Treasure Island – Chapters 7-9

In general:

Squire Trelawney hires a schooner, which is a ship with two (or more) masts – a foremast and a mainmast. They were built sturdy, to withstand storms and such, but were also fast. Smaller schooners were ideal for pirates because they could travel quickly and hide. Here’s more on schooners.

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Discussion questions:

1. The original title of Stevenson’s story was ‘The Sea Cook.” Which title works better? And, why would Stevenson have chosen that title?

2. Why is Jim excited to see these sailor in Bristol, with their brawny arms and earrings, when they might not be so different from those who destroyed his family’s inn? What does this say about Jim’s change in focus?

3. Naivete is a big theme in this section, with both Jim and Squire Trelawney trusting in appearances, especially that of Long John Silver. How has Stevenson played with their expectations and ours? What do you think of Silver? Do you trust him?

4. Pirates in stories over the past 150 years have followed in Silver’s footsteps. How does he epitomize the idea of a pirate?

5. What do you think about Captain Smollett and his predictions?

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Notes and Quotes:

  • “The Squire has been talking after all.” Doctor Livesey’s wry observation.

(What does this tell us about the squire? Or the doctor for that matter. Methinks this does not bode well for the rest of the journey, lol!)

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  • Jim, in finding the cook, was told to look for the “sign of the ‘Spyglass.'”

(The spyglass keeps coming up – the brass one Bill had when we met him, the name of Silver’s tavern, the area on the map…what are the connotations here?)

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  • “The secret has been told to the parrot.'” Captain Smollett says as he lists the things he’s uncomfortable with.

(A little bit of humor here – love the idea that the captain is “lower” in the need-to-know chain than the parrot!)

 

  • The moral of the fable of the mountain and the mouse is: big outcry, little outcome. The doctor alludes to this about Captain Smollett’s protestations. I think the reverse might end up being true!

 

More:

If you want to learn more about pirate ships, here’s an interesting documentary on them, as well as about some of the pirates who inspired Stevenson’s story.

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