Kidnapped By: Robert Lewis Stevenson Essay, Research Paper
Kidnapped By: Robert Lewis Stevnson Introduction Kidnapped is an adventurous novel, because the main characters travel throughout Scotland running and hiding from soldiers who want them for the murder of a man named Colin Cambell. This was a very suspenseful and exciting book because of the adventurous story line. Robert Louis Stevenson was born on November 13, 1850, in Edinburgh, Scotland, the only child of a brilliant engineer and lighthouse designer, Thomas Stevenson. His mother Margaret (nee Balfour) was a gentle and devoted woman from whom the boy inherited his frail physique and delicate lungs. At the age of seven his education began, but because of his poor health it was, for the most part, irregular. Frequent illness made him take numerous ocean voyages to England, France, Italy, and Germany. Stevenson entered Edinburgh University and began a sporadic study of science and engineering, his family’s chosen career. When he was twenty he revealed to his father his wish to become a writer. His disappointed parent asked him to study law instead, but this career also was soon rejected. He married Fanny Osbourne and returned to Scotland, where he was to continue his writing. Spending his winters in Switzerland and France, Stevenson now underwent a series of afflictions which made his physicians fear that he would die. On the evening of December 3, 1894, Stevenson died suddenly from apoplexy (a stroke caused by the breaking of a blood vessel in the brain) at the age of forty-four; he was buried high on the summit of Mount Vaca, in Apia. Robert Louis Stevenson has written many adventurous books such as Treasure Island and Kidnapped. Few other books have been so widely read by all age groups. He also wrote many other books such as Travels With a Donkey, A Childs of Verse, Prince Otto, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde. I think that Stevenson wrote this book in order to express the adventurous side of himself. He could not express this feeling physically. So he wrote his feelings in many of his different books.Discussion Kidnapped takes place in Scotland in the mid 1700’s. The story develops very quickly. David Balfour’s long lost uncle, Ebenezer Balfour, who is found by David when he reads a note from his dead father, directing him to go to The House of Shaws, did not want him to find out that the estate (The House of Shaws) was rightfully his. So he brought him to meet the captain of a boat called the Covenant. The captain takes him on board and sets sail without David knowing. When David realizes that he has been kidnaped, he is knocked out and thrown into a cell. At this point of the novel it really starts to take off. David Balfour David Balfour is clearly the hero. We see events through his eyes, it is he who is shaped and worked upon by events. From the young and innocent country boy we watch him develop into a more mature individual. But there is a curious fact about his character which keeps him from being heroic he never initiates action. From the very first, when Mr. Campbell makes up his mind for him to go to Shaws he is rather a victim of circumstances than a director of it. In a sense then, he is the model of a young man going out into the world and finding by experience what the world has to offer. He has many fine characteristics which make the reader like him . He has in fact many characteristics which tradition sets for the decent, wholesome person. We can say he has no great fault at all. David is the hero, but a hero in spite of himself.
Alan Breck Stewart In Alan we have the traditional hero. If Stevenson had been concerned merely to write a historical romance rather than a “serious novel” nothing would have been easier than to have constructed one about the adventures of Alan. He is an underdog and everyone has sympathy for the underdog. He has honor and will fight at the drop of an insult to that honor. But the treatment of him forces the readers to see him under different lights. At first he is seen in the traditional role, swordsman against impossible odds, brave to the point of madness. Alan is boastful and, like Don Quixote, given to live in dreams. We see that he is a good friend to David. He is also courageous. He makes a fine point of his honor but, insulted by the sick David, recognizes that friendship is more important than honor. But there is no place for him in the world of Edinburgh and so he must go. Ebenezer Balfour For the major portion the reader sees Ebenezer under one aspect. He is a cheapskate, and such a cheapskate that he will not stop at murder or kidnaping to preserve his money. He is the major villain in the story. Hoseason is merely his agent. As the lawyer points out, Ebenezer’s fate is worse than hanging, for this selfishness in early life has now grown like a weed in a garden. He has nothing. No one respects or likes him and he must live with the realization that he has destroyed his own happiness. But the main point of this is that David learns that no man is a complete villain. Most men are a mixture of good and evil. If one understands the cause of a man’s character, one can do him more justice. Ebenezer stands for something just the opposite of Alan or the Highland chief, Cluny. Ebenezer has shrunk into a pitiful, and all but intimidated, ball of selfishness. The main point conveyed throughout the book is about danger, determination, and courage. Danger was expressed when Ebenezer sent David to the unfinished tower to retrieve papers. If a large flash of lighting had not lit up the sky, David would have fallen five stories down to his death. There was also a danger when David and Alan revolted against the ship and when David was thrown overboard by a sudden lurch of the boat when it hit a reef. Determination and courage were conveyed throughout the adventures of David and Alan. When they fled the area of the murder, David was afraid to do certain things such as jumping across a waterfall. ["If I did not leap at once, I should never leap at all. I bent low on my knees and flung myself forward. With that kind of anger of despair that has sometimes stood me instead of courage. Sure enough, it was but my hands that reached the full length ; these slipped caught again and with a great strain dragged me to safety."] This passage conveys all three : danger, determination, and courage. There are many other passages that convey all these feelings, such as this one.Conclusion Kidnapped is a very adventurous and exciting. It builds up the suspense and then reaches the climax with a great ending. It was very cleverly written and is defiantly on of Mr. Stevenson’s greatest works. I learned a lot about the mid 1700’s and I am very glad i chose this book to read. Overall this book is very highly rated by myself and many other people.