Treasure Island

ISBN: 0689854684
ISBN 13: 9780689854682
By: Robert Louis Stevenson N.C. Wyeth Timothy Meis

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Adventure Childrens Classic Classics Currently Reading Favorites Fiction Historical Fiction To Read Young Adult

About this book

Jim Hawkins has led an ordinary life as an innkeeper's son until the day he inadvertently discovers a treasure map in a trunk belonging to an old sea captain, and thus, suddenly, his ordinary life turns into the extraordinary adventure of a lifetime. Jim and his companions decide to follow the map to the coast of South America to find their fortune, but their plans run awry when they discover that the ship's crew is comprised primarily of pirates -- out to claim the treasure as their own! If he ever wants to return home, Jim must outsmart Long John Silver and his gang, using all the cunning he can muster to come up with a plan to defeat the pirates, and to find the treasure in this swashbuckling tale that has thrilled readers for more than one hundred years. Carefully abridged for younger readers, this third addition to the Scribner Storybook Classic line, with striking illustrations by N. C. Wyeth, revitalizes Robert Louis Stevenson's acclaimed tale of adventure, danger, and suspense.

Reader's Thoughts

Anzu The Great Destroyer

Never trust a pirate.I really love pirates… even though I try to ignore the fact that they’re dirty, rapists, murderers, alcoholics, thieves… aaah many bad things but still, I like the concept so here I am reading this book. Since it’s summer I tend to go towards these stories. One of my wishes is to become a pirate for a determinate amount of time. I’d love to sail away for a while with Jack Sparrow… I know, who doesn’t love Jack Sparrow? *daydreams*After reading… and reading… and reading some more I decided that this wasn’t what I expected. I was looking for more adventure and the book was lacking it. I decided to finish it though because it’s a classic and all but I do admit that I made a mistake with this one. Robert Louis Stevenson just takes the fun out of the story. It had potential and it all went to Hell. So thanks Mr. Stevenson, you did a good job on this one. Oh and seriously if you have trouble falling asleep or anything just grab Treasure Island, it’ll cure your insomnia damn easily.Heh I couldn’t help myself and I had to make this advertisement. Hell, here I come!I don’t want to be mean and give it a bad review but the story is mediocre. I know it’s a classic and all and I shouldn’t be expecting comic book action but I can’t help feeling bored with it. Call me names but I can’t give it a good score. It would be a lie. The keyword for this book? Lifeless.Read this review on ZombieHazard.

Amy

I read this book alongside my son, who had been assigned Treasure Island for summer reading. While not necessarily the kind of fiction I typically choose, it was certainly entertaining, however, there *were* large paragraphs here and there I barely paid attention to--paragraphs that were filled with boatswains and coxswains and larboards and mizzenmasts and other such words that mean nothing to me (hypothesis 1: Stevenson was paranoid about being "unauthentic" so he had to throw this stuff in to be convincing....hypothesis 2: some people care about coxswains and larboards...but I don't). I tried to enjoy the lush descriptions of things for which I already had clear mental images of, but couldn't quite do it, but it's not Stevenson's fault that I have had access to many -a-visual-image of such locales as deserted pirate-y islands....Silver's character is, in my opinion, the only one of true interest (and "you can lay to that"), as most others lack the three-dimensional qualities of real people we know. Long story short, if you didn't read this as a kid, it might be a fun summer read--but you aren't missing anything important....Interesting note: the other book Isaac was assigned this summer was To Kill A Mockingbird--we read that one first (it was obviously a reread for me...) and then Treasure Island--putting these two stories together in the same conversation, *did* pique my interest a little more. I ended up drawing some interesting comparisons between Jim and Scout, and about the events that they encounter...food for thought...

Jason Pettus

(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com:]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called "classics," then write essays on whether or not they deserve the labelEssay #32: Treasure Island (1883), by Robert Louis StevensonThe story in a nutshell:Inspired by a doodle from his step-son and originally written as a rainy-day family diversion, the slim 1883 children's book Treasure Island (originally published serially in 1881 and '82) was not only the first novel of sickly genre author Robert Louis Stevenson's short career, but eventually one of his most famous. Essentially the tale of young adventurer Jim Hawkins, the story opens with him as a dutiful mama's boy off the southwest coast of England, helping to run a family inn that sees little action because of being located much more inland than most of the other local sailor-oriented hotels. Ah, but this is exactly what brings the drunken, scary Billy Bones there, where it becomes quickly apparent that he is on the run and in semi-hiding from a whole crew of mysterious, nefarious characters; and when they finally show up after Bones' alcoholism-related death, the family realizes that they are in fact pirates, on the hunt for a treasure map that Bones stole from a recent mutinous voyage that went horribly, horribly wrong. This then convinces a group of local Victorian gentlemen and family friends to go after the treasure themselves, eventually buying a boat and hiring a local crew to take them to this far-off tropical island; but little do they realize that the sailors they've hired are none other than the surviving pirates of the former mutiny, led by the charismatic yet psychopathic one-legged "ship's cook" Long John Silver, who plan on turning on the ship's owners once actually reaching the island and retrieving the treasure they were forced to leave behind during their last voyage. The rest of the book, then, is essentially an adventure tale, full of all kinds of legitimate surprises that I won't spoil here; let's just say that a lot of swashbuckling takes place, that many details regarding ship-sailing are faithfully recorded, and that the day is eventually saved by our fast-thinking teenage hero Jim, no surprise at all for a book designed specifically to amuse fellow teenage boys.The argument for it being a classic:Well, to begin with, it's arguably the most famous pirate tale ever written, and in fact established for the first time many of the stereotypes now known within the genre, including one-legged buccaneers, treasure maps with a big 'X' on them, shoulder-sitting parrots squawking "Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!," and even the very idea of British pirates being associated with exotic tropical islands in the Caribbean, an association now so strong that it's almost impossible to separate the two; and of course it's also the novel that created the unforgettable Long John Silver, now a thoroughly ingrained part of our Western culture at large. Add to this that it's simply an incredibly thrilling tale (rumor has it that England's Prime Minister at the time stayed up until two in the morning to finish his first reading of it), that it still holds up surprisingly well even 126 years later, and that it's also of immense importance to fans of Stevenson, a prolific author whose genius is just now starting to be widely recognized, after being dismissed by the literary community for almost a century as a frivolous "kiddie writer;" and now add to all this that Treasure Island is a surprisingly sophisticated examination of the era's ethics and moral code as well, taking an unblinking look at the "Victorian Ideal" as manifested in different ways among the stuffy gentlemen "heroes" (unable to improvise in changing circumstances, much to their detriment), the anarchic pirate villains (who almost kill themselves off just on their own, through drunkenness, ignorance and jealousy), and the ruthless yet principled Silver who straddles both these extremes.The argument against:A weak one at best; like many of the genre prototypes of the late Victorian Age, one could argue that this is simply too flippant a tale to be considered a classic. But we already established a long time ago here at the CCLaP 100 that genre stories are indeed eligible for "classic" status in this series, making this argument inapplicable in our case.My verdict:Holy crap! What an incredible book! And what a refreshing change in this case to not have to add my usual caveat to statements like these regarding late Victorian genre experiments: "...you know, for a century-old children's story that's kind of outdated and that you need to take with a grain of salt." Because the fact is that Treasure Island to this day still reads as fresh and exciting as the day it came out, which is a real testament to the writing skills of Robert Louis Stevenson (who I was already a big fan of before this essay series even started, because of his superbly creepy and also surprisingly relevant Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde); what a shame that this illness-plagued author ended up dying at the age of 44 in the prime of his career, instead of surviving to pen the truly mindblowing mature works I'm convinced that he had been capable of. And it's exactly for the reasons that his fans bring up that this book remains such an amazing one, and how it is that it can still easily be read for pleasure instead of having to force one's way through for historical purposes; because it is indeed not only a thrilling adventure tale, not only written in a style that largely rejects the purplish finery of the Victorian Age in which it was created, but is also a deceptively complex look at the entire nature of "gentlemanness" that was so prevalent at the time, gently poking holes in the entire notion of what it means to be a Refined Citizen of the Empire, even while acknowledging that a complete disavowal of these gentlemanly standards is even worse. There's a very good reason that Long John Silver has endured so strongly in our collective imagination over the last century, when so many other fictional pirates have fallen by the wayside, because he turns out to be a surprisingly complicated character worth coming back to again and again, a vicious killer but with a consistent internal moral code worth perversely admiring; it's but one of many reasons that I confidently label this book a undeniable classic today, and highly recommend it to anyone on the search for the best of 19th-century literature.Is it a classic? Absolutely

Joseph

Long John Silver is a classic character. He'll murder in cold blood minutes before giving a warm reception and he'll mean both. He's a cold calculator with his eyes on the prize but he wears his greed and affection on his sleeve. He's the perfect picture of the charming knave and throughout this story of pirates and treasure you're never sure if you should be rooting for or against him.Fortunately, this tale is so much adventurous fun that you won't spend too much time psychoanalyzing pirates. The plot is dynamic and well paced and there's plenty of action and humor along the way. The characters, aside from Silver, are less important than the story, but all show distinct enough traits to help you keep track of who's who on a large crew.This tale does suffer from some cliches and incomprehensible sea-speak. And the final 1/3 is a bit light in terms of drama and satisfying resolution (the climax comes almost exactly in the middle.) But hey, this is the tale that popularized 'yo ho ho,' pieces of eight, peg-legs and talking parrots and X marks the spot. It's well worth a read just for the references.

Manny

I read this book when I was about 8, and for some reason I didn't like it much. I never re-read it, as I did with all my favorite books, and I recall very little about the story.But I remember it better than some people, as I discovered when I posed what I thought was the easiest Quiz question in the world. Apparently, not everyone is sure how many men there are on a dead man's chest...

Michele

I'd never actually read this book before. I think I'd only seen movie versions of the story - which meant that I heard Tim Curry's voice every time Long John Silver opened his mouth to speak.Despite this distraction (and yes, I loved the Muppet version of the story), I was able to get into the story for its own sake. I found the first person narration by Jim the best part of the book because of the perspective it gave the whole adventure - after all, Jim's in it for the glory, as a boy would be, and not the money that his adult companions obviously hope to make. Jim's view is vindicated in the end as well when all the bad or questionable guys in the book end up blowing their wad, while he and the good guys are 'richer' for the experience.I enjoyed Jim's narration so much that I was disappointed when the episode in the stockade shifted from his perspective instead of just being told retrospectively. Seeing the action from Jim's point of view also allowed the reader to anticipate Jim's own responses. For example, as an adult reader, the sailors (pirates) "inability" to capture Black Dog after chasing him out of Long John's pub confirms the reader's suspicions about Long John (they'd been aroused earlier, but without substantiation) but Jim, being a child, takes a little longer to realize it. This creates a kind of narrative tension that's thoroughly enjoyable and is obviously what Stevenson wanted to do in choosing to narrate from the boy's perspective.Fun book - almost as much fun as the muppets!

Kirstine

This is a neat little tale of adventure, piracy, hidden treasure, mutiny and heroics. All in all, good stuff. I wish I had read it as a kid, I’m pretty sure I would have loved it – the same way I loved The Mysterious Island, because it’s all about adventure. Nothing beats that when you grow up in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere, with few friends and mostly your brother for company. Some tales are also simply better when you’re a child, because you’re less critical, making you more susceptible to the apparent grandeur of piracy and less attentive when it comes to small things (such as the fact that it’s too short to have many ‘small things’).It’s a perfectly enjoyable story, and I’m definitely reading it to my kids when that day comes, but reading it on my own I was a little underwhelmed. I suspect I expected a little more sense of adventure, because when it all came down to it, it all felt very orderly, like it was a gentlemen’s adventure, and god forbid they use dirty tricks, we’ll leave that to the filthy, mutinous pirates. It wasn’t very… swashbuckling. I do believe, however, that my real problem is with the length. It’s like The Hobbit, it could have used another 100 pages to draw everything out a little bit. It all went a little too fast, and when the climax came it was too little too soon. I also committed the folly of seeing the Disney film “Treasure Planet” (based off this novel) before reading it, and that’s got plenty of (steampunk) swashbuckling, so perhaps I merely placed my expectations too high or in the wrong place. Either way, this is still a classic in the genre and does have memorable characters – especially Silver, with his moral ambiguity and shifting loyalties – and an imaginative setting and plot. I imagine reenacting it in my garden might add the thrill I felt it lacked. Worth a try.

Hollowspine

I have seen the movies, Muppet Treasure Island, that animated one where Ben Gunn is played by a nutty robot, but until I came across "Treasure Island!!!" by Sara Levine I never thought about actually reading the book. Then I thought, wouldn't it be fun if I, like the narrator of Levine's novel, read Treasure Island then of course read her book too. So that is what I did.First of all, I found it rather difficult to locate a copy of Treasure Island that was not illustrated and abriged for children. This seemed odd to me, I thought a classic like Treasure Island would be widely available for both adults and children. Like Frankenstein, which has multiple copies, some of the children's illustrated type and even more copies, with notes, forewarded by various people etc. etc. for adults. Not so with Stevenson's work. Although Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, like Frankenstein, seems to follow those expectations, Treasure Island it seems is only for kids.So, I read Treasure Island from the Collected Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, and I enjoyed the typewriter quality of the old printing, the slight smell of damp and the lovely red library binding. Reading Treasure Island was a good experience all around. I enjoyed the 'aged' book I was reading from, I was engrossed in Jim's adventures and loved some of the odd dialogues, epspecially between Ben Gunn and everyone else. Or the odd bits about cheese or salted goat. The conversations between the characters were chock-full of quoteable chunks and various things it was hard not to want to speak aloud.I did find the book engaging, exciting and at times very funny, but I haven't broken out the index cards yet. Or bought a parrot.

Madeline

"Squire Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars of Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17- and go back to the time when my father kept the Admiral Benbow inn and the brown old seaman with the sabre cut first took up his lodging under our roof."Regardless of what you think of Treasure Island as a story (and we'll get there, not to worry), its importance in establishing modern adventure tropes can't be denied. So many of the things we think of when we imagine pirates - peg legs, parrots on shoulders, fifteen men on a dead man's chest, the Black Spot - were invented by Stevenson in this book. Basically every single portrayal of pirates created after this story is based in some way on what Stevenson wrote, so if nothing else I appreciate this book for providing us with everything from Captain Hook to Jack Sparrow. ("Captain Jack Sparrow.")So it's just too bad that I didn't enjoy this book as much as I wanted to. Sure, it's exciting for a while, what with the murderous pirates attacking the inn and Jim Hawkins setting out on a crazy treasure-hunting adventure, but around the time they get to the island the plot grinds practically to a halt. It takes chapters and chapters for them to get anywhere or do anything, and I was immensely appreciative of how movie versions of this story make sure to move the action along quickly once they land on the island. Also, Book Jim is kind of an idiot - he stows away with Silver & Co. when they row to the island (even though Jim knows that Silver is evil) just for the hell of it, and he abandons his friends again once they're on the island and have a stronghold set up, because the best thing to do when you're on a strange island full of pirates who want to kill you is go exploring without telling anyone. Also you'll notice in the passage I quoted above, Jim's father is alive at the beginning of the story. He dies pretty quickly, but I prefer how in the movie versions Jim's dad is long gone, having abandoned his son or died a long time ago. It just makes more narrative sense: in order for him to latch on to Long John Silver so quickly, Jim needs to be saddled with enough daddy issues to embarrass a stripper. So in conclusion, I'm glad I read this book, if only to appreciate its cultural significance, but the movie versions I've seen are infinitely more enjoyable. (In case anyone is curious, I have seen two different film versions of Treasure Island. First is Muppet Treasure Island, which makes Stevenson's original seem plodding and boring and horribly miscast - Captain Smollett is and always will be Kermit, and there has never been a better Long John Silver than Tim Curry. Also, Disney's experimental steampunk take on the story, Treasure Planet is highly underrated, in my opinion.)

Liz

I liked the Treasure Island, but if I had read it when I was younger I would have LOVED it. Whilst I was reading this book, all I could think of was One Eyed Willy and his 'rich stuff' and of course, THE TRUFFLE SHUFFLE!!I didn't realise the movie Goonies was so heavily influenced by Treasure Island....I loved that movie. The adventure, the danger, the pirates, the rich stuff, Chunk.....it was brilliant.Reading this book made me want to; pull out Goonies and watch it again, travel on a boat to an island somewhere and hike up my shirt and do some belly jiggling.If you have kids read Treasure Island to them now......because it's still good as an adult, but after reading it you can't really run around with a plastic sword in one hand and a bottle of rum in the other screamin' "shiver me timbers where's me buried treasure" into everyone's face....unless of course you want to be cornered by NSW police and tasered to death.

Jacob

I'm not big on classics, but this book has started to alter my opinion. Treasure Island is an exciting tale of a young boy named Jim Hawkins on an adventure to find treasure to help support him and his mother. His father is dead, and it's just him and his mother, but then he finds a treasure map, and his life will change forever. They find a ship and crew, and all is going well until they run into pirates.The things I didn't like was that it was a little slow at the beginning like most classics. In classic novels, the author s are descriptive about everything, even when it's redundant. There's not alot of this book that I don't like.There are more good things than bad regarding this book. The storyline is really exciting because once they find the chest and the map, they ball gets rolling and the book gets exciting. It's not a terribly long book, but it's not short either, so it's just the right size.

Paul

In one of Manny's 1,682 reviews - no, I can't remember which one** - he says that it must have been incredibly exciting being an avid reader of modern novels in the 1880s and 1890s. Not only were they churning out great classics at a rate of knots, they were inventing whole genres - Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, Picture of Dorian Gray, HG Wells - and Treasure Island is one of those, a novel which invented a whole a-harr talk like a pirate genre. Stevenson's prose is quite magical, he absolutely convinced me with his descriptions of winds and seas and gunnels and jibs and booms and mizzenmasts and fo'c'sles (it's okay, you can print the whole word - forecastle - there - the printer won't charge you any more) and all of that. Plus, some of the ripest dialogue anywhere -"If that ain't to your fancy, some of my hands being rough, and having old scores, on account of hazing, then you can stay here, you can. We'll divide stores with you, man for man; and I'll give my affy-davy as before to speak the first ship I sight, and send 'em here to pick you up... Refuse that, and you've seen the last of me but musket-balls.""There!" he cried. "That's what I think of ye. Before an hour's out, I'll stove in your blockhouse like a rum puncheon. Laugh, by thunder, laugh! Before an hour's out ye'll laugh on the other side. Them that die'll be the lucky ones.Cap'n Flint says : As well as a ripping yarn, it's also a nifty dissection of the concept of being a "gentleman" which you may take sociologically, politically or psychologically, as suits ye best, ye lubbers. Squaaawk! Pieces of eight! A tot of rum would go down a treat! Skwawwwk!**Update : I found a previous note I'd already written so I can confirm that it was Manny's review of A Rebours where he says :It must have been so exciting to be a novelist in the second half of the nineteenth century. You weren't limited to just creating a novel; if you were talented, you could create a whole new kind of novel. http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...1883 : Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson1885 : Germinal : Emile Zola 1886 : The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde : R L Stephenson 1891 : The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde, 18911892 : The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes : Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 1895 : The Time Machine : H G Wells 1897 : Dracula : Bram Stoker 1898 : The Turn of the Screw : Henry James 1898 : The War of the Worlds – H G Wells

Peter Meredith

Another dip into the classics. Wait is this a classic? I'm sure it's close enough. Now I have to get my prejudices behind me, before I get into the book. Here it is, I don't really care for Long John Silvers. Everything tastes like fish, even the french fries. And what exactly are hush-puppies? I'm ok with eating dogs, just not puppies. Cute animals should never be eaten, unless of course they are more tastier than they are cute, which I doubt to be the case with puppies, because, hey they taste like fish.So far here is my thinking when it comes to classics, there must not have been much in the way of competition. Treasure Island was well written when it came to sentence structure and grammar and such, but the plot! The main character, Jim Hawkins was constantly doing illogical and downright dangerous things in order to move the story along. So much so that I would frequently stop and say no one would ever do that. Yet still I worked through the book, enjoying the anachronisms of speech and the sea faring world in which the book was set, until I reached the end. It was hard to tell when the book really ended. Sure there was a point where there was no more words to read, but the actual story just sort of petered out and I was left hoping for something more climatic.

John Yelverton

Classic tale of the sea and pirates. A must read for all young readers.

Alejandro

YO-HO-HO AND A BOTTLE OF RUM!!!This is the iconic novel about pirates that it stands as the best example in this topic and easily one of the most adapted to other media novels in any genre.I can remember having watched several adaptations, live action films, animated movies, even an animated film using animals as the characters, there is the Muppets' one, a Japanese anime TV series, an European mini-series taking the story to outer space starring Anthony Quinn, the animated remake of that version by Disney and the current Starz channel prequel TV series "Black Sails". Just to mention the ones that I have watched but there are a lot of more adaptations.While the topic of pirates is a popular one, I think that there aren't much novels about it. At least not examples really worthy of reading them. Obviously there are some here and there, but taking in account how much options one has in other topics in literature, pirates has been a concept seldom touched with success.However, this novel was able to keep on the mind of everybody the storytelling appeal of the topic of pirates inspiring successes on other media such as Japanese anime "Captain Harlock" and live actions films of "Pirates of the Caribbean".For all that and its own merit, Treasure Island keeps retaining the crown as the best novel about pirates. Characters like Jim Hawkins, Billy Bones, Ben Gunn, Captain Smollett and of course, Long John Silver have become iconic in the universe of literature. Even they have been so admired that other authors couldn't resist to makes homages/mentions of them on their own novels, such examples like on Peter Pan.Its appealing is obvious depending the readers, many young ones can't resist to be amazed by Jim Hawkins who is 14 years old but he is able to keep up in the middle of adult characters and even being a key character in the success of the adventure.To readers and writers of all ages, certainly the character of Long John Silver stands out as one of the best developed characters in the history of literature becoming a model to many following similar ones. He is able to do ruthless things but he has a code, he has limits, and not matter that he is not a nice person, there are things that he never will do and for that, he is a complicated and truly interesting character to read about.Not matter how was on real life, Robert Louis Stevenson, the author, was able to show a romantic picture of pirates' world with now iconic elements like islands with treasures, maps with "x"'s, fearful papers with a black spot, peglegs, eye patches, parrots on shoulders, but above all, he had no doubt to show how dangerous and murderous can be real pirates.

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