Treasure Island


Robert Louis Stevenson

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Treasure Island: Style 1 key example

Chapter 7. I Go to Bristol
Explanation and Analysis:

Treasure Island is written from a first person point of view, primarily from the perspective of an older Jim Hawkins. The novel switches from Jim to Doctor Livesey's perspective briefly in Chapters 16, 17, and 18, as Livesey relates the events that take place during Jim's absence. 

The novel's style is overall descriptive and expressive, which is in keeping with the genre. Because Treasure Island is an adventure novel, the narrator serves the important role of keeping the reader invested in the story. As a result, Jim's narration is lively and evocative, full of vivid descriptions and action words.

The novel also uses diction and dialect that reflects maritime life. This can be seen in Chapter 7, for example, as Jim thinks of his journey ahead and excitedly proclaims: 

I was going to sea myself; to sea in a schooner, with a piping boatswain, and a pig-tailed singing seamen; to sea, bound for an unknown island, and to seek for buried treasures! 

Jim uses nautical terms like "schooner" and "boatswain"—words that capture the spirit of pirate life. The phrase "singing season" has a sing-songy, lighthearted quality and is also an example of alliteration, a form of figurative language in which the first sound of a word is repeated. All in all, the passage's jovial, upbeat tone reflects Jim's boisterous and adventurous spirit.

Treasure Island's choice of style also reflects its intended audience. Stevenson uses other forms of figurative language throughout the novel (notably simile, metaphor, and imagery) to paint a clear picture of events and characters for his audience, which is especially important because the majority of Stevenson's readers were young.