the men must haul the ship by boats to the place of safe anchorage. There is a marked change in their demeanor. Their past brisk willingness to work deteriorates into grumbling. Seeing the change in mood, Captain Smollett decides to help him out by giving the men permission to go ashore for the afternoon. The longer a confrontation can be delayed, the better.

Silver makes the arrangements, leaving six of his men aboard while the rest take boats to shore. Quietly, Captain Smollett issues pistols to the honest men and lets them in on the buccaneers' plot. As the boats are leaving, Jim on impulse stows away in one.

Analysis

There is nothing cheerful about this chapter. The island is dismal to look at and smells unhealthy, the day is gloomy, the mood of the men is ominous, and even Silver is worried that things are going wrong. As the mood among the buccaneers darkens and the crisis builds, Captain Smollett proves his worth. He assesses the situation, recognizes the danger, discerns Silver's intention to maintain control of the mutiny, and uses it to avert a confrontation.

Jim's reckless behavior in stowing away on the boat is the first of many such incidents. Without thought he leaves his companions and never considers the consequences. There is safety in numbers, and now the honest party has been split up. Even so, Dr. Livesey will eventually admit that, while Jim has often acted impulsively and broken the rules, "Every step, it's you that saves our lives." But now there is grave danger in Jim's stunt, foreshadowed by Silver's shout of "Jim! Jim!" For reasons as yet unknown, Silver is anxious that the boy not run off by himself.

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