Children’s Literature

2) In Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, boy protagonist Jim Hawkins is exposed to two major models of masculinity, one that is embodied by “gentleman born* (Dr. Livesey, Captain Smollett, Squire Trelawney) and the other by “gentleman of fortune” (aka the pirates—Billy Bones, Long John Silver, Israel Hands, etc.). Choose one character from each of these groups (for example, Dr. Livesey/ Billy Bones or Captain Smollett/ Captain Silver) and discuss how their interactions with each other and Jim’s encounters with each of them are used by Stevenson to underscore the complexities of
adult masculinity, of what it means “to be a man.” Some questions to consider: What are the defining traits of each of your two chosen characters? Are the traits physical, mental, or moral? Do your characters have traits in common with one another? How do any of these traits reveal themselves in the characters’ interactions with Jim? Although the “gentlemen of fortune” lose in the end, does Stevenson suggest that they possess traits that Jim needs or could be improved by? Similarly, while the “gentlemen born® win in the end, does Stevenson suggest that they possess traits that Jim would be wise to ignore?

Sample Solution

ACED ESSAYS