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MonkeyNotes Study Guide for Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson-Book Notes
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PLOT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS

The plot of Kidnapped is circular in shape. The beginning of the novel shows David Balfour leaving for Edinburgh to seek his fortune, and at the end of the novel David returns to the same place to claim his inheritance. The plot follows the normal stages of development beginning with an introduction to David's status in life, followed by the rising action involving his many adventures in the Highlands, leading to the climax where David returns to the Lowlands and confronts his evil Ebenezer. The falling action shows his uncle agreeing to pay his nephew two-thirds of the total income from the state. The denouement occurs when David must depart from his friend Alan, bringing the novel to a full close.

The plot is tightly structured around David's adventures. The real action begins at Ebenezer's house, when David is sent to the tower, which does not exist. In the process, he endangers his life. When this plot of his uncle fails, David is kidnapped by Hoseason and sets sail for America on the "Covenant". While on board, David makes friends with Alan Breck Stewart and tells him about the captain's plan to murder him and steal his money belt. In turn, David and Alan successfully plan to overpower the captain and his men and take charge of the round-house.


When there is a shipwreck, David is tossed into the sea and separated from Alan. Once on land, he searches for his friend and finally catches up with him after witnessing the murder of Red Fox. He and Alan are forced to go into hiding and flee through the Scottish Highlands, which is filled with danger. With Alan's help, David finally makes it back to Queensferry where he and Alan entrap Ebenezer and force him to confess his crime, which is the climax of the plot. The story quickly ends with David's uncle promising to give the boy his fair share of the property and David's realization that Alan's friendship is more valuable than anything in his life.

Intertwined with the main plot, Stevenson successfully weaves Scottish history in the background. The Jacobites, a rebel group to which Alan belongs, is fighting against the policies of the English king. David is shocked to learn that his friend has deserted the British army and supports the rebellious movement. When David accidentally witnesses the murder of Red Fox, he realizes that Alan is somehow involved. As they flee throughout the Highlands, they are pursued by the British Red Coats and helped along the way by Alan's Jacobite allies.

Throughout the novel, David, who considers himself a Whig, is somewhat aghast at Alan's loyalties to the opposition forces. In the end, however, he realizes Alan's value, in spite of his politics, and secures the aid of a lawyer to help Alan escape from Edinburgh to safety. It is the least that David can do for the man who has repeatedly helped to save his life.

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MonkeyNotes Study Guide for Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson-Summary
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