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MonkeyNotes Study Guide for Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson-Book Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 7: I to Sea in the Brig "Covenant" of Dystart

Summary

When David regains consciousness, he experiences excruciating pain. The noise of the sea deafens his ears, and the smell of the ship's cabin nauseates him. He feels stiff and realizes his hands and legs are tied up. Restricted in his movements and feeling dizzy in the darkness, he falls down in a swoon. He is awakened by a small man with green eyes. Mr. Riach looks friendly as he washes and dresses David's wounds. He also asks the captain to move David to another part of the ship where the boy can have a berth of his own. In his new lodgings, David meets different kinds of sailors who relate to him their tales of adventure. These men, though involved in illegal activities, are good at heart. Separated from their families and leading a life of danger, they evoke pity in David.

Ransom comes to meet David often. He suffers from the cruelties imposed upon him by Mr. Shuan, one of the seamen who grows violent when he is drunk; he often beats Ransom. David tries to soothe his wounded heart and body by telling him stories about his childhood. He also becomes friendly with Mr. Riach and relates to him his tale of his uncle and his kidnapping. Riach tells him to write letters to Mr. Campbell and Mr. Rankeillor about Ebenezer's wickedness.


Notes

David's stay on board the "Covenant" expands his mental horizon and develops him morally. In the past, he has been inclined to pass judgment on people. After spending time with the sailors, he comes to the conclusion that men possess both the qualities of good and bad and that it is not right to judge others too harshly. It is true that the sailors may have indulged in unlawful activities, but they are basically good at heart. They talk to David like a friend and return his money.

Unlike the captain, Mr. Riach is kind and helpful to David. He suggests to the captain that the boy should be moved in order to have his own berth. He also takes care of David's wounds and nurses him back to health. Finally, he advises David to write to Mr. Campbell and Attorney Rankeillor to explains Ebenezer's wickedness.

Ransom is another friend for whom David shows sympathy aboard the "Covenant". The cabin boy endures difficult circumstances. The hardships and cruelties of sea life have colored his vision of humanity and of life in general. The poor boy's life is wasted. David tries his best to boost the boy's morale by giving him glimpses of his own happy childhood.

CHAPTER 8: The Round-House

Summary

News arrives that Shuan has killed Ransom. The captain tells David to take the boy's place in the Round-house. His duties will include serving the officers during meal times and supplying them with drinks on their demand. David begins the new work with apprehension. He finds it very strenuous, but at least it keeps him from brooding. In addition, it gives him more freedom to roam around and view the sea, for the round-house is placed six feet above the decks. He also has the opportunity at times to eat rare delicacies. The thought of his future worries David, but his work keeps him so busy that there is seldom time for unwanted thoughts.

David becomes acquainted with the moody Shuan. The burly seaman is drunk most of the time and seems unaware of the cruelties he inflicts on others. David also becomes better acquainted with the captain and Riach. The shadow of Ransom keeps haunting them even though they refuse to mention his death.

Notes

This tragic chapter conveys information in a subtle manner. It is not explicitly stated that Shuan has killed Ransom; however, through certain remarks and suggestive statements, it becomes obvious that the boy has been murdered by Shuan when he was too drunk to realize he had even killed the boy. It is another lesson in life for David, for he sees death up close for the first time. Looking at the dead body of the cabin boy, David is reminded of his own precarious existence and fears for his own life. His future seems more uncertain than ever, but he tries to forget his worries by drowning himself in work.

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