Treasure Island


Robert Louis Stevenson

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Treasure Island: Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

The next morning the ship has floated to the south-eastern part of the island, and they can see hills and pine trees with the Spy-glass rising up strangely from among them. The Hispaniola lists from side to side in the swell, and Jim, feeling seasick, begins to hate the very thought of Treasure Island.
The island is described vividly in this passage, reminding us of how eager Jim was to reach such novel, exciting places. That he’s unable to enjoy it now speaks to just how much he’s learned about the dangers awaiting him.
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Jim decides to help row one of the boats to land, and is made nervous by the way the crew is now grumbling. They row to shore, where there is no breeze and a strange smell of rotting—Dr. Livesey sniffs and declares that fever is certainly present.
Jim knows that the crew has planned to mutiny once they’ve arrived at the island, but he doesn’t know exactly when or how it will happen, so he’s constantly on edge.
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Silver is the only cheerful one, as if he’s masking the others’ discontent. Jim, Smollett, the squire, and the doctor reconvene in the cabin that evening. Smollett proposes they allow the men to go ashore for the afternoon: if they all go, they can fight; if only some go, Silver will surely pacify them and bring them back aboard without anything coming to a head. They tell Hunter, Joyce, and Redruth (the faithful sailors) of the plan, and then the captain announces to the hands that they’re permitted to go ashore.
It’s difficult for Jim and his friends to know how to respond—whether they acknowledge anything to be awry or not, or how long they wait before mounting a defense themselves. They can be confident that at least a few of the sailors aboard the ship will remain loyal to them, and yet for now all they can hope to do is buy some time to make longer-term plans.
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Thirteen men leave, with Silver, while six remain aboard. Jim realizes that with six enemies still aboard, they cannot hope to fight and keep the ship, while since it is only six, he himself isn’t needed—so he can go ashore as well. He quickly rows to the beach, jumps out, and races into the island.
Jim, in turn, is completing his own kinds of calculations. He is motivated both by a genuine desire to help out the captain and his friends, and by an innate sense of curiosity that propels him onto the island.
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