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The Impacts of Robert Louis Stevenson

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The Impacts of Robert Louis Stevenson

The life and novels of Robert Louis Stevenson have impacted the world's culture, literature, and entertainment. Many things that many people take for granted came from the life and novels of Robert Louis Stevenson. He has had an impact on the entertainment industry such as movies, hotels, toys, and even casinos named after his work. Many of the entertainment items were originated after his death by people buying marketing rights from Stevenson's children. His literature such as Treasure Island and Kidnapped created a cultural phenomenon to millions of children and adults reading the wonderful novels.

Stevenson's life has had an impact on the world. Had he not lived, the world would have missed out on many great things. "Stevenson was born November 13, 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland" (Bassett, "Stevenson", 897). His parents' names are Thomas and Margaret Isabella Balfour Stevenson. Thomas and Margaret named their only child Robert Louis Stevenson. Thomas Stevenson, who is Robert's father, is quite a great storyteller himself. Margaret, his mother, focuses on their only child by telling stories. "Stevenson was a sickly boy who suffered from a lung disease that later developed into tuberculosis" (Bassett, "Stevenson", 897). He has to adapt and deal with his sickness throughout his short life. As Stevenson grows older he reacts to his religious education and to the stiffness of his family's middle-class values, but that rebellion would surface only after he enters Edinburgh University. In November 1867, Stevenson enters Edinburgh University to study engineering. Instead of concentrating on academic work, he makes himself busy in learning how to write. He tries to copy the styles of William Hazlitt, Sir Thomas Browne, Daniel Defoe, Charles Lamp, and Michel de Montaigne. Stevenson writes many novels that are well known today. His first piece of writing affects the Edinburgh University School (Dictionary of Literary Biography). He has contributed several papers to the short-lived Edinburgh University Magazine, which is entitled "The Philosophy of Umbrellas" (Dictionary of Literary Biography). The most significant work from his student days was "On a New Form of Intermittent Light for Lighthouses," a scientific piece that describes the economical combination of revolving mirrors and oil-burning lamps. He read it before the Royal Scottish Society of Arts on March 27, 1871 and receives the society's Silver Medal. Two weeks later he has a walk with his father. He declines to follow the family profession of engineering. He wants to become a writer. Thomas Stevenson told the young man to study law. In 1875, he received a law degree he barely used (Dictionary of Literary Biography).

Robert Louis Stevenson writes two major novels, Treasure Island and Kidnapped, which become instant children's classics. Kidnapped is one of Stevenson's major novels. "Set in the aftermath of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, Kidnapped sustains a gripping narrative. It is told by David Balfour, a young Whig and Lowlander, who is tricked by his miserly uncle, survives attempted murder, kidnaps, and shipwreck and, in the company of Alan Breck, a Jacobit, escapes through the Highlands" (Stevenson, Kidnapped, 233). After writing Kidnapped in 1886, people well known like Mark Twain admires Stevenson's novel Kidnapped. Mark Twain wrote to Stevenson "My wife keeps re-reading Kidnapped and neglecting my works. And I have not blamed her. I do it myself" (Stevenson, The Complete Stories, vii). Mark Twain his statement in a letter gives Stevenson praise and also shows his own jealousy. The major theme in Kidnapped is good conquers evil. The minor themes are in the struggle for existence, the fit will survive. David must fight all kinds of odds to survive and return to Scotland to expose his uncle and his cruel plot. Many people learn many life lessons by reading the novel Kidnapped. Kidnapped affects the world through children reading the novel and making it an instant classic. It first appears in 1886 as a children's tale. The story is published in issues of a boy's adventure magazine called Young Folks. David Balfour's adventures create enough thrill, excitement, and suspense to become a children's classic almost immediately.

Kidnapped affects the entertainment industry in the movie business. Even after Stevenson's death on December 4, 1894 (Jason and Magill, Critical Survey, 11), Disney studio brings his book to life. The impact of Stevenson's novel Treasure Island brings together Oscar winner Peter Finch (Network) stars as the Alan Breck, and James Mac Arthur as David Balour. Kidnapped, the movie, came out in 1976, which becomes an instant Disney classic.

Kidnapped also has an impact on the comic industry. Marvel Comics came out with the comic book named Kidnapped in 1977. The comic book contains 52 pages with each page in color with no ads. This comic is rarely seen on Ebay for ten dollars.

Stevenson's best-known novel is Treasure Island. This is "Stevenson's first full-length work of fiction, Treasure Island, which was published in 1883 and brought him great fame" (Stevenson, Treasure Island, 1). The story is the triumph of good over evil. The men of law saved the treasure from the pirates. Their safe return also records Jim's journey from a young kid to a responsible person. Treasure Island affects the entertainment business. There have been many attempts to remake the novel into a movie. The movie Treasure Island, directed by Byron Haskin, came out in 1950 and has affected the world in a minor way. It caused millions of children and parents to flock to the movie theater to see a novel brought to life. One of the latest Treasure Island remakes is Muppet Treasure Island. This movie opens in theaters February 14, 1996 and grossed thirty-four million dollars. USA Today gives it three out of four stars. USA Today says "...Kermit looks quite dashing in his captain's uniform, and Miss Piggy gives Dorothy Lamour a run for her sarong as a jungle goddess worshipped by wild boars..." (Wloszczyna, USA Today).

Treasure Island affects the world through a key quote in the book, "Fifteen men on a dead man's chest Yo-yo-ho, and a bottle of rum!" (Stevenson, Treasure Island, 1). This quote is well known by millions even a century later. Long after Stevenson's death MGM Entertainment creates a hotel in Las Vegas that is named after Treasure Island, which earns millions each year. This building is visited by thousands, and seen by millions driving past it each year. The name of this building is Treasure Island Hotel and Casino.

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