Treasure Island


Robert Louis Stevenson

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Treasure Island: Chapter 24 Summary & Analysis

There’s daylight when Jim awakens and the boat has drifted to the southwest part of Treasure Island. Jim wonders if he should paddle ashore, but rocks crowd the shoreline and he sees it’s too dangerous—plus there are huge slimy monsters atop them (although later he’ll learn that they’re just sea lions). He decides to steer the coracle towards the northward current, to what Silver had told him is the Cape of the Woods.
Now Jim is both too wary of the danger to board the ship, and well aware that it would be impossible to paddle ashore now without the risk of bashing himself against the rocks. The appearance of the sea lions reminds us that Jim has learned a great deal in some ways, but there’s still much he hasn’t seen in the world.
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Jim begins to float towards shore on his coracle, though every time he tries to paddle the boat rocks violently. He begins to be frightened that he’ll never reach land, but decides to lie on his elbows, only giving one weak stroke every once in awhile to keep the bow pointed towards shore. Then he catches sight of the Hispaniola straight ahead of him—he realizes he’ll be taken, but is so thirsty he almost doesn’t care.
Now the coracle seems almost as erratic as the ship, and requires Jim’s constant vigilance in order to make sure that he survives. Once again, however, his plans must change as a result of changing circumstances, and he must deal with the reality that he’s running right into his enemies.
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Jim assumes the ship, directed northwest, is heading back towards the anchorage, but then it halts against the wind: Jim assumes the sailors must still be drunk, but then realizes no one is steering. He uses all his strength to paddle after the ship. As he approaches, the breeze falls and the ship stands still. Then it picks up again, but the Hispaniola’s side swings towards Jim: he leaps to his feat, catches the jib-boom (the part of the spar reaching beyond the ship), and hangs from it, the coracle sinking below him.
Since Jim can no longer avoid the ship, he decides to position himself as best he can in order to ensure he has the best chance for survival aboard it. His ability to notice details and strategize comes in handy here, as he is able to recognize that no one’s steering, and as he can use the specific parts of the ship to his advantage in navigating aboard—again displaying the resourcefulness of a more typical adventure “hero.”
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