Student Notes: Treasure Island – Book by Robert Louis Stevenson

Treasure Island book notes

Student Notes – Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson


Treasure Island, written by Robert Louis Stevenson and published in 1883, is a classic adventure novel that has captivated readers for generations. This student note provides an analysis of the novel, including an introduction, setting, historical context, characters, plot summary, key themes and symbolism, analysis and discussion points, and a conclusion. The story takes place in the 18th century and follows the thrilling journey of young Jim Hawkins as he becomes embroiled in a search for buried treasure on a remote island.



The Admiral Benbow Inn:

  • The novel begins in a coastal village in southwestern England, where the young protagonist, Jim Hawkins, lives with his parents in the Admiral Benbow Inn.
  • This setting serves as the starting point for the adventure and introduces the characters who will play significant roles in the story.

The Hispaniola and Treasure Island:

  • The main part of the story unfolds on the ship Hispaniola, captained by Captain Smollett, as it sails to the mysterious Treasure Island in the Caribbean.
  • Treasure Island, with its lush forests, hidden coves, and treacherous terrain, becomes the stage for the search for buried pirate treasure.


Historical Context:

  • Treasure Island was written during the Victorian era, a time of exploration, adventure, and fascination with tales of the high seas.
  • The novel reflects the popular interest in piracy and adventure stories of the time, as well as the moral conflicts faced by characters in a morally ambiguous world.



Jim Hawkins:

  • The young protagonist and narrator of the story, who embarks on a thrilling adventure and grows in maturity and courage throughout the novel.

Long John Silver:

  • The charismatic and cunning pirate who befriends Jim but also poses a significant threat.
  • Symbolizes the duality of human nature and the blurred lines between good and evil.

Captain Smollett:

  • The stern and honorable captain of the Hispaniola, who represents authority and order amidst the chaos of the pirate world.


Plot Summary:

  • The novel begins with the arrival of the mysterious and dangerous Billy Bones at the Admiral Benbow Inn, setting off a chain of events that leads to the discovery of a treasure map.
  • Jim Hawkins and a crew of adventurers, including Long John Silver, set sail on the Hispaniola to find the buried treasure.
  • The journey is fraught with danger, as Jim must navigate treacherous alliances, mutiny, and the pursuit of the elusive treasure.


Key Themes and Symbolism:


  • Jim Hawkins’ journey represents a classic coming-of-age tale, as he faces challenges, makes difficult choices, and matures as a character.

Morality and Ambiguity:

  • The characters in the novel often find themselves caught between moral codes, struggling with conflicting desires and loyalties.
  • Long John Silver embodies this moral ambiguity, blurring the lines between hero and villain.

Adventure and Exploration:

  • The theme of adventure and exploration reflects the Victorian fascination with discovering new lands and the excitement of the unknown.


Analysis and Discussion Points:

  • The portrayal of pirates and their romanticized image in popular culture.
  • The symbolism of the treasure map as a metaphor for the quest for self-discovery and personal fulfillment.
  • Stevenson’s use of vivid descriptions and atmospheric settings to create a sense of suspense and danger.



Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson is a thrilling adventure that has captured the imagination of readers for over a century. With its vivid characters, treacherous seas, and hidden treasure, the novel embodies the spirit of exploration and the allure of the unknown. Through its exploration of moral ambiguity and the themes of coming-of-age and adventure, Treasure Island continues to resonate with readers of all ages, reminding us of the timeless appeal of a gripping tale of pirates, bravery, and the search for hidden riches.

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