Robert Louis Stevenson's novel, Treasure Island, is a fast-paced adventure tale about a boy developing into an adult and coming to terms with the presence of evil in the world. Jim Hawkins is first portrayed as a naïve and innocent child. Throughout his adventures with Long John Silver, he matures into a heroic young man. Before the pirates enter Jim's life he lives with his parents in a small secluded inn that they own and operate. Up to this point he has lived a fairly sheltered life, completely devoid of adventure or excitement.
The beginning of Jim's pirate adventure is marked by the settling of Billy Bones at the Admiral Benbow Inn. Bones is an old pirate seeking a safe place to live out the rest of his life in peace. Bones gives Jim a silver fourpenny each month, for which he must watch for a one-legged seafaring man. Jim is terrified of the one-legged man, but this does not stop him from engaging in the bargain. However, he is not afraid of the captain. He enjoys listening to the captain's nautical tales of danger and adventure.
Bones soon has an unexpected visitor an old shipmate, by the name of Black Dog. They get into a fight and Bones throws a knife at Black Dog. The knife misses its mark and comes to rest in the sign of the Admiral Benbow Inn. This symbolizes the peril the pirates bring into Jim's life. The sign (like Jim) is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and is damaged by the ferocity of the pirates. The notch remains in the sign, leaving a permanent defect in a once innocent unmarred object.
Not long after, Jim encounters the old blind man, Pew. He is the epitome of fright. At first he seems harmless, but as Jim steps towards him, Pew ...
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...ls that Silver still haunts his dreams but he is no longer afraid of him. Jim will never be able to escape the memory of Long John Silver. One must wonder- would he even want to? Silver has had a remarkable effect on Jim. Although many view Silver as evil, Jim sees through his rough edges to the inner good in him. Jim admires Silver for his bravery and charisma, traits that Silver passes to Jim during their time together. Jim has become a better person through his encounter with the pirates. Having never met Long John Silver, Jim would still be the timid child helping his mother at the protected country Inn. Jim has attained the skills needed to survive in a hostile world. He owes much of his maturity to lessons he learned from Silver and the other pirates.
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Treasure Island. Pennsylvania: The Franklin Library, 1984.
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