ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON
Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh on the 13th of November in 1850. The son of a successful civil engineer, he was expected to follow the family profession, but finally was allowed to study law at Edinburgh University. Stevenson reacted violently against the Presbyterian respectability of the cityīs professional classes and this led to painful clashes with his parents. In his early twenties he became afflicted with a severe respiratory illness from which he was to suffer for the rest of his life; it was at this time that he determined to become a professional writer. In 1879 he nearly killed himself travelling to California to marryy Fanny Osbourne, an American ten years senior. Together they continued his search for a climate kind to his fragile health, eventually settling in Samoa, where he died of cerebral haemorrhage on the third of December in 1894.
Stevensonīs Calvinistic upbringing gave him a preoccupation with predestination and a fascination with the presence of the evil. In \"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde\" (1886) he explores the darker side of the human psyche, and the character of the Master in \"The Master of Ballantrae\"(1889) was intended to be \"all I know of the devil\". Stevenson began his literary career as an essayist and travel-writer, but the success of \"Treasure Island\"(1883) and \"Kidnapped\" (1886) established his reputation for tales of action and adventure. As Walter Allen comments in The English Novel: \"His rediscovery of the art of narrative, of conscious and cunning calculation in telling a story so that the maximum effect of clarity and suspense is achieved, meant the birth of the novel of action as we know it.\" \"Kidnapped\" and \"The Master of Ballantrae\" also reveal his knowledge and feeling for the Scottish cultural past. During the last years of his life Robert Louis Stevensonīs creative range developed considerably. At the time of his death he was working on \"Weir of Hermiston\", at once a romantic historical novel and an emotional reworking of one of his most distressing experience, the conflict between father and son.
1.) Treasure Island:
During the whole book Jim Hawkins is the narrator of the adventures on Treasure Island, except Doctor Liveseyīs narrative from the chapters XVI to XVIII. The young narrator enables the boy-reader to become involved in those crucial experiences of "fear and danger" by which the author set such store. He has been asked by the Squire and the Doctor to provide a record of all that had happened, to keep nothing back but the exact location of the Island, all the treasure not having been lifted. He is trusted to provide a reliable report: this trust that the adult world places in the narrator is, as has been pointed out, part of the boy-readerīs day- dream.
Jim as a narrator has two apparently paradoxical attitudes to his own story: on the one hand he thought that the journey to seek for buried treasure would be a delightful dream but on the other hand he wrote that in all his fancies nothing has occured to him so strange and tragic as their actual adventures.
Jimīs viewpoint varies between two poles: at one time, he is the hero of his own dream, a good day-dream of a quest for treasure; at another he is the narrator of a strange and tragic story.
Jim Hawkins: He both as boy-within-the-story and as narrator of the tale in retrospect, became the hero of his own text. The adult characters relied on him and were right to do so. His heroic role was summed up in the Doctorīs comment: "Every step, itīs you that saves our lives!" But ultimately the dream had to end: as Captain Smollett said that Jim was too much the born favourite for them to go to sea again together . The young Jim Hawkins had to grow up, but, before this came to be, he was a "sharer in the alarms" of the story and of its characters.
Jimīs neutrality means that he was effective as the type of narrator who allowed a maximum concentration on the incidents of the authorīs romance.
When young Hawkins came to Bristol with his experience of Black Dog and Blind Pew he thought that he knew what a buccaneer was like - a very different creature, according to him, from this clean and pleasant-tempered landlord.
J. Hawkinsī parents: His Father kept the \"Admiral Benbow\" inn in Bristol. The inn had very little company so it was very quiet. He was very ill and died shortly after the arrival of Billy Bones.
The Mother was a very kind woman. She cooked the food for the inn, which tasted delicious. When the Father was ill she nursed him and still kept the inn open. She thought of herself that she would be an honest woman but once (when they got the money which Billy Bones owed the Father out of his room) Jim blamed her for her honesty but also for her greed, for her past foolhardness and present weakness.
Dr. Livesey: He was the doctor of Jimīs Father. When Billy Bones fell down after the fight with Black Dog he helped the \"Captain\".
He was not a doctor only but also a magistrate and in this duties he was respected by everyone, especially by Billy Bones and other shady figures.
From chapter XVI to chapter XVIII the narrative is continued by the doctor. This part of the book is brisk, lively and rather bluffly dismissive about the facts of death and violence. The doctor had a low opinion of pirates. He was a good friend of ...
Squire John Trelawney: Looked for a ship in Bristol to go and search for the treasure and found the Hispaniola. As he stood on the dock he started talking to an old sailor, who kept a public house and knew all seafaring men in Bristol. This man wanted a job as a seacook. His name was Long John Silver and this man helped him to get other men to go to sea with them. He was initially prepared to trust...
Long John Silver : He had a bankerīs account which had never been overdrawn and he was a man of substance. He had lost one leg and he left his wife to manage the public house. On the journey to \"Treasure Island\" he was the sea cook of the crew.
Captain Smollett: He is the lesser figure in Treasure Island, who clings to the conventions of a rigid morality and a narrow realism, a scheme in which he believes that the Author is firmly on the side of the good. The Captain held tenaciously to his position in the fable.
He was a sharp-looking man who seemed angry with everything on board and was soon to tell them why. He didnīt like that cruise, he didnīt like the men on board and he didnīt like his officer. He had a bit of feeling what the seamen were like. He was responsible for the shipīs safety and everymenīslife. Dr. Livesey thought that he has been a very honest men.He has put doubts about Long John Silver.
The novel \"Treasure Island\" is about a young boy, Jim Hawkins, who finds a map of a treasure island in a room of one of their guests who didnīt pay. Dr. Livesey, Squire Trelawney, Tom Redruth and Jim went to Bristol to get a crew and a ship for the journey. After they had found it they went to sea. The crew was full of rough buccaneers and pirates. One of them was Long John Silver. He was the sea cook but he seemed to lead the group.
One day young Hawkins listened to a discussion between Silver and one of his mate. They said that they wanted to overtake the ship as soon as they reached the island. Of course Jim told it Dr. Livesey and so they were prepared for the attack just in front of the island. But the pirates were better than the gentlemen and they were all arrested except Jim who could escape. On the island he found shipwrecked Ben Gunn who helped him to fool the bad crew and there was a big fight on the island where a few people died. At the end even Long John Silver helped them to seek for the treasure and after they had found it they went back on their boat and wanted to go home again. They arrived at the port of Spanish America and were happy to be on the country again.
Robert Louis Stevensonīs first novel \"Treasure Island\" was started in August 1881 when he found a map drawn by his 12-year-old stepson, Lloyd Osbourne, just to Lloydīs amusement. During late August and September 15 chapters were written at the rate of each day, the remainder of the text completed at Davos later in 1881. It was published in 1883.
The time span is about four weeks but the time is compressed because everything is happening so fast.
There are several settings and places. First it all starts at the \"Admiral Benbow\" inn of Jim Hawkinsī parents. There they find the map and also a lot of money. After that they change the setting to Dr. Liveseyīs house to show him the map and to ask what they should do.
After their decision to seek for the treasure they go to Bristol to look for a boat and also a crew to help the gentlemen.
Most of the action happens on \"Treasure Island\" until the final chapter when they ship back home and arrive at a port of Spanish America.
The use of non-standard language is a recurrent problem in childrenīs or juvenile fiction. Stevenson, as a Scots writer, was to come up against it. In certain cases he makes the speech of his characters more colloquial and less standard than in the serialization if the novel. But this is not so with Long John Silver: when it comes to rewrite his speech Stevenson makes him more refined and genteel.
Traditionally in the 19th century childrenīs fiction non-standard language is a sign of a bad character or the language of one who is a periphal actor in the story.
Two linguistic points are important in terms of texture of the narrative in \"Treasure Island\". First, Silverīs more standard speech singles him out from the rest of the pirates and mutineers. It makes him not only appear better educated than them but also more complex morally; and this affects both the readerīs and Jimīs apprehension of him.
Second, it makes those occasions when he does use non-standard speech more empathic.
The pattern of standard and non-standard speech in the text makes a difference between the pirates and the faithful party. The non-standard speech becomes the mark of \"illegality\".
Linked to the textual contrast between legal, standard English and non-standard piratesī speech, are the amendments the author made to Dr. Liveseyīs narrative.
This is more lively, brisk and rather bluffly dismissive about the facts of death and violence.
The most characteristic leitmotif is that there are two different characters in all of us: the good and the evil. The best example is Long John Silver: first he seems to be rough and untouchable seacook who just wants the treasure and the money. But in the course of the action he starts to be freindly and understanding.
Nevertheless, he wanted to show his mates that he is a strong and rough pirate.
At the end there is a real friendship between Jim and Silver.
For me it was a thrilling book especially at the end when Jim and the gentlemen fought against the other buccaneers. Nevertheless, I think that it is a book for men to make one feel a boy again but also that it is a good report of a frightening journey.
2.) The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde:
Firts thereīs a third-person narrator until the end where Dr. Lanyon and Dr. Henry Jekyll give their full statement of the strange case. All of the narrators seem to be reliable because they are highly educated lawyers and doctors and in this jobs they have to be honest and reliable.
All the characters in the story are sense-isolated. They have no wives, no families and no close friendships. They have servants and they have acquaintances, but that is all.
Dr. Henry Jekyll: He is an apparently respectable man who contains within him a potential for profound wickedness, released in the shape of Mr. Hyde. He is a moral and decent man but he has always been leading a double life and he is doing that because he has aimed so high. He wanted respect, honour and distinction, to be highly regarded in society, and thus felt that he had to conceal any irregularities in his life. In the last phase of the story he takes over as narrator and tells us about himself. He is seen as a respectable man engaged in a worthy profession. He has tried so hard to be good - he has led a life \"of effort, virtue and control\" - the undeveloped evil side of his nature is what is set free.
Mr. Edward Hyde: Dr. Jekyll ,in becoming Mr. Hyde, is liberating himself. He sets himself free from moral restraint and becomes beast-like, brutish , sub-human and pure evil. He shows that thereīs the potential for evil within us all.
After the change he was slighter, smaller and younger than Jekyll and he had full liberty and power in Jekyllīs house. Hyde had his own room in Soho, his own clothes and even his own bank account.
His leading characteristics were complete moral insensibility and insenste readiness to evil.
Mr.Utterson: The lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance that was never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary and somehow lovable.
His friendships seemed to be founded in a similar catholicity of good-nature. His friends were those of his own blood or those whom he had known longest and this united him to them. His relationship to Enfield is cool and distant and there is no real intimacy.
Mr. Richard Enfield: Uttersonīs distant cousin and the well-known man about town.
He and Mr. Utterson go for walks every Sunday and people report that they donīt say a word and looked absolutely dull.
On another walk he told his friend that he had a frightening experience with a man looking like Satan who ran down a little girl. Mr. Enfield and other passer-bies stopped him and told him to pay kind of compensation for the girlīs familyīs suffering. He gave them a cheque where the honourable Dr. Jekyll had put his signature. Of course Enfield didnīt trust him but on the next day the bank employee told him that the signature was not forged.
Dr. Hastie Lanyon: He was a good friend and collegue of Dr. Jekyll. Utterson, Jekyll and Lanyon were very good friends.
When Jekyll was very ill Lanyon treated him and ther he found out that Jekyll and Hyde were the same person. And this was his death.
In a letter to Uttersonwhich had to be opened after his death he told him the frightening story.
Poole: He was Dr. Jekyllīs devoted butler. When the strange actions around Jekyllīs house started he always informed the loyal friends.
The story \"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde\" is about a doctor who creates a tincture which transfirmates your body and soul into your unknown evil character.
He changed himself from Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde. When he was Mr. Hyde he could do all the things he cwasnīt allowed to do in his moral and decent character of the doctor.
Nobody knows about the changes in Dr. Jekyll but suddenly the \"magic\" tincture doesnīt really work any more. Over night he changes from good to evil and he canīt return the transformation.
Dr. Lanyon, his friend, find sout about the strange and wrote a letter to the lawyer Mr. Utterson . The next night Lanyon is dead and shortly after that the evil Hyde kills himself.
The story plays in the 19th century. The first three chapters happen about a year before all important actions. The time span seems to be compressed because everything occures from October to January or longer but it seems to be in a few days.
The setting is London. But the ambience is without a doubt Edinburgh, the Edinburgh of the Old Townīs dark wynds and closes, where the turn of a corner could abruptly leave behind the world of surface respectability, and the lingering shades of Burke and Hare, the grave-robbers, and Deacon Brodie, cabinet maker by day, criminal by night, still flavoured the atmosphere.
There are several places where the actions take place, for example Jekyllīs house, the streets of London, Uttersonīs bachelor house and the homes of other characters.
Although the characters are highly educated the language is still easy to understand. They donīt use regional expressions and the dialogues are not complex.
There are two messages within the book: firstly to beware the hidden sin and secondly to beware tampering with nature.
Stevenson wants to show that even in an apparently respectable man there is the potential of the evil and that nearly everyone is leading a doublelife within oneself.
It is a frightening but also gripping book which can be read easily in one day.
The reader can also learn something of this book: even the best educated and politest men or women can sometimes have a day or a situation where they want to show the evil just to be good again the next time.
There is a first-person narrator in the character of David Balfour who is the hero of \"Kidnapped\". He is reliable because he is fully involved in all the actions during the story.
David Balfour: David is representing lowland Scotland - mercantile , canny , Hanoverian and Whiggish, law-abiding and Presbyterian. He seems to be the conventionalized first-person narrator, the universal representative, the person for whom every reader could substitute himself. He is a rationalist, an endurer and a survivor. He never initiates action or ever consciously makes a decision. On the one hand he can be very unpleasant but on the other hand David shows a touchingly naive faith in the rule of law and an untouching belief in his own rectitude .
Mr. Campbell: he is the minister of Essendean,the place where Davie lived, and a very close friend of his dead father. Before David leaves his home he gives him a few presents, his fatherīs will and also good advices on the journey.
Mr. Ebenezer Balfour of Shaws: He is Davidīs uncle and a very rich, greedy old man who was liked by none of his neighbours or folks.
When David came to his house he wanted to get him away as fast as he arrived there. He even tried to kill his nephew. After that they went on a journey to the \"Queens Ferry\" and on this journey the evil side of his uncle turned up again and he wanted to kidnapp the young man.+
Alan \'Breck\' Stewart: His character is in contrast of Davidīs. He is feudal, romantic, proud to a fault, a lover of lost causes, Jacobite. He is lost between a feudal system where the masters have deserted, or are about to betray, their people and a square society for which he is unequipped and has, in any case, little taste. It is easy to draw at the mistakes of his character - vainglorious to an extreme, sentimental, cussedly out of touch with historical reality. He becomes a real good friend of David.
The adventure story \"Kidnapped\" is about the young Lowlander David Balfour who leaves his home after his fatherīs death to look for his uncle. As he finds him the uncle is not pleased with the arrival of young David and wants to get rid of him by using unfair methods like attempted murder or kidnapping.
He kidnapped him on a ferry where other people were captured as well and with another prsoner he tries to escape and they have done it. The other prisoner is Alan \'Breck\' Stewart a Highlander who fought for his culture and for his family.
After the fights on the ship they get shipwrecked and David and Alan have lost eachother. After a struggle of life and a few hard actions for both of them they find eachother in moment where a Kingīs servant was murderered. The murderer escaped very fast and of course the two friends were blamed for the case.
Both fled through the Highlands of the Kingīs soldiers.
After two months they passed the forth and then he wantes to look for Mr. Rankeillor who could have give him his property, namely the kingdom of the Balfours of Shaw.
The story starts in June 1751 and end son August the 24th. Time seems to be expanded because everything is described very detailed. If there wouldnīt be any date you would think that the actions were happening ina year or more.
Everything starts in Essendean where David, his parents and the minister and his wife live. Then young Balfour goes to Cramond which is near by Edinburgh. There he gets kidnapped and arrives shirwrecked on the south end of the Isle of Mull. From there he goes through the Highland to Mr. Rankeillor in Queensferry and then back to Edinburgh.
The settings change very fast and it is often very confusing because of the difficult Scottish names. But with a map of Scotland you can easily find the which Alan and David went.
Also The Language is often very confusing. British English and also Gaelic are mixed up and if you want the translation of the Gaelic expressions you loose the flow of reading.
Regional expressions are used very frequently and it is complex to read.
\"Kidnapped\" is in some ways a national epic of the conflicting forces of \"the dour and rational\" against the \"adventurous and romantic\" in post-Union Scotland. The book shows perfectly the differences between Highlander and Lowlander and also their conflicts.
If someone reads the book it would be better to have some background information of the most important historical actions and also a map would be helpful.
The book offered me a gripping journey through Scotland where I learned more about the mentality of the Scots.
4.) The Master of Ballantrae:
The narrator is the servant Mr. Mackellar, who enjoyed a lot of confidence of all of the Duries. Thatīs why he seems to be really reliable and also the fact that he was part of some of the actions makes the impression that he writes the truth.
He shows that it is kind of a report of the actions at Durrisdeer and that he wants to show the real characters of the family.
In the second chapter Chevalier de Burke toook over the narration and told the story of the supposed dead Master of Ballantrae.