Coming to Terms With Evil in Treasure Island
Robert Louis Stevenson's novel, Treasure Island, is a fast-paced adventure tale about a boy developing into an adult and coming to terms with the presence of evil in the world. Jim Hawkins is first portrayed as a naïve and innocent child. Throughout his adventures with Long John Silver, he matures into a heroic young man. Before the pirates enter Jim's life he lives with his parents in a small secluded inn that they own and operate. Up to this point he has lived a fairly sheltered life, completely devoid of adventure or excitement.
The beginning of Jim's pirate adventure is marked by the settling of Billy Bones at the Admiral Benbow Inn. Bones is an old pirate seeking a safe place to live out the rest of his life in peace. Bones gives Jim a silver fourpenny each month, for which he must watch for a one-legged seafaring man. Jim is terrified of the one-legged man, but this does not stop him from engaging in the bargain. However, he is not afraid of the captain. He enjoys listening to the captain's nautical tales of danger and adventure.
Bones soon has an unexpected visitor an old shipmate, by the name of Black Dog. They get into a fight and Bones throws a knife at Black Dog. The knife misses its mark and comes to rest in the sign of the Admiral Benbow Inn. This symbolizes the peril the pirates bring into Jim's life. The sign (like Jim) is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and is damaged by the ferocity of the pirates. The notch remains in the sign, leaving a permanent defect in a once innocent unmarred object.
Not long after, Jim encounters the old blind man, Pew. He is the epitome of fright. At first he seems harmless, but as Jim steps towards him, Pew grabs Jim by the arm and threatens to break it unless he is taken to the captain. The old man's gruff voice and harsh words terrify Jim. He takes Pew to the Inn to meet with Billy Bones. When Bones spots Pew he becomes quite anxious. Pew passes a paper to Bones and leaves. When Bones realizes that he has been given The Black Spot he is so distressed that he suffers a fatal stroke. Even though Jim states that he never liked the captain much, he still finds himself upset at his passing. He cries out for his mother's help. This demonstrates that Jim is still just a child and is scared of the events he has witnessed.
Jim proceeds to tell his mother everything he has learned from the pirates. They both become quite frightened and decide to leave the inn. They go to the village to ask for help but no one wants to become involved in such hazardous business. Jim and his mother head back to the inn alone to collect the money owed by the captain. This is where the initial development of Jim's bravery begins. Jim also becomes responsible when he takes care of his weary mother after escaping the inn. Since the death of his father, Jim is the man of the house and must grow into the role. He soon demonstrates his bravery again...