by Robert Louis Stevenson
Treasure Island Duty Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Poor old fellow, [Tom Redruth] had not uttered one word of surprise, complaint, fear, or even acquiescence from the very beginning of our troubles till now, when we had laid him down in the log-house to die. He had lain like a Trojan behind his mattress in the gallery; he had followed every order silently, doggedly, and well; he was the oldest of our party by a score of years; and now, sullen, old, serviceable servant, it was he that was to die. (18.11)
Here, Doctor Livesey is describing Tom Redruth's death. All of Doctor Livesey's adjectives are pretty condescending: "poor old fellow," "he had followed every order," "sullen, old serviceable servant." The only thing he comments on is Redruth's value as a servant. There seems to be some subtle class prejudice in this description. What do you think of the way Stevenson depicts Squire Trelawney's three faithful, doomed servants?
And just at that moment came the first news of the attack.
"If you please, sir," said Joyce, "if I see anyone, am I to fire?"
"I told you so!" cried the captain.
"Thank you, sir," returned Joyce with the same quiet civility. (21.16-19)
Speaking of condescending depictions of servants, Joyce is so well-trained and obedient that he has to double check with Captain Smollett to make sure he has permission to fire against the pirates who are trying to kill him. Is this just a moment of comic relief? Why include Redruth, Joyce, and Hunter in the novel at all when they have scarcely anything to do?
I was greatly elated with my new command, and pleased with the bright, sunshiny weather and these different prospects of the coast. I had now plenty of water and good things to eat, and my conscience, which had smitten me hard for my desertion, was quieted by the great conquest I had made. I should, I think, have had nothing left me to desire but for the eyes of the coxswain as they followed me derisively about the deck and the odd smile that appeared continually on his face. It was a smile that had in it something both of pain and weakness--a haggard old man's smile; but there was, besides that, a grain of derision, a shadow of treachery, in his expression as he craftily watched, and watched, and watched me at my work. (26.37)
Jim is now self-declared captain of the Hispaniola, with the very tricky Israel Hands as his crew. Hands is intriguing because he's almost as smart as Long John Silver, but he can't quite hide what he's thinking ("a grain of derision, a shadow of treachery"). Or is it that Jim is slowly getting better at reading people? Is Jim's taking possession of the Hispaniola a sign of growing maturity? Do you see signs that Jim's character changes over the course of the novel?