Treasure Island

Treasure Island Chapter 19 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
With the point of view returned to Jim, he explains that Ben Gunn, seeing the flag, had said his friends must be there, though Jim thought it was more likely to be the pirates. But Gunn knows that pirates would prefer to fly the Jolly Roger flag. Gunn tells Jim that he can find him back in the same place: but whoever meets him will have to bear a “white thing” in his hand, and come alone, between noon and six. Gunn has reasons of his own for this proposal, he says.
Jim has learned a great deal since his time at sea, and assumes treachery and betrayal at every turn: Gunn, though, knows the pirates even better, as he’s been one of them for so long. The white thing probably refers to the flag of truce that is supposed to enable a meeting to take place peacefully.
Themes
Father Figures and “Becoming a Man” Theme Icon
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
They hear a cannon ball and each rush off in different directions. Jim moves from one hiding place to another, and finally manages to creep towards the stockade. From a hill, he catches sight of pirates on the beach destroying something with axes (he’ll later learn it was the jolly-boat). He also notices a group of pirates who, by the sound of it, have been drinking rum. Finally he is able to sneak into the stockade.
Jim cannot know that the captain’s crew was able to escape the ship, or that the boat they used is now useless thanks to the pirates’ actions. Jim also registers once again how much the pirates can be weakened by drink, becoming less threatening but perhaps also less predictable.
Themes
Fortune and Greed Theme Icon
Courage, Adventure, and Pragmatism Theme Icon
After greeting his friends, Jim tells his story and looks around him at the log-house, surrounded by tall firs and oaks. A fine layer of sand enters the house and coats everything within it, so that they’re constantly coughing. Gray has a cut on his face and Redruth’s body remains unburied. While everyone is tired, each is given a task: to dig a grave, to fetch firewood, and so on. At one point, Dr. Livesey confides in Jim that Smollett is a better man than he is.
While Jim has been exploring, the others have been setting up for a long stay, and the realities of entrenched battle, with all their small indignities, are starting to become clear. Part of being welcomed as an adult in this group, Jim learns, is participating in the less exciting chores that need to be done.
Themes
Father Figures and “Becoming a Man” Theme Icon
Courage, Adventure, and Pragmatism Theme Icon
Dr. Livesey asks Jim more about Gunn. Jim isn’t sure whether he’s sane, but the doctor says a man in his condition can’t expect to seem entirely sane. He’ll bring a piece of Parmesan cheese to Gunn, he decides.
Dr. Livesey seems to trust Ben Gunn more than Jim did at first, or at least is thinking strategically about the benefits of having Gunn on their side.
Themes
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
Courage, Adventure, and Pragmatism Theme Icon
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The group buries Redruth in the sand, before eating pork and drinking brandy for dinner. They decide that their best hope is to battle the pirates whenever they can, until they either surrender or run off with the Hispaniola. All night, they hear the pirates roaring and singing under the influence of rum. But early in the morning, they hear a voice crying, “Flag of truce!”—it’s Silver himself.
Once again it becomes evident that the pirates may be a formidable force, but they do have a great weakness in their addiction to rum (even though the captain doesn’t seem to want to explicitly take advantage of this weakness). Silver, of course, remains apart from such revelry.
Themes
Courage, Adventure, and Pragmatism Theme Icon