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by Robert Louis Stevenson

Analysis: Genre

Adventure, Coming-of-Age, Historical Fiction

Identifying Kidnapped as an adventure novel is the easy part: there are daring escapes, chases, shipwrecks, violence, suspense – all the elements of a good yarn. As for coming-of-age, Davie starts the story an inexperienced boy of seventeen, having never traveled outside of Essendean. By the end of the novel, he has fought off dastardly captains, befriended Highland outlaws, and managed to outsmart his wicked uncle into giving him his estate back. In one summer, Davie has turned eighteen and has both literally and figuratively become an adult. Finally, as a piece of historical fiction, Kidnapped was published in 1886 but set in 1751. Need we say more? (For more on the historical backdrop of Kidnapped, see our "Detailed Summary" of the novel and our section on "Setting.")

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