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In Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson Uses Heroic Role Models, Motifs, and Symbols to Show How Detrimental Greed Is

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In Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson uses heroic role models, motifs, and symbols to show how detrimental greed is.

I. Introduction

II. Coming of age

III. Motifs

A. Solitude

B. Animals

C. The Color Black

IV. Symbols

A. The Treasure Map

B. Rum

C. The Coracle

V. Conclusion

Cody Brightwell Brightwell 2

English IV

Mrs Hanchey


Treasure Island

In Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson uses coming of age, motifs, and symbols to show how detrimental greed is in his novel. Through his coming of age theme he brings a new light to how a person becomes a man. Stevenson as well uses motifs to represent different things such as animals and different colors. Also Stevenson uses Symbols to show the audience exactly what he pictured in his mind when he wrote his novel. These themes truly bring the book to a new light. He also wants to show the reader the consequences of greed, and what devastating affects it can have on ones you love and trust.

One of the most prominent themes in Treasure Island is coming of age. We see that in the beginning of the novel Jim is just a normal boy living with his parents in their inn. However by the time the novel is concluded, Jim is a young boy that has faced death, sailed the seas with pirates and even killed some men. Sorfleet describes Jim in Treasure Island by saying,

"Jim leaves his mother behind and goes on a successful quest for treasure.... During which the semi orphaned hero makes a long journey to an unknown land, uncovers treachery, gains allies, learns skills and is tested. He wins both respect and praise for his bravery and sense of honor."

Brightwell 2

Jim's voyage to the island is a journey from youth to manhood. He was once a very "ignorant child", but he soon learned to fend for himself and do things that his parents at once had to do (Sorfleet 1).

Another theme that is referred to in Treasure Island is the solitude motif. Jim is constantly alone during this novel. Although Jim is with people sometimes, these moments surround moments of solitude. For instance, Jim is in solitude when he meets Pew, the pirate who delivers the black spot the solitude acts as a safe place for Jim. He needs this to escape from his reality and his fears. He is also alone when he meets Ben Gunn in the woods and learns the directions to the treasure (Stevenson). Throughout the novel, Jim's times of solitude show his self-reliance and show he matures. However, the solitude may also have a downside. Jim's decisions to do things on his own rather than part of a group, might be what makes Smollett tell him they will never sail together again. Jim may be too independent to ever be a good sailor (Phillips 1).

Another motif included in the novel is animals. Animals are constantly used to represent the pirates in the novel. The parrot that sits on Long John Silver's shoulder is used to represent the pirate's inhumanity (Phillips 1). Stevens speaks of the parrot saying, "From trunk to trunk the creature flitted like a deer, running manlike on two legs, but unlike any man that I had ever seen, stooping almost double as it ran" (Stevens chap 15). The parrot is referred to here like a man. The pirates resemble other animals too. In chapter eleven the pirates climb over a stockade fence and Stevenson compares them to monkeys (Stevens chap 11). I believe he compares them to animals to refer to the savage nature that Stevenson wanted to bring out. Another example would be when Jim first sees

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the ex-pirate Ben Gunn in Chapter fifteen; he says he was a "creature ... like a deer." (Stevens 15). Another example of an animal motif is when Jim sees the pirates that captured him. When Jim sees the pirates Stevenson says, "like as many sheep," (Stevens chap 28) suggesting that the pirates are subhuman creatures (Phillips 1).

The color black is another common motif that is brought about during his novel referring to the pirates. When Jim creeps among the sleeping pirates, he proceeds "where the darkness was thickest," (Stevens) an image that likens the pirates to chunks of blackness (Phillips 1). Also the pirates use black spots to mark their victims. Stevens talks about black spots saying, "And now, shipmates, this black spot? 'Tain't much good now, is it? Dick's crossed his luck and spoiled his Bible, and that's about all" (Stevens chap 24). Most of the times Jim encounters the pirates is during the dark of night or during thick fog. The color black influences the novel in a dark way.

Another unique theme that encourages the novel to be swayed in a darker light is the symbol of the treasure map. The Map symbolizes adventure. When Jim received procession of the map his crazy adventure began. The map was



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