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Free Study Guide for Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson-BookNotes

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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH ANALYSIS


CHAPTER 11: What I Heard at the Apple Barrel


Summary

Jim stays there silently listening to Long John Silver talk. Silver recounts his experiences with Captain Flint. He says that he had lost his leg when he was a quartermaster with Flint. On the same broadside exchange of cannon fire, Pew lost his sight. He talks about Robertís men who changed the names of the ships. Jim hears the youngest crewman's voice, after listening to Silver, praising Flint's bravery. He tells them about the time when he was looking and saving all the money but concludes that all the men-Englandís and Flintís-lived like a pauper before this sail. He tells about Old Man Pew who at one time spent almost 12 thousand pounds per year but had to die a beggar. Silver corrects another young man, who says its not worth the trouble, by saying that it depends on the personís discretion and intelligence. He flatters him with the same words he used for Jim. Jim feels deceived when he overhears this.

Continuing his boasting, he talks about Ďgentlemen of fortuneí- a term used for pirates-as men who are shrewd at sea and cheerful and lively on land. Israel Hands, on the other hand, is getting impatient. He wants mutiny right away and asks Silver about his plans. Quieting him, Silver proposes his plan to wait for Captain Smollet, the doctor and the Squire to unearth the treasure and load it in the ship. He plans to attack them only after they have navigated half way back from the Treasure Island.

Silver gets furious with his crew as they donít understand his plans. But his experience and tactful nature helps him control them and warns them that he wonít spare anyone.


Notes

This chapter introduces us to the crooked personality of the Sea Cook. In this chapter the reader is introduced to newer characteristics of the existing characters. The whole chapter is a conversation that takes place between Silver and his cohorts, while Jim overhears by staying inside the apple barrel. Silver recounts his experience with Captain Flint when he served him as a quartermaster. He mentions the name of the ships on which he has voyaged. One name is going to recur -- that of the Walrus. This is the ship that had borne the treasure they plundered. When the name is mentioned later the reader is immediately reminded that Long John had spoken of it earlier.


Silver continues his conversation and talks about the various qualities of a true seaman. He says that they live life to the fullest: eating , drinking, merry-making without control. So the money theyíve accumulated doesnít stay with them at all. And most of the seamen, like old Pew, perished as paupers. This is a harsh truth that Stevenson reveals. It is the nature of a seaman to be this carefree.

Israel Hands, the shipís coxswain is impatient for a mutiny. He inquires about Silverís plans. He is another character who plays an important part in Jimís maturing.

One of the men there does not like Silverís plans of betraying his Captain. Silver neatly gets rid of him. This is when Jim realizes that these men are ruthless. He wonders what would be his fate if the men discover him there. His fear is not indicative of his inexperience. Even a grown man would feel the same way. Stevenson wants to highlight the courageous nature of Jim here. It is natural curiosity that makes Jim overhear the conversation - in this sense he is brave. His getting to know the true nature of the men on deck is Stevensonís way of showing that adults are not always correct or even on the right side of the law.

By the end of the chapter a clear picture of Silver emerges. The reader is introduced to the hidden trouble on the ship, thereby preparing them to expect a mutiny any time. The main antagonist in the story is also brought forward here.


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