Treasure Island


Robert Louis Stevenson

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Treasure Island: Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Curious even while afraid, Jim peers out from the bank to see seven or eight men racing towards the Admiral Benbow: half of them break down the door while the others wait outside. From inside one shouts that Bill is dead, and then that someone has reached the chest before themselves, though the money’s still there. Someone cries that it’s the innkeeper’s family, and they should turn the place out to find them.
Jim and his mother have left the Admiral Benbow just in time, as they’re soon replaced by a group of what must be pirates, who are similarly in pursuit of the sea chest about which the captain (Billy Bones) confided to Jim. Now it’s Jim and his mother who have become their targets.
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The men tear the inn apart, but then another whistle sounds, and one man says they must leave, though the blind man, Pew, still says it doesn’t matter that they’ve found gold—there’s still something that they’re lacking. Pew begins to fight with another man: meanwhile, the sound of galloping horses comes from over the hill, and the buccaneers race off, abandoning Pew. Several riders gallop down and one of them accidentally runs over Pew, who is in the road.
The mysterious “something” that is absent from the sea chest seems to be the secret around which the entire plot has turned thus far. Dying in a horrendous accident, Pew is a reminder of the general rule throughout the book that some people simply suffer worse luck, bleaker fortunes, than others.
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Jim springs up and goes to the riders, who have halted, realizing Pew is dead. They carry Jim’s mother to the hamlet and revive her. One of the riders, a tax collector named Mr. Dance, accompanies Jim back to the inn, which is in a state of total disarray. Jim tells Dance that he believes the men were after the very packet he has. Together they ride to Dr. Livesey’s house to discuss the contents of the bag.
Jim has luckily now been able to find a group of temporary caretakers who can help him look after his mother as well as help him understand the significance of the small packet that he has been clutching all the while, and that the pirates seem to have been after themselves.
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