Treasure Island | Study Guide

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Treasure Island | Quotes


Fifteen men on the dead man's chest–/Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!/Drink and the devil had done for the rest–/Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum.

Billy Bones, Part 1, Chapter 1

Billy Bones arrives at the Admiral Benbow Inn singing this chant, which foreshadows events to come. The chant is repeated throughout the story, and Jim notes that, by the end, "Drink and the devil" had, indeed, played a role in finishing off the pirates.


I wish I had put his eyes out!

Pew, Part 1, Chapter 5

The blind pirate Pew is furious to learn that the treasure map possessed by Billy Bones is not among the dead pirate's belongings at the Admiral Benbow Inn. Certain that Jim Hawkins has taken it, Pew is possessed by anger and greed. He curses the boy and wishes he had made Jim as blind as himself when he had the chance.


I'll be as silent as the grave.

Squire Trelawney, Part 1, Chapter 6

Dr. Livesey, Squire Trelawney, and Jim Hawkins are making plans to retrieve the gold on Treasure Island. The doctor voices doubts that the squire can keep secret the treasure map and the purpose of their voyage when off purchasing a ship and hiring a crew. In response, the squire assures him that he will not breathe a word that might endanger the cruise. As it turns out, the doctor was right, and the squire can't help but let the story leak.


I don't put much faith in your discoveries, as a general thing; but I will say this, John Silver suits me.

Dr. Livesey, Part 2, Chapter 8

Dr. Livesey is complimenting Squire Trelawney on finding and hiring Long John Silver as sea cook for the voyage. The doctor has just met Silver. The man has come to him and the squire to "confess" the presence of a villainous pirate, Black Dog, in his tavern, as witnessed by Jim Hawkins. Silver's apparent openness and honesty falsely impresses the doctor.


Well, sir ... better speak plain ... I don't like this cruise; I don't like the men; and I don't like my officer. That's short and sweet.

Captain Smollett, Part 2, Chapter 9

As the voyage gets underway, Captain Smollett informs Squire Trelawney that, in his opinion, the cruise is in for trouble. Someone has been "blabbing," and the crew knows about the purpose and destination of the trip. Furthermore, none among the crew are men he would have picked and may be untrustworthy, especially on a treasure voyage. The captain's fears turn out to be well founded.


Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!

Cap'n Flint, Part 2, Chapter 10

Long John Silver's parrot, Cap'n Flint, screams out this name for an old Spanish silver dollar. It calls to mind all forms of pirate treasure, and haunts Jim Hawkins's dreams long after he leaves Treasure Island behind. Jim first hears the parrot's cry aboard the Hispaniola during the cruise to the island. Later, in Chapter 27, it is this cry in the dark that alerts the pirates to Jim's return to the stockade.


There was some that was feared of Pew, and some that was feared of Flint; but Flint his own self was feared of me.

Long John Silver, Part 2, Chapter 11

Aboard the Hispaniola, Long John Silver is plotting mutiny with Israel Hands and Dick, while Jim Hawkins listens, hidden in an apple barrel. Jim learns that Silver was the buccaneer Flint's first mate and Pew's crewmate. It is his tip-off that Silver is not who or what he appears to be.


Dead men don't bite.

Israel Hands, Part 2, Chapter 11

As Long John Silver, Israel Hands, and Dick plot mutiny aboard the Hispaniola, Hands quotes his old shipmate Billy Bones. It was Bones's way of saying it's better to kill a potential enemy than to leave him alive to harm you later. Hands repeats the saying in Chapter 26, when he is planning to murder Jim Hawkins, and Jim repeats it as a threat before killing Hands in self-defense.


It's a pleasant thing to be young, and have ten toes, and you may lay to that.

Long John Silver, Part 2, Chapter 12

The island has come into view. As Long John Silver gazes at it, he describes to Jim Hawkins the great fun that awaits him, climbing, swimming, and exploring. Nostalgia for the time when he could have done the same creeps into his speech. Incongruously, this wistful statement is made shortly after Jim overhears what Silver and the other mutineers plan for him and his friends.


I scarce can say it was by my own volition, and I am sure it was without conscious aim.

Jim Hawkins, Part 5, Chapter 26

Jim Hawkins is describing the moment he shoots Israel Hands. Hands has pinned Jim's shoulder to the mizzenmast with a knife and is climbing up to kill him. In self-defense Jim fires his pistols. As often occurs throughout the novel, there is a spontaneous element in his action that suggests fate has had a hand in the event.


I no more fear you than I fear a fly. Kill me, if you please, or spare me.

Jim Hawkins, Part 6, Chapter 28

Jim Hawkins courageously stands up to the pirates who have taken him hostage. Boldly, he reveals that he has been behind the failure of their plans all along. He feels sure they intend to kill him and stands up to them in a way that reflects his growing maturity.


There's never a man looked me between the eyes and seen a good day a'terward.

Long John Silver, Part 6, Chapter 28

Long John Silver decides that Jim Hawkins should be kept hostage—that the pirates can use him when bargaining with Jim's friends. When pirate Tom Morgan draws a knife, intent on killing Jim anyway, Silver stops him with this reminder that no man has ever tried to dominate or stand against him and lived.


My heart was sore for him, wicked as he was, to think on the dark perils that environed and the shameful gibbet that awaited him.

Jim Hawkins, Part 6, Chapter 29

Jim Hawkins sees that Long John Silver is playing a risky game, trying to please and pacify his pirate gang while looking for a way to make peace with Jim's friends and save his own life. Knowing the dangers this involves, Jim feels sorry for Silver, especially since his life most likely will come to an end with hanging. What Jim knows about Silver and his conniving and murderous ways is in conflict with what he feels. There's a likeable side to the man that Jim cannot ignore and which stirs feelings of pity.


There is a kind of fate in this ... Every step, it's you that saves our lives.

Dr. Livesey, Part 6, Chapter 30

While Jim Hawkins is still the pirates' captive, he is able to disclose to Dr. Livesey the full story of his adventures after leaving the stockade. The doctor learns that once again Jim has achieved something that can save them: he has eliminated Israel Hands, retrieved the Hispaniola, and beached the ship safely in a secret location. Throughout the story Jim's impulsive actions and mistakes seem to turn out for the best, as if fate has had a hand in it.


Oxen and wain-ropes would not bring me back again to that accursed island.

Jim Hawkins, Part 6, Chapter 34

This thought is among the last that Jim Hawkins expresses about Treasure Island. He knows that more treasure is still buried on the island, but the nightmarish events that took place there still haunt him. Even if he was tied by cart rope to several oxen, they could not drag him back to that dreadful place.

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