Treasure Island

Treasure Island Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After breakfast, the squire gives Jim a note addressed to Long John Silver and sends him to the tavern, which is full of loud, chatting sailors. Since receiving the squire’s letter, Jim has been anxious that the one-legged man would be the one that Billy Bones so feared, but when he sees this clean, pleasant seaman, he thinks he couldn’t possibly be a pirate.
The pirates Jim has seen so far are ragged, drunken, unmannered men, so he believes he can identify them when he sees them. Long John Silver doesn’t seem to fall into this category at all: he’s more like the squire or doctor, men (and father-figures) Jim trusts.
Themes
Father Figures and “Becoming a Man” Theme Icon
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
As Jim approaches, Long John Silver sees the letter, gives a slight start, and then loudly greets him as the new cabin-boy. Just then a customer rises and hurries outside: Jim catches sight of him and realizes that it’s Black Dog, and cries out that someone should catch him. Silver says that name means nothing to him, but that someone should catch him to make him pay his bill. Another sailor runs out and fails to capture him: Silver sternly asks the man, Morgan, if he knows the name of Black Dog, and Morgan says he doesn’t.
While Jim is willing to grant Long John Silver the benefit of the doubt, there are several clues that something more is going on here: Silver seems to want to alert someone else of Jim’s presence as the cabin-boy, and immediately afterward Black Dog runs away. Still, Silver acts entirely ignorant of Black Dog, and it’s difficult to know how much to trust him yet.
Themes
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
Silver tells Jim that the man used to come to his tavern with a blind beggar: Jim says he knows this man, Pew, and Silver remembers that was his name. Jim remains suspicious, but soon enough Silver’s cheerful attitude, laughing, and joking convince Jim of his innocence.
Clearly, Long John Silver’s strange behavior hasn’t escaped Jim, but Jim is also still influenced by how different this man is from the pirates Jim has come to recognize.
Themes
Father Figures and “Becoming a Man” Theme Icon
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
Silver declares that he and Jim will get along well. They walk through the quays together, and Silver explains the ins and outs of seafaring to Jim. When they arrive to the squire’s inn, Silver tells the story about Black Dog, and they all agree that there’s nothing more to be done.
Silver has taken Jim under his wing, introducing him to the new world around him—which makes Jim trust him even more. The squire’s trust in Silver also makes the latter seem all the more benevolent.
Themes
Father Figures and “Becoming a Man” Theme Icon
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