Treasure Island: Novel Summary: Part 3
Part 3: My Shore Adventure
Chapter XIII - Chapter XV
Chapter XIII: How My Shore Adventure Began
The crew drop anchor about a third of a mile from the island. Jim becomes depressed because the island looks dark and melancholy. He also gets seasick. The men appear mutinous, and the captain suggests giving them an afternoon ashore. He is convinced that Silver does not want a mutiny yet, and he will talk them out of it. Thirteen men, including Silver, go ashore in boats. Believing that the men remaining on board do not need his assistance, Jim decides to go ashore as well. As soon as he sets foot on the island, he runs as fast as he can.
Chapter XIV: The First Blow
Having given Silver the slip, Jim explores the uninhabited island, enjoying the trees and plants. Then he hears the voices of two men, and hides. One of the voices belongs to Silver. The men talk earnestly for some while, but Jim cannot hear what they are saying. He crawls closer. He hears Silver talking to the man, whose name is Tom, unsuccessfully trying to persuade him to join the mutiny. There is a cry and then a scream from far off, in the marsh. Silver tells Tom that the cry must come from Alan, another member of the crew. Tom is horrified at the knowledge that the other pirates have killed Alan. He defies Silver, turning his back on him and walking toward the beach. Silver throws his crutch at him, hitting him in the back. Tom falls. Silver goes after him and stabs him twice, killing him. A murder has been committed in front of Jim's eyes, and he runs away in fear. He does not know what to do. He fears that if the mutineers see him, they will kill him. But if he goes on hiding, he faces starvation. He runs to the foot of a hill, where another shock awaits him.
Chapter XV: The Man of the Island
From behind a pine tree, a strange, dark and shaggy figure leaps out. Jim does not know whether it is a man or some other creature. Frightened, Jim begins to run, but the creature (who he now sees is a man) cuts him off. Jim gathers his courage and walks toward him, and the man throws himself on his knees in front of Jim. He says his name is Ben Gunn, and he has not spoken with anyone for three years. He says he is rich and wants to know whether the squire would take him home for a fee of a thousand pounds (a large amount of money in those days). It turns out that Ben was a member of Captain Flint's crew when Flint and six of his crewmen went ashore and buried the treasure. Flint then killed all six men. Ben returned to the island in another ship, three years ago. The crew spent twelve days looking for the treasure but could not find it. They then left Ben on the island alone. Ben asks Jim to tell the squire his story. When Jim asks how he can get back to the ship, Ben tells him he has made a boat which he keeps under the white rock. Then Jim hears gunfire and he knows the battle has begun.
Analysis: Part III
In Part III, Jim shows his impulsiveness, curiosity and independent spirit. He acts on his own ideas without bothering to check with the authorities. Although this leads him into some difficult situations, it also ensures that he and the squire, doctor and captain eventually triumph over the mutineers. At every point, from his reporting of what he heard in the apple barrel to his encounter with Ben Gunn in this section, Jim's actions play a crucial role in how the adventure unfolds.
This section also reveals Long John Silver at his absolute worst. In just a few chapters, Jim (and the reader) has had to radically alter his view of this man. Silver's murder of Tom seems to fix him irrevocably as an evil figure. And yet, as subsequent chapters show, Stevenson has not finished exploring Silver's character, and later chapters will bring more twists to how the reader responds to this fascinating figure.