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Kidnapped

Robert Louis Stevenson

Key Facts

Important Quotations Explained

Study Questions and Essay Topics

full title ·  Kidnapped

author · Robert Louis Stevenson

type of work · Novel

genre · Adventure

language · English (Scots)

time and place written · Scotland, U.K.

date of first publication · 1886

publisher · Cassell

narrator · David Balfour (1st person narration)

climax · The climax occurs when the friendship between David and Alan reaches its greatest point of crisis, and is resolved by David's near-death fainting spell.

protagonist(s) · David Balfour

antagonist · Ebenezer Balfour

setting (time) · 1751

setting (place) · Scotland

point of view · First person narration

falling action · David tricks his uncle Ebenezer, defeating him, and finally comes into his inheritance.

tense · Immediate past; that is, real-time narration

foreshadowing · None

tone ·  Kidnapped is primarily an adventure novel. It maintains a breathless pace, full of movement and action, as David and Alan flee across Scotland.

themes · Loyalty and friendship; honor; diversity of ethics

motifs · Jacobites vs. Whigs; Highland life vs. Lowland life; inheritance; fleeing

symbols · Alan's silver button; the ship Covenant; Alan's illness after the visit with Cluny Macpherson

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Vengeance or Loyalty? It depends on your point of view!

by English-Lit-Major, August 20, 2013

"To them, vengeance is a code of ethics that is acceptable."

This seems all wrong to me!

Stevenson takes a very sympathetic approach with the Highlanders. He wants us to LIKE them. He would not have considered vengeance an acceptable code of ethics, so he would not have meant for us to view the Highlanders as a vengeful people. There is something missing in this Sparknotes interpretation.

Considering the historical context, we know the Highlanders considered the English Whigs to be USURPERS. Therefore, they did not v... Read more

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