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

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CHAPTER 13: How My Shore Adventure Began


In the morning, Jim sees the island has changed in appearance. He sees most of the island is covered with grey colored woods and tall pine trees. There were hills rising up above the vegetation and the rock named Spy-glass is the tallest by several hundred feet. It is a steep spire with it's top bluntly cut off

The Hispaniola is swaying and creaking in the strong ocean swells. The look of the island and the general atmosphere that enveloped the whole morning make Jim hate the island from the very first sight.

Lots of work awaits the men on board. The ship is anchored 3 to 4 miles away from the island. They have to launch their small boats to guide the ship through the narrow channel to the safety inside the reef and it will take several hours. The heat is unbearable and so is the attitude of the men when they reach the island. The Hispaniola is anchored with able help from Long John Silver, who is familiar with the island. Dr. Livesey senses a strange stagnant smell hanging over the place.

Jim says that the crew was turning exceptionally rude and disobedient except Long John Silver who is in high spirits. The Captain called his trusted group to the cabin to discuss the events. Plans are made to give charge to Silver as a precautionary measure, the reason being to avoid a mutiny, as Silver has a good command over his men and is as anxious for the treasure as the Captain and his men. Loaded pistols are distributed to Hunter, Joyce and Redruth, whom the Captain feels can be trusted above all.

The Captain addresses the crew and gives them permission to take the boats to the island. The men soon come out of their sulky temperament and cheer up.

This Captain decides to retain his six honest men on the ship and gives Silver the control of the others. Jim decides to go the shore alone. He quickly slips off and races ahead of other men. Long John Silver notices this and calls out to Jim. But as Jimís boat is better manned, he leaves them behind and reaches the island first, quickly disappearing into the thick vegetation.


The chapter opens with a description of the island through Jimís eyes.

This chapter also contains one of the most romantic pieces of writing by Stevenson. When he is writing about the island his detailed description conjures vivid images in the readerís mind. The reader is able to note that the author loves nature. For example, when he explains the grey, melancholy woods, wild stone spires, voice of the shore birds fishing and crying, the thunderous sound of the surf lashing against the rocks, the thick foliage, , rivers emptying into a pond, clean sand, etc., this detail transports you to Skeleton Island.

This view of the island though doesnít give Jim pleasure and he hates it. And when the ship is anchored, the doctor senses a fowl smell, like rotten vegetation. This only means that the atmosphere of the island is unhealthy. Jim says that the conduct of the men changes drastically once they reach the inner anchorage. The signs of disagreement and quarrel have already started showing up, except for Long John who is in high spirits, cheering up everybody, working hard, and singing song after song. This attitude disgusts Jim very much.

Taking stock of the worsening situation, the Captain calls a meeting and decides to appoint Silver to control the crew, so that the crew will remain calm. Hunter, Joyce and Redruth are taken in the Captainís group and given loaded pistols. Then the Captain grants permission to the men to go to the island.

The Captain slips off, leaving Silver in charge of the crew. He decides to leave six of his trusted men on the ship. When it occurs to Jim that he is not needed in the cabin, his adventurous instinct starts ticking. He slips off the deck, gets into a small boat and heads to the island. Silver notices this and calls Jim back. Jim ignores his call and makes his way to the island. Here we see a rebellious Jim who exults in his newly found freedom.

As the chapter ends, Stevenson quickly prepares Jim for another adventure, keeping the mood and tone of the story intact.

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