April 22, 2021

#08-074: Treasure Island

black-and-white illustration of men gathered in the fore of a ship, with a boy's head popping cautiously out of a barrel in the bottom right
Jim Hawkins hides in an apple barrel

Note: R. L. Stevenson's rousing tale of young Jim Hawkins setting out to sea, looking for buried treasure, and battling pirates--every boy's dream (and some girls', too!)

Get Ready: What would you do if you found a buried treasure?

The "Pirates of the Caribbean" series of films--and many, many other books, films, and TV shows besides-- trace their origins to a common ancestor, the Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson's 1883 Treasure Island, with its captivating villain, a pirate named Long John Silver.

Young Jim Hawkins works at his mother's inn in England. One night an old "sea dog" named Billy Bones lodges there, and tells Jim to watch out for "a one-legged seafaring man." Some of Bones's former confederates attack him and are run off, but Bones dies of a stroke. Jim and his mother take some of Bones's cash to pay for his room, as well as a mysterious packet that was in his sea chest.

In the packet, they find a map of an island where the notorious Captain Flint is said to have hidden his treasure. They seek the help of the local physician and a nobleman, Dr. Livesey and Squire Trelawney, who form an expedition under a Captain Smollett to recover the loot. Jim will go along as cabin boy.

Unfortunately, many of the sailors recruited for the voyage are former "mates" of Captain Flint. One of these, a one-legged cook with a parrot on his shoulder, is Long John Silver himself. Jim overhears the confederates' plan to mutiny after the treasure is recovered, and reports it to the captain.

On the island, Jim meets a marooned pirate named Ben Gunn. The pirates attack Smollett's men, who take refuge in an old stockade, but Jim reaches the ship and sets it adrift. With the help of a man on board, Israel Hands, Jim sails the ship to the other side of the island, but then Hands tries and fails to kill him.

Back ashore, Jim returns to the stockade, only to find Silver and his men in it; they now have possession of the map.

When Silver and his men find the site of the treasure--with Jim in tow--old Ben Gunn makes noises that cause the pirates to think the site is haunted. They discover the treasure is gone; Gunn had removed it years before and hidden it in a cave. The "good guys" remove the treasure to the ship, and sail away, with Silver and his men in chains.

But at their first stop, still in Spanish America, Silver escapes with some of the loot. The party returns to England and divides up what they have recovered.


Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treasure_Island

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. adrift
  2. captivating
  3. in tow
  4. loot
  5. marooned
  6. mutiny
  7. notorious
  8. recruited
  9. seafaring
  10. trace

  1. left behind; stranded
  2. being taken along
  3. a rebellion against a ship captain
  4. not tied down
  5. infamous; famous for being bad
  6. follow back in history
  7. signed up for service
  8. fascinating; attractive
  9. riches gotten illegally
  10. traveling on the ocean

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for April 22, 2021

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. d; 2. h; 3. b; 4. i; 5. a; 6. c; 7. e; 8. g; 9. j; 10. f