Treasure Island
Robert Louis
Contributed by Sherie Debus
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Chapters 18-Epilogue

Summary: Chapter XXXI

Silver thanks Jim for refraining from fleeing when Dr. Livesay urged him to do so and for saving his life. Silver and John begin eating breakfast together. Jim is surprised by the fact that the band has made three times the amount of food as required. Silver’s men seem confident that they will be able to find and take the treasure soon. Jim feels sad because he is certain that Silver will betray him as soon as it will benefit him.

After they have had breakfast the pirates leave to go on the hunt for treasure. Silver leads Jim, controlling him with a leash. Struggling through the hills, they stop once in a while to look at the map. When they get to the top of the hill, the pirates are surprised to discover a skeleton dressed in seaman’s clothing. It is positioned on the ground like compass. It seems to point to the treasure. The knife that would have belonged to the man is missing. This indicates that the current group of pirates is not the first to have found the skeleton. The pirates realize that the skeleton must have been one of their former mates. His name was Allardyce. He served in Flint’s crew. They are able to guess this because of its yellow hair and long bones. They head in the direction where they believe the treasure will be found.

Summary: Chapter XXXII

When they are taking a break from the search, Silver shows that he is confident that they are approaching the treasure. One of the pirates has uneasy feelings when thinking about Flint. Silver declares that they are fortunate that the old captain is dead. Suddenly, the pirates hear a high and trembling voice. It is singing the same song that the pirates often enjoy, “Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest.” One of the men says that the voice belongs to Flint. The men are terrified by this thought. They fear that they have woken up a ghost.

The voice is heard again. It wails, saying words that the men know were Flint’s last. One of the men brings out a Bible. He begins to pray. Silver, who is the only one who doesn’t seem afraid, admonishes the other men for their belief in spirits. He remains focused on the quest for treasure. The group continues onward. As they get closer to the treasure site, Silver’s nostrils start to quiver. He appears half mad. As they come upon the treasure site, the pirates are stunned to discover it has already been excavated and emptied. There is only a barren hole before them.

Summary: Chapter XXXIII

The group is astonished to discover that the treasure has been taken. Silver gives Him his gun. He does this because he now understands that he requires the boy after all. Jim coldly tells Silver that he sees he is changing sides again. The men dig further into the pit. They find only a few coins. One of the men accuses Silver of knowing all along that the treasure was no longer there. Very angry, the pirates suddenly appear to be united in opposition to silver. They start to move towards him aggressively. A gun suddenly fires somewhere nearby. It cuts down a number of the pirates. Silver takes out a pistol. He kills the pirate who had made the accusation against him. At this moment, Dr. Livesay, Abraham Gray, and Ben Gunn come out from among the trees. Their muskets are still smoking.

Silver offers his thanks to Livesay for saving him from the uprising. He also greets Ben Gunn in a friendly way. We are told that Ben, during his time walking around the island, had discovered the skeleton, retrieved the treasure, and put it in a cave. Livesay found out about this and handed the map to Silver only because he knew it was entirely useless. Find out that Jim would be one of the disappointed treasure hunters, Livesay asked Ben to imitate the voice of Captain Flint. This successfully played on the superstitions of the pirates, thereby slowing down their progress.

The group finally ventures to the cave and sees the wondrous treasure of gold exactly where Ben left it. Smollett informs Jim that he will never again go to sea with him. They have a hearty meal together. Jim feels very happy to be with his friends.

Summary: Chapter XXXIV

The following morning, the men start the challenging task of moving all the gold to the Hispaniola. Jim finds the coins to be very fascinating. He is more enthralled by their nations of origin and the variety of their designs than the wealth that they signify. On the night of the third day they spend loading the vessel, the men find three of the mutineers. They are clearly either crazy or drunk. The men opt to abandon the three mutineers, leaving them marooned on the island with only limited provisions.

As Smollett and his men finally get ready to embark, the three mutineers kneel before them. They are showing their submission and begging to be allowed on board. Knowing that they are being left on the island, they fire their guns at the ship as it starts to leave. No one is injured, though. Smollett sets the course for a specific port in Spanish America. They will go there before going home. The Hispaniola eventually makes its way back to Bristol.

When the story is finished, Jim tells us that Captain Smollett is now retired from life at sea. He also says that Ben has already spent his reward and has now become a lodge-keeper, and that Silver crept off the ship one evening during the voyage with some bags of the treasure. He has never been seen or heard from again. . Jim hopes that Silver is well. He states that the rest of the treasure is still buried on the island. However, he declares that there is nothing in the world that would ever make him want to go on another hunt for treasure. He explains that he has nightmares to this day of Silver’s parrot shouting, “Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!”


In these last chapters, we see the themes of spirituality and the treasure come together. The searching pirates find themselves guided by a dead man and think that they are being chased by spirits. Getting closer to the treasure means getting closer to death and spirits, and the Bible as well. One of the pirates reads the Bible in a frenzy, hoping to calm the spirits that he thinks might want to harm them. While the spirits are not real but only a trick carried out by Livesay, the author nevertheless wants readers to draw a strong connection between spirituality and the hunt for treasure. Stevenson makes a skeleton point the route to the treasure. This helps to emphasize the link between the treasure hunt and the spiritual world. In a similar way, he calls into question the value of riches that one puts aside his integrity in the attempt to find. Stevenson indicates that greed can lead a man to lose part of what it means to be human. Parallel to how the skeleton is literally a deteriorated human being, the pirates are doomed by their greed to self-destruction. It is ironic that the treasure is not even in its designated spot anymore. The pirates find that they have been effectively looking for fool’s gold. The real treasure is concealed elsewhere. It awaits the discovery of good men.  

In addition, Stevenson calls into question the real value of the treasure. While the treasure is the thing that gives the island its name and that propels the entire adventure of the novel, Jim doesn’t mention it very much at the conclusion of the story. We can assume that Jim was given the share of the loot that he earned through his trials and tribulations, but we can never be completely certain. After all, he does not refer to it.  In fact, the treasure in itself seems rather insignificant to Jim. He doesn’t even seem to think about the leisure and pleasure it can buy when the group finally finds it in Ben’s cave. He only dwells on the “blood and sorrow” that have been its cost. The treasure becomes a burden that Jim and the others must carry to the ship. While Jim is later fascinated by the designs of the coins the countries from which they come, he seems to have little to no interest in their financial value. It is ironic, in this way, that Treasure Island’s final lesson for the main character could be that treasure is not as great a prize as it may seem.

In the novel’s final passage, readers are encouraged to wonder who the person is that Jim cares about most in this story. In the last paragraphs, Jim mentions only Captain Smollett, Abraham Gray, Ben Gunn, and Long John Silver. These are, of course, all individuals who he meets once the voyage has begun. He does not make reference to Squire Trelawney or Dr. Livesay, the men he is with at its beginning. Although Trelawney and Livesay are representative of aristocracy and science, they do not seem to come into Jim’s mind at the end of the story.  We get the impression that they do not have any significant part in his thoughts anymore. When one thinks about all the suffering that Silver has caused and hold it in contrast to the help that Livesay provided, it seems wrong for Jim to think of Silver with benevolent thoughts while not paying any mind to the doctor. Nevertheless, Trelawney and Livesay were unable to inspire Jim in a way that Silver could. It is certainly true that Jim has not become a pirate. However, Silver and his band of pirates have affected him. We feel sure that Jim will never end up like Trelawney or Livesay. Instead, he will embody a mixture of spirit and charisma, as well as reason and rationality.

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