Treasure Island Review.docx

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University of Alberta
Chris Gordon- Craig

Treasure Island – Review Author  Robert Louis Stevenson  Was a sickly child with a sheltered upbringing  Raised by his religious nanny. Contributed to his rebelling against religion  Writing to entertain a young person (like Grahame in TWITW). Writing for his Stepson, Lloyd Osborne  Drew a map and wrote a story around it. Map is an important part of the book Publication  1883 (book form)  1881 (periodical form – in “Young Folks”)  In the periodical, he used a pseudonym (Captain George North)  At the time it was popular to disguise oneself by pretending to have a military background  The original title was: The Sea Cook (a reference to Long John) o Stevenson was fascinated by the character of Long John and his strength, courage, and quickness Children’s Literature at the Time  Children’s literature in the 19 century had 2 trends: o Move away from didacticism (instructional quality) and religion towards fantasy and secularism o Development of the distinction between books for girls and books for boys  Girls’ books tended to look inwards, to social benevolence or the imagination  Boys’ books looked outward to conquest and active adventure, rooted in nationalism, capitalism, religion, and commercialism  Predecessors: (Boy’s adventure stories taking place on the sea at on islands) o Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719) – adventure with strong religious and racial ideologies o “Penny Dreadfuls” or “Dime novels” in the 1840s. Junky, lurid novels o W.H.G Kingston o R.M Ballantyne – Coral Island  Kingston and Ballantyne made their boy heroes more natural, cheerful, and convincing How Stevenson Reimagined the Genre  Stevenson makes Jim a real boy with impulses and weaknesses. He is not the ‘upstanding British boy’  Better characterization – gripping adventure story with ‘real’ characters  No religion  No happy homecoming at the end. The point of the story is the adventure, not the rewards  Nor is there any spiritual resolution, like in Crusoe  Material success does not resolve the moral uncertainty  How can Stevenson sell the book? He had to convince the parents that it was a reasonable book for their children. If they looked in it, they would see pirates, rum, and murder. It must be exciting enough for the children but still get parents to buy it. So, he put in a part at the beginning which sets the novel in the past. So that when the parents see that, they think “Oh, they did that stuff back then”. It removes the pirates from the contemporary scene Genre  Adventure Story. Children’s book Setting  3 part setting: England, Sea, Treasure Island (3 part setting relates to the Journey of the Hero)  At the start of the book he is working at his parent’s iADMIRAL BENBOW . It is quiet and isolated. A homey space where Jim is sheltered from adventure with his parents o Jim can’t develop at the Inn. He needs to go on an adventure. Map becomes a plot device to do this o Admiral Benbow Inn represents family, home, and Jim's origins all at once – and in leaving it, Jim is also symbolically leaving a part of his childhood behind. Theme  First obvious theme Q UEST FOR M ATURITY o Terrified at the beginning of the novel, but not at the end o Chooses good over evil o Ch. 28: Cut is just a “flea bite” – physical hero. Brave o Single-handedly sails the Hispaniola o Livesey prompts Jim to escape, but Jim won’t break his word (moral hero)  JOURNEY OF THE H ERO o Journey is not the same as the quest; the quest is usually part of the journey o Journey of the hero is a basic pattern found in many stories; describes the typical adventure of the hero o Contains: the departure, the initiation, and the return o The journey has certain Rites of Passage. These describe rituals that mark social events important to the individual and the departures from the old versions of oneself.  1) Rite of Separation: Hero is separated from his/her own world. Comprises of symbolic behaviour signifying the detachment of the individual. Ex) The character may be sprinkled, immersed, dunked, or washed in water. Or they may cross a body of water. Have their old clothes taken away. Symbolizes everything that a character has gotten rid of.  2) Rite of Transition: the period between states, during which one has left one place or state but has not yet entered or joined the next. Intermediate phase. Marked by: isolation, segregation, humiliation. A psychological or emotional “descent to the underworld”… mockery, insults, darkness.  3) Rite of Aggregation: Having completed the rite and assumed their "new" identity, one re-enters society with one's new status. New status is symbolically or physically enrolled. Ex) New clothes. Welcomed. o Now here is the pattern of the Journey of the Hero:  Mystery Birth: Hidden identity. Orphan
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