A Study Of The Adventure Of A Young Boy In Robert Louis Stevenson’s Novel Kidnapped

February 17, 2021 by Essay Writer


The main character David in Kidnapped is used for readers to visualize someone like themselves going through great adventures. Stevenson describes everything he sees with unfamiliar eyes, just as his readers would. The plot of Kidnapped follows David’s growth from a naive young boy to a heroic, experienced man. Through his association with Alan Breck, he learns much about the “real world,” living in difficult conditions, and justice. By the end of the novel he is able to outwit his scheming uncle, and claims his inheritance. His adventure served as a rite-of-passage which made him become a much wiser and mature person.

David the Protestant Whig, is also an excellent character to interact with the highland Jacobite, Alan Breck. By making David a lowland boy, Stevenson is able to examine the clans of Scotland from a more curious and unfamiliar perspective. At first the the novel created a very negative opinion of the highlanders. By the end of the novel David has come to understand and respect them. David’s adventure, in many ways, was a paean to the Scottish highland way of life that was quickly vanishing, if not gone, by Stevenson’s time.

Kidnapped is set in the mid-eighteenth century in Scotland.The main character, David Balfour is a boy who sets out in the world to seek his fortune and undergoes hardship and danger in his travels but returns as a man to claim his rightful inheritance. Planning to cheat him of his inheritance, David’s uncle had him kidnapped. David strikes a friendship with Alan Breck, a fleeing Jacobite leader, who happens to be on the same ship as David. At sea, David and Alan become comrades and go through quite a few adventures. There are many suspenseful events like sea battles and perilous chases across the Scottish halls.

The central theme of Kidnapped is the friendship between Alan and David. It is an unlikely pairing: the young, naïve, properly Protestant Whig, David Balfour, and the older, rebellious, adventurous, Catholic Jacobite, Alan Breck Stewart. Stevenson may have wanted to show that the Whigs and the Jacobites could meet eye-to-eye sometimes, and even become friends, despite their bloody history. For most of Kidnapped, Alan serves as David’s guide. But for a short period after the shipwreck, the two are separated. Fortunately, David has held onto the silver button that Alan gave him. It is symbolic of Alan both in the plot itself, By showing the button to people, David is able to find out what Alan’s instructions were, and in a broader sense, it is symbolic of the guidance that Alan gives David throughout the novel.

Overall I really enjoyed this novel. I especially found it interesting because it reflects a part of Scotland’s history. I am part Scottish so I appreciated this factor. Stevenson chose a very unique way for the two main characters David and Alan to unite. They were part of two different Scottish clans that have a history for being enemies. Stevenson displayed their likes and differences in a way that made them perfect companions. Though this novel would have related to boys more so than girls, I would recommend this novel to people that are interested in adventure novels.

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