Treasure Island

A Gentleman Chosen

One particular climax in the story "Treasure Island" occurs when Jim Hawkins unwittingly stumbles into enemy camp and is captured by Long John Silver and his pirates. This passage is of particular importance because it ultimately allows Jim to make a choice between the "gentlemen born" and the "gentlemen of fortune."

From the first moment Jim is captured, Long John Silver tries to win Jim over to the "gentlemen of fortune" and get him to side with the pirates. Silver is keenly aware of Jim's need for acceptance, and asks him, "Hawkins, will you give me your word of honor as a young gentleman for a young gentleman you are, although poor born your word of honor not to slip your cable?" (749). This is Silver's not-so-subtle way of telling Jim that, although he may choose honor over dishonor, he will never truly be a "gentleman born." Silver plays on Jim's need for acceptance and deftly lets Jim know that he will be accepted as a "gentleman of fortune."

Silver has a variety of motives for making this statement to Jim. I believe his ultimate motive is to win Jim's loyalty because he wants Jim to join the pirates. But why does he want Jim to join the...

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