Study Guide

Kidnapped Friendship

By Robert Louis Stevenson

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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' political platform, but rather the friendship between Davie and Alan. Despite their wildly different ideas about the world, the two are able to bond, quarrel, make up, and go on without too much trouble. The world Davie and Alan are inhabiting – Scotland in the eighteenth century – seems totally foreign to us here at Shmoop. But the friendship is another matter – that we can identify with.

Questions About Friendship

  1. Do we have any models of friendship in this novel besides Davie and Alan? If there are no other buddy pairings, why might that be?
  2. How do bonds of friendship differ from family ties, if they do? Does the text describe them differently? Is there any evidence that Alan treats Davie differently because he is not a Stewart?
  3. What role does politics or religion play in developing relationships between characters in Kidnapped?

Chew on This

Whereas family relationships in Kidnapped often emphasize shared value systems, the friendship between Davie and Alan builds on mutual respect and tolerance of difference.

Friendship is enough to unite Davie and Alan despite their differences, but it is not enough to change either of their minds about moral or political questions.

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