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Treasure Island is an epic adventure: a tale of pirates, treasure, and exploration of an unknown and mysterious island. Throughout the course of the book, many lessons are learned that give the reader advice so he/she can better survive in the real world. The literal Treasure Island itself represents the world in which we live, a world with many hazards and scattered rewards to be found. The bookís most important lesson to be learned though, is that a solid command of the language and knowing when to use it can make life much easier for a person. Although this story takes place centuries before our time now, this useful lesson found in it can still be applied to our lives today.
This story is so realistic in its context of the time and its superb character dialogues, that it is very easy for the reader to be transported right in the middle of that age, and right in the company of sea-faring pirates. The authorís vivid descriptions of Jim, the main character and narrator, the many Pirates and other characters he comes across during his adventures are painstakingly detailed. You can see young Jim's eager and excited face when he finds out he is going on a treasure hunt. You can also easily picture the rips and bloodstained rags of the pirates, and smell the foul alcohol on their breaths. The description of the island itself is extremely detailed also, and it seems like the author was looking straight off a geographical map when he wrote the in-depth account of it.
However deep these descriptions of setting and character pull you into the plot, the dialogue the author places in the story is what makes the story more impressive and impossible to escape. It is so captivating and original to us because we hardly ever hear it, and the phrases are very creative. An example is this quote from Long John Silver: " But for two year before that, shiver my timbers! the man was starving. He begged, and he stole, and he cut throats, and starved at that, by the powers!" The colorful language of the book even had me repeating phrases such as this one long after I had finished reading it.
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The Character Long John Silver displays this theme often throughout the story. He uses a loud, strong tone when talking to everyone, and often graciously flatters Jim and the others, leaving a wonderful impression on them. However, Silver is soon found out to be a scoundrel with plans of murder and mutiny in order to get the treasure for himself. Davies also says," To be apt in quotation is a splendid and dangerous gift. Splendid, because it ornaments a man's speech with other men's jewels; dangerous, for the same reason. "
In the case of Long John Silver, an apt use of quotation only worked for his good, and he was the storyís villain! That is another reason I love this book. Silver is so unpredictable and seemingly trustworthy in the opening chapters of the book, and then turns the readerís feelings toward him completely around when his mutinous plot is discovered by young Jim. Not only that, but he then works his way back to the readerís good side, although not completely with the remembrance of his previously exposed evil plot still fresh on the minds of the reader. Now that is a realistic character, and one that the reader can usually associate with one of his/her own acquaintances.
As the story progresses, Long John still does not let go of his major weapon, words. When his fellow pirates get discouraged and ready to give up, he raises their spirits and they carry on. He eloquently makes treaties and proposals to Jim and his friends to work out differences between the pirates and the good guys. His crew is even ready to kill him at one time, and he smoothly talks them out of it and restores their confidence in him. In the end, Silver saves Jimís life, and then talks his way into going home with the good guys. What a powerful way he had with words and we can learn much from his example in using words to better our situations in any event.
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Treasure Island. 21 November 2000. <http://www.learnlibrary.com/book/stevenson/treasure-island/>
Kuchling, Andrew. "Robertson Davies: Quotations." 12 October 2000. 16 November 2000. <http://www.amk.ca/davies/robertson-davies.html>.