Treasure Island’s Long John Silver

Treasure Island’s Long John Silver

Treasure Island (1881) is a much loved children’s adventure novel written by the Scottish Author Robert Louis Stevenson, and has had much to do with the way pirates and pirate culture are viewed.

Treasure Island tells the tale of a young boy on a voyage, and is littered with tales of gold, buried treasure, parrots, and peg legs. Many of us equate the life of a pirate during the Golden Age of Piracy with the events told in this great work of literature.

Who was Long John Silver?

Long John Silver was one of the main characters of the piece and has really made a mark on pirate culture by supplying us with many of the classic personality traits we connect with pirates. Long John Silver is someone who will instantly come to mind for many people when the word “pirate” is spoken.

A Peg Leg

Long John Silver had a “peg leg”, or a wooden leg, which is now famously associated with pirates and pirate culture. They excite the imagination and conjure ideas of past battles and dangerous raids.

A faithful parrot

Long John Silver can also be accredited with the idea of the faithful parrot perched on a Pirate Captains shoulder.

Pirate and Quartermaster

Ironically, Long John Silver was not the Captain of the ship; he was the Quartermaster, and took care of the food and drinks on board. Through cunning, charisma, and intelligence he was able to influence those of a higher ranking than himself, however, and could often talk himself out of tight spots when needed.

A loveable rogue

Although this rapscallion might change allegiances for personal gain, and though he often misled others, Long John Silver remained likeable. He was brave, intelligent, and funny; the original loveable rogue. Readers often note that they find themselves rooting for him throughout the book, and it’s not entirely incorrect to say that this character has much to do with the appeal of the book.