Episode 25: Treasure Island Finale

With the URI grad conference only a few days away, updates will be sporadic and probably shorter than usual. You have been warned. Okay, so I finally finished Treasure Island last night after a weird and interesting day of Dungeons & Dragons and ice skating. My survival at both was expected but still surprising. The book was pretty good and you can see why a lot of people have done their own adaptations no matter what the type of program. It was not nearly as bad as many other things I’ve read for hours at a time but it’s not nearly as much as a page turner than say a Terry Pratchett book, those are freakin awesome. Here are some things that bothered me while reading.

First, eleven year old Jim Hawkins becomes even more important to the story. He runs away from the good guy base and decides to take the crappy raft from marooned pirate turned barabarian Ben Gunn. Jim takes sails out only to take back the actual boat that he himself had cut loose while everyone was busy/drunk. Oh and he sails that boat back into the island but soon after fights with the remaining crew member. First rule, always make sure your guns are properly loaded, Jim ended up being chased by drunk guy with knife all over the boat. Once reloaded, he threatens to kill drunk porate who was climbing the mast or something with knife in mouth, which he then throws at Jim and hits him in the shoulder. The immediate reaction was to fire both guns and thus the little kid is now a killer and shows no remorse. The injury doesn’t even bother him that much. He even bluffs that he killed another person when he was taken prisoner and acts all super macho with the old, “kill me if you want, it won’t solve your problems” speech and it worked.

Something that confused me is the different names by which one character is referred to. Long John Silver has so many names and I only realized it was the same guy somewhere beyond the halfway point. Sometimes he’s John, at others Silver, another time he’s the cook, then the quartermaster, then the captain, sometimes they throw PC rhetoric out the window and just call him the cripple. One of the reasons why I love comics is that you literally have a clear visual indicator as to which character is saying what.

Weird thing I found is that they make a big deal about honor and following proper parlamentary procedure when it comes to people talking but ambushes and killing people with surprise sneak attacks with gun shots on both sides are business as usual. Besides the more important characters, there are really no indications as to which evil red shirts get to die and survive. I think like one guy beyond the good guys and Long John survive until the end of the novel and he gets like two lines throughout the entire book. I guess once a Red Shirt always a red shirt. The epilogue gives that guy a surprisingly complex ending while Jim just continues referring to things in the past tense with a weird smug sense of superiority over the somewhat competent adults of the novel.

Perhaps the only interesting serial moment comes with the footnotes of another book that says that one installment ends 20 paragraphs into chapter 24, just before Jim goes on solo boat chase. The next installment provides the remainder of Chapter 24 and the next two chapters. It’s odd because the break is important enough to warrant a division of installments but not one for chapter separation in the novel format. They could make a new chapter no problem but didn’t. Robert Louis Stevenson and editors, why u no maintain textual unity between formats?

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