Kidnapped
Kidnapped
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Kidnapped Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Family

There's a clash going on in this novel between two different models of government. One is the Lowland style, which is based on the idea of Scotland as a unified nation with a single ruler. The seco...

Friendship

There is a lot of politicking going on in this novel, what with the Whigs and the Jacobites and the Covenanters and who knows what. But what we remember about Kidnapped is not the Jacobites' politi...

Contrasting Regions

The Lowlands are the southeastern part of Scotland, and they are (as you might expect) low. We mean that literally: they're relatively flat, whereas the Highlands in the northwest are mountainous....

Morality and Ethics

It makes sense, in a novel focusing at least in part on a murder, that there would be a lot of talk about morality. But somehow these discussions never seem to go very far in Kidnapped. Consider Al...

Patriotism

We've already mentioned the differences between clan loyalty and national loyalty in our "Family" theme. But let's get into these political divisions between the Scottish Highlands and the Lowlands...

Revenge

One of the problems with a system of local governance based on family loyalty is that, if someone offends your family, you have a personal responsibility to get revenge. Look where that gets Alan a...

Exploration

Fanny Stevenson wrote that her husband originally sketched the story of Kidnapped to be the tale of a boy "who should travel in Scotland as though it were a foreign country, meeting with various ad...

Defeat

Let's think for a second about the fates of the real-life people Davie meets on his journey through Scotland: Cluny Macpherson, dead in France; James Stewart, hanged for the murder of Colin Roy; an...

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