“My father was always saying the inn would be ruined, for people would soon cease coming there to be tyrannized over and put down, and sent shivering to their beds; but I really believe his presence did us good. People were frightened at the time, but on looking back they rather liked it; it was a fine excitement in a quiet country life…”
Here, Jim reflects on the adventurous ambiance that Billy Bones brings to his family’s inn. This line, which occurs in Treasure Island’s opening chapter, reveals that Jim was already captivated by adventure and the sea-faring life before he even set sail for Treasure Island. Jim and the guests’ response to Bones also contributes to one of the novel's underlying themes: the idea that everyone, no matter their background, has a little pirate in them.
“It was on seeing that boy that I understood, for the first time, my situation. I had thought up to that moment of the adventures before me, not at all of the home that I was leaving; and now, at sight of this clumsy stranger, who was to stay here in my place beside my mother, I had my first attack of tears.”
This quote depicts Jim’s emotional response to his mother hiring a new boy to replace him at The Admiral Benbow after he decides to sail to Treasure Island. The quote represents a crucial moment in Jim’s development because most coming-of-age stories begin when the protagonist leaves the safety of home for the first time. Jim’s decision to embark on the Hispaniola in spite of his fears marks the first step of his hero’s journey.
“And now I began to feel that I was neglecting my business, that since I had been so foolhardy as to come ashore with these desperadoes, the least I could do was to overhear them at their councils, and that my plain and obvious duty was to draw as close as I could manage, under the favorable ambush of the crouching trees.”
Here, Jim recognizes that it was foolish to follow the pirates ashore when they set off from the Hispaniola. However, he decides that while it was impulsive and poorly planned to come to shore in the first place, the next best thing he can do is eavesdrop on the pirates’ conversation and report back to his companions. This marks an important moment in Jim’s growing maturity because he both acknowledges his mistakes and develops a plan to help the people he abandoned.
“Well… I’ve come aboard to take possession of this ship, Mr. Hands; and you’ll please regard me as your captain until further notice.”
Jim taunts the coxswain Israel Hands after he successfully boards the Hispaniola while the rest of the mutineers are still on shore. Jim’s pirate-like charisma and his insistence that Hands refer to Jim as his captain demonstrates that Jim has come a long way from the frightened little boy who hid with his mother in the novel’s opening chapters. This line, which occurs during Jim’s second and more successful solo adventure, confirms that Jim has transformed into an adventure hero.
“No… you know right well you wouldn’t do the thing yourself—neither you nor squire nor captain; and no more will I. Silver trusted me; I passed my word, and back I go.”
Jim delivers this line to Dr. Livesey after Dr. Livesy tries to encourage him to abandon Long John Silver and escape with him out of the enemy camp. Jim refuses because he knows that the other mutineers, who are on the brink of rejecting their appointed captain, will kill Silver if they think he let their hostage go. This line reveals Jim’s sense of honor and his maturity. It also demonstrates the depth of Jim’s connection with Silver because he refuses to abandon him even though Jim no longer feels he can trust him.