Treasure Island

Treasure Island Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Jim tells his mother everything he knows, and they realize that the blind man and Black Dog probably won’t be willing to settle the captain’s debts to the inn. They’re also both increasingly scared to be alone in the house, so they decide to seek help in a village nearby.
Having refused to pay rent for months, the captain has now left Jim and his mother scrambling to make ends meet themselves, not to mention afraid for their safety and well-being.
Themes
Fortune and Greed Theme Icon
They walk together to the village and arrive by evening, and yet no one agrees to return with them to the Admiral Benbow to help: the name of Captain Flint terrifies many of them, and cowardice, Jim realizes, is infectious. But Jim’s mother makes a speech vowing to get back the money that belongs to her fatherless son, so they’ll open the chest on their own.
This event serves as another lesson for Jim—that in life, most people fail to live up to the ideal of courage in the face of danger, especially, as he now realizes, when the terror of piracy is involved. But Jim’s mother loves her son enough to risk such danger.
Themes
Courage, Adventure, and Pragmatism Theme Icon
Jim and his mother return, still frightened, and enter the parlor with the dead captain still lying there. Jim goes to his knees and sees that the captain was clutching a blackened piece of paper, which he imagines to be the “black spot.” It says, “You have till ten tonight.” It’s now six in the evening.
It now makes more sense why the captain shouted “Ten o’clock!” before he died: Jim can imagine that the black spot was what the captain had feared, though he’s still not sure what that means.
Themes
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
Courage, Adventure, and Pragmatism Theme Icon
Jim feels through the captain’s pockets and finally finds a key hanging around his neck. Jim and his mother then hurry upstairs to where his chest is lying. They open it: there are new clothes inside, some tobacco, a watch, and some compasses. Below all these things, however, is a canvas bag that holds gold, along with an oil-cloth packet. Jim’s mother says that she’ll only take exactly what she’s due, and begins to count out the coins, while Jim takes hold of the packet.
Some of the mysteries held by the captain while he was alive are now becoming accessible to Jim and his mother. Initially, however, it’s not entirely clear why he so zealously guarded this sea chest: though there is some gold inside, it doesn’t seem to warrant all the terror and plotting associated with it.
Themes
Fortune and Greed Theme Icon
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
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Jim then starts to hear the tapping of a blind man’s stick, and he begs his mother to leave, but she’s now even more frightened to take more than she’s owed. Then they hear a whistle; they jump up, Jim grabbing the oil-cloth bag, and race downstairs and outside back to the village. As they look behind them, they see a stranger carrying a lantern. Jim curses the neighbors’ cowardice as his mother faints, and he drags her under a bridge to hide.
The tapping of the blind man’s stick suggests to Jim that he is not yet free of the mysterious visitors associated with the captain. Jim’s mother, meanwhile, had enough courage to try to seize the gold, but her wits give out on her when she’s faced with this overwhelming situation, leaving Jim to act as an adult and manage it.
Themes
Fortune and Greed Theme Icon
Father Figures and “Becoming a Man” Theme Icon
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
Courage, Adventure, and Pragmatism Theme Icon