Treasure Island | Study Guide

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Treasure Island | Part 3, Chapter 15 : My Shore Adventure (The Man of the Island) | Summary



Someone or something is following Jim. When he first spies the creature, he's unsure if it is a bear, a man, or a monkey. Remembering that he has a gun, he confronts the creature, who is indeed a man. In a voice "like a rusty lock," he says his name is Ben Gunn and he's been marooned on this island for three years.

Gunn explains that he was a member of Flint's crew, sailing aboard the Walrus, when Flint buried his treasure on the island. Flint took six men ashore with him to help, but returned alone, having murdered the others. Gunn goes on to say that he later came across the island while serving on another ship. He told his shipmates about the treasure, but, though they searched for 12 days, no treasure was found. Furious, his shipmates left Gunn marooned with only a musket, a spade, and a pickaxe. He also discloses that he is rich.

Jim assures Gunn that Flint is dead, but his old crew, including Silver, is here and after the treasure. He explains his predicament, and Gunn promises to help him in return for some of the treasure and safe passage home.

Suddenly, the thunder of a cannon and responding gunfire alerts Jim that fighting has broken out. Jim and Gunn set off, running for the shore.


Further consequences of greed are highlighted when Jim meets Ben Gunn: isolation and madness. Gunn was a participant in the greedy plundering of ships and settlements that built up Flint's treasure. Later, he is marooned when his new shipmates' lust for gold is not satisfied. Now, he hints that he is rich, which suggests that he has found Flint's treasure, but it clearly is useless to him on an island. Half-mad with loneliness, he will give up the gold for safe passage home to England and a bite of toasted cheese.

Ben Gunn is one of several characters—first the doctor, then the squire, then Silver, and now Gunn—who take a liking to Jim, and in a sense adopt him. Gunn blesses Jim for being the first to find him, calls him a good boy, and swears, with all his riches, that he'll make a man of him.

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