Kidnapped Essay, Research Paper
Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson, has delighted readers for generations with
its exhilarating adventure, rich action, and complex characterization. Kidnapped is the
story of young David Balfour, an orphan, whose uncle Ebenezer cheats him out of his
inheritance and makes plans to have him kidnapped and sold into slavery. David?s Uncle
Ebenezer is a very money hungry man as are many of the other people David encounters
on his journey. Many of the people David encounters on his journey including Uncle
Ebenezer, Captain Hoseason and his crew, David?s first guide to Torosay, and even
David?s close companion, Alan Stewart, all have greedy intentions at times. They act
innocent at first, and even if they are, they can?t help trying to get the best of David to
obtain more money. One of the themes in Stevenson?s Kidnapped is that often people go
to extremes to satisfy their greed for money.
In the beginning of the novel, David Balfour is traveling to the house of Shaws to
give his Uncle Ebenezer Balfour a note from his deceased father. The note tells Ebenezer
it is the time to give David his rightful share of the estate left to Ebenezer. Ebenezer told
David the money was intact, but it was in a chest at the top of a stair-tower at the far end
of the house. David crawled up the dark stairs and as he was reaching what he thought
was the top, he realized that the stairs went up no farther. There was a huge drop down.
David was so angry, because his own uncle had tried to kill him just to keep his share of
the money. When Ebenezer?s plan didn?t work, he realized he had to do something else.
Ebenezer arranged to have David kidnapped by Captain Hoseason and his crew and to
have him sold into slavery in the Carolinas. Ebenezer Balfour went to all of the trouble of
trying to kill and have kidnapped his only nephew, just to indulge his greedy desires.
Ebenezer paid a man named Captain Hoseason to kidnap David and sell him into
slavery. Captain Hoseason had struck David unconscious and tied him up in the dark belly
of his boat named the Covenant. The captain beat up and kidnapped a young, innocent
boy just to earn a little extra money. The crew of the Covenant stole most of David?s
money while he was unconscious. A week or so later, the Covenant crashed into a smaller
boat and sunk it. The only survivor was a man named Alan Stewart. He came on board
and offered the captain sixty guineas if he would take him to Linnhe Loch. The captain
agreed, but David later overheard him making a plan to get a pistol and kill Stewart and
take all of his money. The captain and his crew were going to murder an innocent man and
greedily steal all of his money for no reason at all. Alan Stewart had done nothing except
be kind and polite, but all Captain Hoseason cared about was getting his money.
On David?s journey to Torosay, he met a man who agreed to guide David to
Torosay for five shillings. In the course of their journey, the man suddenly pretended he
didn?t know how to speak English anymore, and spoke only in Gaelic. Only when David
offered him two more shillings did he agree to guide him the rest of the way to Torosay. A
few miles later, the man once again pretended not to be able to speak any English. David
got fed up with his greediness. He had already given him more than enough money, and
the miserly man kept trying to cheat him out of more. His greedy desire for money got the
best of him, and it turned out getting him nowhere but stuck in the middle of the woods,
disarmed and alone.
Even Alan Stewart, David?s newfound companion, displayed his greed for money
at one time. Alan and David stayed in Cluny Macpherson?s house for several days in order
for David to get well enough before setting back out on their journey. On one of the days,
while David was semi-conscious, Alan had asked David to loan him some money, and he
had unknowingly agreed. When David awoke a few days later, Alan admitted to David
that he lost all of his and David?s money in a card game. Alan took chances with the only
money he and David had, and lost it all. David was furious that his own friend would put
their survival at stake just to satisfy his greedy desires to win.
Throughout Kidnapped, Stevenson exemplifies what it is to be ?money hungry?
through some of his characters. He shows the extremes people will go to in order to
satisfy their greed for money. It is human nature to be greedy and to desire wealth, but it is
abnormal and unhealthy to be greedy enough to commit murder, to kidnap, and to slyly
cheat people out of their rightfully owned and hard