Treasure Island – Final Recap!

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed your time reading Treasure Island this past month! I think we can see how pirate and adventure stories have been influenced by Stevenson’s classic over the years, and how the idea of finding treasure still resonates with all of us. Here are a few more ideas to think about before you finally shelve this book (or return it to the Library!).


Final discussion questions:

1. This novel was originally written for boys about boys; no girls/women feature as main characters. How would the story have been different if any of the main characters had been female?

2. Though there are many scenes of violence or death, there doesn’t seem to be any sentimentalization or emotional attachments to death? Why do you think this is so?

3. Readers are meant to empathize with Jim, and identify with him as he comes of age during this adventure. What did you think about the character of Jim? Are there any personality traits of his you would have changed?

4. What are your favorite scenes or phrases from the novel?

5. What are the most powerful symbols in the book? What do these symbols represent, and have they changed since the novel was written?

6. What do you think happened to Long John Silver after the events of the last chapter? What about Jim? How did his life change, or do you think it changed much after his return?


Some last notes and quotes:

  • I know that children can’t really have adventures when a parent is around, but it seems like Squire Trelawney, Doctor Livesey, and Captain Smollet stood in pretty well for Jim’s parents. They were all men who believed in him, treated him as a peer (if not quite an equal), and who generally trusted him to make the right choices. I don’t know that his mother would have done better!


  • Love the idea that the actual Treasure Island wasn’t paradise. Stevenson imbued it with danger, deceit, and death, and I think that is one of the best “lessons” that a reader can take away from the novel: “all that glitters isn’t gold.”


  • Though I enjoyed the book as an adventure mostly written for young people, I wondered what would have happened had he written this from the point of view of one of the adults. Talk about dark!



If Treasure Island makes you yearn for more adventure, check out another Stevenson work (Kidnapped), or one of the books Stevenson used as inspiration: Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, The Pirate by Sir Walter Scott, or the works of Edgar Allan Poe.

And, if you had a positive experience with our first online Book Club, check out what we’re doing for Summer Reading!

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