Study Guide

Israel Hands in Treasure Island

By Robert Louis Stevenson

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Israel Hands

Israel Hands is the coxswain aboard the Hispaniola, and he also appears to be Long John Silver's second in command of the pirates. The coxswain is the crewman who monitors the steering of the ship. Israel Hands's skill with steering really comes in handy when Jim is steeling the Hispaniola back from the pirates. Israel Hands and O'Brien are the only two pirates on board the Hispaniola when Jim cuts it adrift from the anchor. Jim finds Israel Hands badly wounded after a fight with O'Brien. Hands has killed O'Brien, but he needs Jim's help to beach the ship safely on the north side of the island. They form a shaky truce until they've accomplished the goal they both want to achieve – finding a good place for the Hispaniola to go ashore. Once that's done, Israel Hands turns on Jim. Jim escapes and climbs onto the rigging of the ship. Israel Hands throws his knife at Jim, injuring his arm. Jim is so surprised by the blow that he accidentally squeezes the trigger of his two loaded pistols, killing Hands.

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