Treasure Island

The Effect of Selfishness on Long John Silver’s Motivations in Treasure Island 9th Grade

What defines loyalty? Loyalty to a friend, to a family, or simply to oneself? The analysis of Robert Louis Stevenson’s character Long John Silver from Treasure Island is complex and interesting, yet in some ways ultimately subjective. Silver displays many charismatic and leadership-oriented traits, keeping a constant commitment to his own plans, but does that make him faithful? Can a person hold shoddy intentions, yet still be loyal? It is hard to interpret this dilemma, as we automatically associate faithfulness with positive purpose, but that is not always the case. Loyalty to a cause is a very important theme in Treasure Island when analyzing the mutineers versus the honest men, but Silver was merely loyal to himself. Long John Silver’s constant determination in his goals to obtain treasure never once falters until he ultimately achieves his goal, proving loyalty to his own mindset.

Despite Long John Silver’s suspicious intentions, his greed constantly keeps him committed to his plans. It is easy to recall how successfully Long John Silver masks his true identity for days, until Jim accidentally hears the pirates expressing their rebellious plans for mutiny. Until then, Silver had Jim, Dr. Livesey, and the Squire fooled. Jim...

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