Treasure Island | Study Guide

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Treasure Island | Part 4, Chapter 17 : The Stockade (The Jolly-Boat's Last Trip) | Summary



For the final journey to shore, the jolly-boat is dangerously overloaded with goods and five men. In addition the boat is fighting the changing current, which threatens to drive it to where the pirates' boats are beached. To make matters worse, the mutineers aboard the Hispaniola are preparing to fire the ship's cannon at them.

The captain requests that Mr. Trelawney, who is the best shot, pick off one of the mutineers near the cannon—"Hands, if possible." Unfortunately, Hands stoops down at the last second, and another man is hit. On land the sound brings pirates pouring out of the woods, and there's no time to waste getting the jolly-boat around a protective spit of land and to shore. As they turn to avoid a cannon shot, the small boat sinks in three feet of water, taking the provisions down with it.


As with the previous chapter, the full title of this one includes the explanation: Narrative Continued by the Doctor. Once again, the ever-steady and reliable Captain Smollett shows he's a good man in a crisis. His quick-thinking strategy to save the jolly-boat from cannon fire saves everyone's life. The sinking of the boat is unavoidable.

Given the chance to redeem himself, Squire Trelawney grabs it: he never balks at the assignment to take a shot at the mutineers and is cool and calm as he takes aim at Israel Hands from the jolly-boat.

Like every chapter, this ends in a cliff-hanger—a reminder that the story was originally printed as a serial in Young Folks magazine.

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