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Treasure Island: Who Is Long John Silver?

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Treasure Island: Who is Long John Silver?

Treasure Island us a classic adventure story, featuring an ordinary boy, Jim

Hawkins, who is transported to a treacherous world of pirates and buried treasure. Jim's

adventures begin when he and his mother discover a pirate map in the chest of Billy

Bones, a guest at their lodging-house. Jim's experiences on the ship Hispaniola and on

Treasure Island test his resourcefulness and teach him important lessons about loyalty and

physical courage. Long John Silver is the book's most powerful and developed character,

one whose motivation is believable but not ambiguous and whose complexity makes

Treasure Island a true work of genius. Silver is much more than a character type; he is a

genuine individual who is attractive and repellent, frightening, sympathetic, and always

compelling.

Robert Louis Stevenson is the author of Treasure Island along with many other

books such as Kidnapped, Dr. Jeykll and Mr. Hyde, and many more. He is known for

many of central themes and significance/symbols of main characters. In this case Long

John Silver is the main character, most likely the antagonist of the book. Long John Silver

is the cook on the voyage to Treasure Island. Silver is the secret ringleader of the pirate

band. His physical and emotional strength is impressive. Silver is deceitful and disloyal,

greedy and visceral, and does not care about human relations. Yet he is always kind

toward Jim and genuinely fond of the boy. Silver is a powerful mixture of charisma and

self-destructiveness, individualism and recklessness. Through out the book, Long John

Silver meets and establish a somewhat relationship with Jim Hawkins. Jim Hawkins is the

first-person narrator of almost the entire novel. Jim is the son of an innkeeper near Bristol,

England, and is probably in his early teens. He is eager and enthusiastic to go to sea and

hunt for treasure. He is a modest narrator, never boasting of the remarkable courage and

heroism he consistently displays. Jim is often impulsive and impetuous, but he exhibits

increasing sensitivity and wisdom.

Despite Silver's formidable and frightening appearance, he is quick to inspire trust

in those who meet him. Captain Smollet and Dr. Livesey both have great confidence in

Silver's character at the outset of the voyage. His friendliness and politeness never seem

fake, deceitful, or manipulative. Silver describes himself as a "gentleman of fortune," a

term that, while clearly a euphemism for "pirate," does emphasize something genuinely

gentlemanly about Silver. When Livesey requests a private chat with the hostage Jim, the

other pirates protest loudly, but Silver allows it because he trusts a gentleman like Livesey.

This trust on Silver's part seems noble and real. Additionally, the affection between Silver

and Jim seems sincere from the very beginning. Though Jim is a mere cabin boy, Silver

speaks to him fondly; toward the end of the trip, he remarks that Jim reminds him of

himself when he was young and handsome. Likewise, Jim publicly calls Silver "the best

man here," and his wish for Silver's happiness in the last paragraphs of the novel is

sincere. Overall, Silver's behavior indicates that he is more than a mere hoodlum. There is

something valuable in him for Jim's development, as the name "Silver" suggests.

Unlike the other characters, Silver is presented in specifies such as his age,

appearance, and brief history. He seems to be the only one who seems to have a life and a

bit of a background outside of the novel. Most likely he has a past and a future for his

there is actual text. And he is most likely to be the only character who is presented against

type; Jim describes his as "intelligent and smiling...clean and pleasant tempered"

(Stevenson, 94). Silver was very different from other pirates or what Jim thinks pirates

should be. Silver, later in the story, convinces Jim, and perhaps the reader, that he is not

Billy Bones, "the seafaring man with one leg". The way he convinces the reader and Jim is

by sending runners out of his tavern after Black Dog and going back with Jim to report on

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