Treasure Island | Study Guide

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Treasure Island | Part 4, Chapter 18 : The Stockade (End of the First Day's Fighting) | Summary

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Summary

The doctor continues his narrative, describing the rush to reach the stockade. As he and the others arrive, seven mutineers led by Job Anderson appear "in full cry." The squire and the doctor, as well as Hunter and Joyce from inside the stockade, return fire, killing one man. The others scatter. Then a shot rings out and Tom Redruth falls. Though he hangs on a little while, his wound is mortal and he dies.

The captain takes Dr. Livesey aside to discuss their situation. It seems they cannot depend on a rescue ship arriving in time, rations are short, and they are outnumbered. All seems so bleak, that the captain sits down to record their last stand. Then a shout from outside the stockade brightens the moment. It's Jim, climbing over the palisade.

Analysis

End of the First Day's Fighting; Narrative Continued by the Doctor is the full title of this last entry by Dr. Livesey.

The day's victory over the mutineers takes a dark turn when Tom Redruth is fatally wounded. Now Squire Trelawney's greed for gold—though he had no ill-intent—ends in the death of a faithful servant.

The virtues of duty and honor play a strong role in these events. Joyce and Hunter—the men positioned inside and guarding the stockade—stand firm and do their duty when the pirates attack. Abraham Gray, when handed a cutlass, makes it clear that he is prepared to do his duty and use it. After Redruth's death, Captain Smollett offers Squire Trelawney words of comfort, assuring him that "a hand that's been shot down in his duty" has nothing to fear after death. Dr. Livesey also pays tribute to Redruth's courage and devotion to duty. Finally, when the captain hoists the flag over the stockade, he keeps it there as a point of honor, even though the mutineers are using it to guide their cannon balls.

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