Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson

By , May 14, 2004

As a child, my favorite book was Treasure Island. I must have read it four or five times during my pre-adolescent years, and now as an adult I am beginning to realize just how much that book shaped my world view.

When Jim has been captured by the pirates, they allow him to leave the prison in order to speak to his friends after he promises to return once done. He does so, and his friends understand that even though his return to the pirates is fully voluntary, and likely means death, he must return in order to keep his word. That makes no sense by today’s standards, but honor apparently meant considerably more at that time, otherwise Stevenson would have opened himself to ridicule with that scene.

Maybe it’s because I read that several times during my formative years, but I understand the concept that one’s word ought to have meaning, and that a promise must be kept. I don’t know if I would return to a pirate-run jail and certain death just to keep a promise, but I have a hunch I would do so. Let’s just hope I never have to find out!

I’m focusing a bit much on that one moment in the novel, but it was always the part that stood out to me as a kid, and it definitely helped me develop my sense of right and wrong.

I also liked the parts where the pirates did pirate-y things. Thus ends my book report.

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