Table of Contents
Story in a Nutshell
Treasure Island is a story about a young boy called Jim who finds a treasure map. He makes his way to the island where the treasure is buried with some of his companions. On the way, they are faced with treacherous pirates who want to steal the treasure for themselves. Going through many dangerous situations, Jim and his friends are finally able to get the treasure and safely make their way back home.
- Jim Hawkins– the main character of the story, a brave young boy whose parents run an inn
- Billy– an old sailor with a sea-chest who was at Jim’s parents’ inn for some time
- Doctor Livesey– the local doctor who sets out to find treasure along with Jim
- Squire Trelawney– the local squire who also sets out to find treasure with Jim and the doctor
- Captain Smollett– the captain of the ship that Jim and his companions set out on
- Long John Silver– an old one-legged pirate who hides his identity to steal the treasure
- Captain Flint– the dead pirate whose treasure is buried on Treasure Island
- Ben Gunn– a pirate from Captain Flint’s old crew who has been stuck on Treasure Island for three years
Billy and the Old Sea-chest
Jim Hawkins’ parents’ ran the Admiral Benbow Inn in western England. One winter day, an old seaman with a scarred face called Billy arrived at the inn. He only had an old sea-chest with himself, which he guarded very carefully. Billy gave Jim some money to look out for a one-legged sailor. However, he did not pay his rent properly. At evening, Billy would drink rum and sing. During the day, he would nervously look out at the sea from the rocks.
After many weeks, a mysterious evil looking seaman appeared and started fighting with Billy after an argument. He fled on being wounded but Billy had a stroke. Doctor Livesey, who had come to treat Jim’s ill father, helped Billy too.
Billy told Jim that he had been a part of a pirate crew, and now they had ordered his death and would steal his sea-chest. But Jim soon forgot about Billy’s problem because his father died later that night.
On the day Jim’s father was buried, a blind old pirate called Blind Pew came to Billy and slapped a piece of black paper on his hand. Billy died of a massive stroke when he had left. His last words were that pirates would be coming there soon.
Jim and his mother searched through Billy’s old sea-chest. His mother took the rent that was due, and Jim took an interesting bunch of papers wrapped in oilcloth. They fled as pirates arrived and raided the inn.
The pirates were angry that they could not find what they wanted in the sea-chest and rushed outside to find Jim and his mother. However, they were soon caught by some revenue officers. Most of them escaped but Blind Pew died.
Jim sets out for Treasure Island
Jim went to Doctor Livesey’s house and told him and Squire Trelawney about everything that had happened. He showed them the papers the pirates had been searching for and they agreed that they had found a treasure map to Captain Flint’s booty.
The doctor and the squire made plans to travel to the island where the treasure was buried. Jim would be their cabin boy.
The squire went to Bristol and bought a ship called The Hispaniola and hired a captain. The ship’s cook would be an old one-legged sailor called Long John Silver who had helped the squire pick the rest of the crew. Jim and the doctor soon joined them. An apprentice would help Jim’s mother with the inn while he was away. Jim did wonder if Long John Silver was the sailor Billy had been worried about, but soon forgot about it.
On the day of their departure, Captain Smollett told the doctor and the squire that he was unhappy that he had not chosen his crew himself and that everyone knew they were sailing for treasure. The squire admitted that it had been unwise to let everyone know, and promised that he would hide the treasure map.
The ship made steady progress when it set sail, even in heavy seas, and the captain could not find anything wrong with the crew. Long John Silver had a parrot called Cap’n Flint and behaved well, but there was treachery going on.
Long John Silver’s Treacherous Plot
One evening, as they neared their destination, Jim was looking for food and climbed into a barrel. While hiding there, he heard Long John Silver boast about his piracy with Captain Flint and talk about his plan to kill the doctor and the squire after finding the treasure. Jim was very afraid he would be caught but just then someone shouted that land had been seen.
The next day Long John Silver claimed he had been to the island before and helped anchor it. Jim secretly warned Captain Smollett, the squire and the doctor about Long John Silver’s plan. They decided to pretend they knew nothing because they were outnumbered by Long John Silver’s men. Jim commented that Treasure Island seemed dangerous. The doctor said that malaria was surely present on the island.
Fearing the nervous crew would mutiny immediately, the captain told them to take the day off. Long John Silver took a group of sailors ashore while leaving six men to watch over those who were not part of their plan.
Jim had hidden in their boat and ran towards some bushes unnoticed when they were gone. Some time later, he came across Long John Silver trying to persuade a crew member to join the mutiny, and killing him when he refused. Jim was terrified and ran away. He soon met a wild-looking man dressed in rags called Ben Gunn.
Ben Gunn said he had been part of Captain Flint’s crew when the treasure was buried and had returned to find it three years back but his shipmates had left him there.
Captain Smollett, the doctor and the squire had also gone exploring on the island. They found the stockade- a sturdy cabin surrounded by a high fence. They decided to defend themselves against the pirates there and hurried back to the ship for supplies. The squire’s gamekeeper, Redruth, kept the pirates at gunpoint while they gathered their supplies and weapons and went ashore with them. On their final trip back to the stockade, they were attacked by more pirates. The pirates lost but Redruth died of injury soon after too.
The pirates then started an attack from the ship’s cannons, but the stockade was far away from the ship so they could not hit it. Jim and Ben Gunn heard the cannon-fire. Jim told him about the pirates and asked him to help him find his friends. Ben said that he used to know Long John Silver and would help Jim and his friends if they promised him a safe passage home. Then he disappeared into the bushes.
At evening, the pirates stopped their useless attacks and Jim found his way to the stockade. His friends were happy to see him safe and amazed to hear about Ben Gunn.
The next morning, Long John Silver came near the stockade offering peace in exchange for the treasure map, but Captain Smollett refused to trust him. He went away angrily and then the pirates attacked the stockade. A fight took place and the pirates were killed but some of the loyal men died too. The doctor soon made his way into the jungle to carry out a secret plan. Jim armed himself with a pistol and slipped away too.
At the shore, Jim found a little boat Ben had told him about and made his way back to the ship with it. He cut its mooring ropes and set it adrift. But the tide was very strong and Jim was swept away with it too.
The next morning, Jim awoke to find himself near the island’s north coast along with the ship. He hurried aboard and steered it to safety. He was attacked by a pirate who remained on the ship but managed to kill him.
Jim then made his way back to the stockade but found Long John Silver and his pirates there. The doctor had given the place up to them along with the treasure map. Long John Silver told Jim to join the pirates but he refused. He also revealed that he was the one who had found out their treacherous plot. The other pirates wanted to kill him but Long John Silver decided to hold him hostage instead. The pirates were very angry at Long John Silver about losing so many men and being marooned had an argument with him.
A little while later, the doctor came offering peace and treated the men who were wounded or had caught malaria. Jim told him about the ship and the doctor said that he had done well and left.
The Pirates are Defeated
After breakfast, the pirates set off with a tied-up Jim to find the treasure. The directions led to a clearing with an old skeleton where a creepy voice was singing. They were frightened but kept moving on and finally came to the tree which marked the spot where Captain Flint had buried his treasure. But instead of treasure, there was only a big hole in the ground. As the angry pirates accused Long John Silver and Jim of treachery, they were attacked by the doctor, the squire and Ben Gunn. The doctor told Jim that they could rescue him in time only because Ben had delayed the pirates with his ghostly song.
They made their way to Ben’s cave where Captain Smollett was recovering. The doctor explained how he had found Ben Gunn and learnt that he already had the treasure. He also saw that the ship had disappeared and thus gave the now useless treasure map to the pirates. He let them have the stockade so they would catch malaria.
Next, they loaded the treasure onto the ship and decided to sail to the nearby Spanish Americas to take on more men. The last three surviving pirates were left on the island and one of them tried to shoot Long John Silver as the ship sailed away.
More crew were taken on when the ship reached mainland. Long John Silver slipped away with some coins. The survivors made their way back to England and shared the treasure among them. They all used it wisely, except Ben Gunn.
Jim never wanted to go to sea again and would only dream of Treasure Island in his worst nightmares.
Treasure Island is an exciting story full of adventure and danger. The ending shows us how loyal and good people get the prize they deserve while treacherous people are punished. Thus, it teaches us to value loyalty and despise treachery.