Treasure Island

Treasure Island


Robert Louis Stevenson

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Themes and Colors
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
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Treasure Island, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Fortune and Greed

The plot of Treasure Island is structured around the hunt for a fortune of massive proportions. The existence of this fortune tempts nearly all the characters in the novel—few are exempt from such a dream, from Long John Silver and Captain Smollett to Jim Hawkins himself. Importantly, the story never really challenges this desire. The pirates might be the murderous enemies of the protagonist, but not because they are greedy while the others remain selfless…

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Father Figures and “Becoming a Man”

While Treasure Island is certainly an adventure story, it’s also about Jim Hawkins growing up and learning to navigate a dangerous, unfamiliar world. Jim’s father dies near the beginning of the novel, leaving him without a figure who can guide him through this process. As we are reminded midway through the book, Jim is “only a boy” at the time of this tale. Some of the more questionable decisions he makes, like sneaking away from…

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Deception, Secrecy, and Trust

From the very beginning of Treasure Island, the reader is thrust into a realm of valuable secrets, conniving plots, and betrayal. Jim is remarkably successful at navigating this world of deception. From concealing himself with his mother beside the road while pirates ransack the Admiral Benbow to hiding in an apple barrel and spying on Long John Silver as he spins plans for mutiny, Jim often gains knowledge by spying and overhearing. We are not…

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Courage, Adventure, and Pragmatism

If there’s anything that makes Long John Silver admirable despite his despicable qualities, it’s his courage in the face of danger. Jim notices this aspect of Silver’s character as he watches the pirates threaten to mutiny once again, this time against Silver, who remains calm and cool even though he is outmatched. Jim watches and learns from Silver how to act in a real adventure. Indeed, Jim has sailed with the crew of the Hispaniola

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