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Treasure Island Unit Study: Part IV

This is the fourth lesson in the unit study on Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Part Four is called "The Stockade".

Treasure Island 1950 Video

Treasure Island (Signet Classic)

For a free ebook version of Treasure Island check out http://www.gspp.com.au/treasure_island.htm.

You may also be interested in the Introduction to the Treasure Island unit study.

Suggested Vocabulary:

Define the meaning as the one used in the book.

primed pistols
ebb tide
long nine
round shot
log book
Jolly Roger
fly (smart or cunning are synonyms)
flag of truce
Davy Jones
"whistle a wind"

Summary of the Book:

From Biblomania.com: "Stevenson's most famous novel and an enduringly popular romance, Treasure Island was published in 1883, although it had appeared initially in Young Folks in serial form July 1881-June 1882 under the alternative title of "The Sea-Cook or Treasure Island". It is of course the author's success, but the novel's conception is interesting. It developed from an imaginary map that Stevenson and his stepson Lloyd Osbourne had devised on holiday and this goes some way towards explaining the book's appeal among children. Moreover, the famous antihero Long John Silver was the invention of Stevenson's friend, William Henley. Nonetheless, the tale is the archetypal nineteenth century 'ripping yarn'. Our narrator is Jim Hawkins, son of a guesthouse owner on the west coast of England sometime in the eighteenth century. To the inn come firstly an old buccaneer who has a map of Captain Flint's treasure, and secondly a group of pirates under the command of ominous blind man Pew. Jim Hawkins, our hero, in an act of bravery and cunning gets hold of the map before this rabid mob gets it. He delivers the map to Squire Trelawney, and together they set off for Treasure Island in the Squire's schooner. The rest of the crew, apart from Dr Livesey (a friend of the squire) are a company collected by Long John Silver. The latter and his men try to mutiny and get hold of the treasure themselves but Jim intervenes and through a series of enthralling adventures we find ourselves on Treasure Island with the marooned Ben Gunn and ever closer to the treasure itself."

Suggested Activities and Questions:

1. What does "three bells in the sea phrase" mean?

2. Who is chapter sixteen narrated by? [Answer: the Doctor]

3. Did you find the change in narrators confusing or interesting? Give specific reasons why or why not?

4. In Dr. Livesey's day, fever and dysentery were dreaded, often fatal diseases in hot, moist lands. Research what they are, what causes them, and the treatments for dysentery then and now.

5. Discover the differences in flintlock guns and the guns of today. Gather pictures of various flintlock pistols and muskets and compare them with what guns look like today. What are some of the differences? What are some of the similarities?

6. A jolly-boat was a small boat used to carry a few men to and from shore. Draw a picture of what a jolly-boat looks like.

7. Tides are called "ebb" and "flow". What are the differences between these two tides? Why were they important to sailors of the "Treasure Island" time period? Do you think they are still important to sailors today? Give specific reasons.

8. A "long nine" was the kind of cannon aboard the Hispaniola. Research cannons that were used aboard ships ... history, design, use, etc.

9. Draw pictures of the various weapons mentioned in this section of Treasure Island.

10. What is a log book? What purpose does it serve? As a craft activity, create your own log book and use it as a journal, either for this unit or for personal use.

11. The "Jolly Roger" was the flag of pirates. Research how this flag came into being. You may wish to make a replica of the flag as an art project. Did all pirates fly the Jolly Roger?

12. The term "fly" as used by Ben Gunn in chapter nineteen actually means smart or cunning. Can you think of any other synonyms for the word?

13. Research what snuff is. Do you think it is a very healthy habit or one that is unhealthy? Give specific reasons.

14. Davy Jones was the humorous name used by sailors for the spirit of the sea. Davy Jones' Locker was the bottom of the sea, both a grave and a resting place for all the ships that have ever sunk. Draw a cartoon style drawing of Davy Jones' Locker, it may be humorous or serious.

15. Early sailors were very superstitious. Many believed that you could "whistle for a wind" and it would blow. What other superstitions are connected with sailors, sailing, and/or the sea.

16. A "hanger" was shorter-than-usual sword; short enough that fighters could hang them from their belts without tripping over them. What other kinds of knives and weapsons have both sailors and pirates used through out history.

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