Being memoirs of the adventures of David Balfour in the year 1751: how he was kidnapped and cast away; his sufferings in a desert isle; his journey in the wild highlands; his acquaintance with Alan Breck Stewart and other notorious highland Jacobites; with all that he suffered at the hands of his uncle, Ebenezer Balfour of Shaws, falsely so called.
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PREFACE TO THE BIOGRAPHICAL EDITION
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Chapter 1 - I SET OFF UPON MY JOURNEY TO THE HOUSE OF SHAWS
Kidnapped is a historical fiction adventure novel by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson. Much of the story is set around real 18th century events. (This annotation contains an image)
How does the narrator respond when he finds out that he comes from a wealthy family?
Gout is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness and tenderness in joints, often the joint at the base of the big toe. Gout is a complex form of arthritis and can affect anyone.
Why would the narrator's laughter be tremulous?
Chapter 2 - I COME TO MY JOURNEY'S END
In the opening paragraph or chapter 2, the author uses figurative language to describe the city of Edinburgh so that the reader can picture it in his mind (imagery). See the video below for a more detailed description of common types of figurative language. (This annotation contains a link)
Use the define feature to derive the meaning of the word muckle. Which of the following words would be an antonym of that word?
A Coat of Arms has long been a symbol of a family's identity and values. These were originally used to identify knights. (This annotation contains an image)
What form of figurative language does the author use to describe the silence that had befallen the house?
Chapter 3 - I MAKE ACQUAINTANCE OF MY UNCLE
It seems pretty apparent that David is quite disappointed to find out that the old man is his Uncle. The author shows this through David's reaction to the news and his lack of appetite.
When the narrator tells his uncle that he is not looking for any favours at his hands, what does this show about David's personality?
The uncle's behavior when he asks about the narrator's mother is interesting. He pauses before changing the subject; this might indicate that there was some sort of relationship between the uncle and his nephew's mom.
When the narrator thinks that it is too soon to have gained an upper hand on his uncle, this shows that he __________ his uncle.
Chapter 4 - I RUN A GREAT DANGER IN THE HOUSE OF SHAWS
The narrator assumes that his father is the younger brother because it was customary during the time period for the oldest brother to inherit his father's estate.
Why is it significant when Ebenezer says that he could read as soon as his brother?
The Uncle's response to David about light in the tower leads the reader to question Ebenezer's motives. Is he attempting to bring harm to his nephew?
Why is David so upset with his uncle for sending him to the tower?
Ebenezer seems conflicted about his nephew's presence. On the one hand, he sends him to the tower because he seems afraid that David will make a claim on his inheritance. However, David does not even know that his father was the older brother. Ebenezer also gives him money and seems reluctant to have David leave. View the video below for a more detailed explanation of internal conflict. (This annotation contains a video)
Chapter 5 - I GO TO THE QUEEN'S FERRY
Stevenson uses which form of figurative language to compare Ebenezer to a herd of sheep?
At this point, the reader has to question the Uncle's motives when he asks David to accompany him to the ship especially after he sent David to the tower. The author might be cluing the reader in about something bad happening to David on the Covenant. This is known as foreshadowing. Watch the video below to learn more about foreshadowing. (This annotation contains a video)
Describe how Ransome is characterized by the author. Include specific details from the text.
It seems like David has once again underestimated his uncle. He knows that Ebenezer is trying to harm him, yet he still accompanies him to the ship. Will David's overconfidence harm him?
Chapter 6 - WHAT BEFELL AT THE QUEEN'S FERRY
According to the text, what motivates David to leave the room so that his uncle and the captain can be alone?
David now knows why his uncle has tried to do him harm. He is able to verify his suspicion that his father was the older brother and, therefore, the rightful heir to the family fortune.
At which point does the narrator first realize that he is being kidnapped?
Chapter 7 - I GO TO SEA IN THE BRIG "COVENANT" OF DYSART
David's fortunes have changed dramatically. Only a short time ago he was considering his new fortune. Now he is seeking the release of death.
How does the captain's reaction to show his intentions toward the narrator?
The highlighted text gives the reader some context by mentioning actual events in history that might explain why the captain has decided to kidnap David for payment. Perhaps the American Revolution and its impact on trade has hurt the captain's ability to make money legitimately.
Which form of figurative language does Stevenson use to describe the evil sailors?
Chapter 8 - THE ROUND-HOUSE
Stevenson uses figurative language when he compares Ransome's skin color to white wax. It's interesting that the author would describe Ransome's dead body in such vivid detail, especially when you consider that this narrative was originally written for an audience of younger readers.
What can the reader infer about Mr. Shuan's sanity based on his motivation for killing Ransome? Support your answer with details from the text.
It seems at this point David is at peace with his new role as cabin boy. He accepts his position and thinks that life could be worse.
Chapter 9 - THE MAN WITH THE BELT OF GOLD
Based on how the narrator characterizes the stranger, the reader can infer that he is a man not to be _________.
The highlighted text shows a key distinction between the stranger and the captain. It is pretty clear that the captain is only concerned with his own wealth while the stranger values his friends more than money.
What does David overhear the captain and his officers planning?
It looks like David's bolder plan might be to deceive the captain and team up with the stranger to overtake the boat.
Why is the narrator's chest tight and mouth dry?
It seems strange that David would team up with Allan to help save him from the greedy merchants. They have different religious and political affiliations. Alan is a Jacobite, and David is a Whig. Whigs supported the English government while Jacobites did not accept their authority.
Chapter 10 - THE SIEGE OF THE ROUND-HOUSE
Based on David's actions and his willingness to help Alan, which of the following themes is evident at this point?
Up until this point, this narrative has seemed very realistic, but it's hard to believe that David would have any success trying to overtake the ship even with the help of Alan.
It is strange that Alan would not mention _____ in his battle song.
Why does David show such loyalty to a man he barely knows? Loyalty appears to be an important theme at this stage in the story. Alan also is one of the first characters that David is able to trust after his father's death.
Chapter 11 - THE CAPTAIN KNUCKLES UNDER
Explain why Alan is skeptical about honoring the captain at his word. Support your answer with textual evidence.
The highlighted comment to the captain seems to show Alan's arrogance. He credits only himself for his victory and refers to David as a halfling boy.
First Kidnapped Quiz
Chapter 12 - I HEAR OF THE "RED FOX"
When Alan explains why he hates the Campbells, he points out that they never took lands by "the sword." This would be an honorable way to take land, whereas doing it legally was considered underhanded. Watch the video below for anothert view of the Jacobites. (This annotation contains a video)
Many songs were written about the Jacobite Uprising of 1745, and most were sympathetic to their cause. After watching the video on the previous page, explain that poet's point of view regarding the Jacobites.
James Stewart was a Scotsman famous for being wrongfully accused and hanged for being accessory to the killing of Colin Roy Campbell (a.k.a. "The Red Fox"). The murder is famously dubbed the Appin Murder (Wikipedia). (This annotation contains an image)
What does the narrator find noble?
David's reflection at the end of the chapter illustrates the main differences between these two characters. David is solemn about taking another man's life while Alan delights in it. David still seems somewhat naive especially compared with the brash and egotistical Alan.
Chapter 13 - THE LOSS OF THE BRIG
According to the text, how do Alan and David know that the captain is being earnest when he says that his brig is in danger?
The author uses personification to describe the tiller driving back against the men. This helps the reader visualize the struggle. Watch the video below for a more detailed explanation of personification. (This annotation contains a video)
After taking another man's life and feeling no fear after being cast into the sea, the reader can assume that David has had a(n) _____________.
Chapter 14 - THE ISLET
Stevenson uses exaggeration or hyperbole to describe frigid temperatures that the narrator is forced to endure. Please view the video below for an explanation of hyperbole. (This annotation contains a video)
In the highlighted text, the narrator describes about how every book that he has read about people being cast away, they had pockets full of tools or a chest of things thrown upon the shore as if on purpose. Watch the trailer below about one such novel, Robinson Crusoe. (This annotation contains a video)
After watching the video clip about Robinson Crusoe, explain why David's experience seems more realistic; mention specific details from the text to support your answer.
The reader must wonder why the fisherman laughs at the poor narrator instead of helping him. Are they cruel like David assumes, or do they know something that he does not?
According to the text, how does the narrator feel when he spots the boat heading in his direction?
At this point, the reader and David realize why the fisherman were laughing at him. Are you amused by David's time on the island?
Chapter 15 - THE LAD WITH THE SILVER BUTTON: THROUGH THE ISLE OF MULL
The highlighted text is further evidence that ________ is a prominent theme in this novel.
David had a favorable view of Highlanders after spending the night in Earraid. Now, he has a more realistic view of them and how they are strongly influenced by poverty.
Which form of figurative language does the author use to describe the narrator's guide in the highlighted text?
David's interaction with the blind man is very different than his dangerous encounters earlier in the novel. He is not afraid of the man even though he has a gun.
What can the reader infer about the narrator based on this new information about the blind man?
Chapter 16 - THE LAD WITH THE SILVER BUTTON: ACROSS MORVEN
Neil Roy is insulted when David offers him money for information about Alan's location. David regrets not showing him the button instead and realizes he might not get the information that he seeks now.
When the narrator gives the catechist misinformation about his affairs, what can we surmise about David's intentions?
This novel seems to blend two different genres. It tells the story of James of the Glens, which is historical fiction, but it's also an adventure tale.
What central idea does the author express through the interaction between David and Henderland?
Chapter 17 - THE DEATH OF THE RED FOX
Friendship and loyalty are themes that are apparent throughout the narrative. David has been loyal to Alan since they first met, but this is one of the first occasions where David begins to question his loyalty to Alan.
What would be the best way to characterize Glenure's last words?
It seems highly unlikely that David would just happen to stumble into Glenure right before he is murdered. Thus, it makes sense that Glenure's lawyer would think that David is an accomplice.
Chapter 18 - I TALK WITH ALAN IN THE WOOD OF LETTERMORE
From the narrator's point of view, who had a motive to murder Glenure?
This appears to be the first instance where David and Alan's friendship is truly tested. Will David believe that Alan was not involved in the murder and remain loyal to him?
What convinces David that Alan was not involved in the murder?
A gallows is a frame, typically wooden, used for execution by hanging. (This annotation contains an image)
Explain how Riach proved to be an honorable man. Support your response with textual evidence.
Chapter 19 - THE HOUSE OF FEAR
The unseasonably thick clouds that bring darkness might be foreshadowing that something treacherous is forthcoming for young David and Allan. The author is also using darkness as a symbol for evil. See the video below for a more detailed description of symbolism. (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Alan refuse the change of clothes and instead cake his own with dirt?
It looks like James is trying to convince Alan and David to take the blame for the murder. James even admits that he would have to point the finger at them to save himself.
Why do both James and Alan cry out in horror when David suggests that they blame the actual murderer?
Chapter 20 - THE FLIGHT IN THE HEATHER: THE ROCKS
While David is standing on the rock feeling sickened with fear, he has to question his decision to stay with Alan and take the blame for a murder that he had nothing to do with.
Stevenson uses the highlighted figure of speech to illustrate the brandy's effect; which form of figurative language does he use?
David and Alan are forced to lie on top of a rock and bake all day as the soliders look for them below; this has to put even greater strain on their friendship and make David further question his loyalty to Alan.
Which theme has become even more evident now that David and Alan are running from the Redcoats for their lives?
Stevenson does a masterful job of describing the Scottish Highlands. The image below is an actual picture of the Highlands. (This annotation contains an image)
Second Kidnapped Quiz
Chapter 21 - THE FLIGHT IN THE HEATHER: THE HEUGH OF CORRYNAKIEGH
In the highlighted text, Alan is basically saying that if John Breck is any type of man at all he will understand the signal and come to Alan.
Why does David question John Breck's ability to send a message to James Stewart? Support your response with textual evidence.
David is confronted with another challenge to his friendship with Alan when he realizes that the wanted poster is very vague, and he could easily travel through the countryside by himself and not worry about capture. He now must consider whether to side with his friend or go off on his own and be safe.
When Alan returns the button to David, what does he imply that the button symbolizes?
Chapter 22 - THE FLIGHT IN THE HEATHER: THE MOOR
The author uses figurative language to illustrate David's shame about drifting off to sleep during his shift and allowing the horse-soliders to draw close to their position.
What does Alan mean by "we'll have to play at being hares"?
Alan and David are so exhausted at this point that the reader has to wonder if they are somewhat relieved to no longer have to run. Below is an image of a Scottish dirk. (This annotation contains an image)
Why is David not afraid of the man holding a knife to his throat?
Chapter 23 - CLUNY'S CAGE
Alan seems to be very concerned with his own self-image. This is why he refuses to give up his fine French clothing, and this would also explain why he describes David's estate with grandeur around strangers, but not when he is alone with David.
Describe Cluny and explain what might have influenced his strange habits.
It seems somewhat hypocritical for David to denounce gambling when he has committed far greater sins. It's comical and ironic for David, an outlaw, to take the moral high ground. Watch the video below for an explanation of irony. (This annotation contains a video)
When David is livid with Alan for loosing all their money, what type of conflict is taking place?
It is unclear if David guilts Cluny into returning their money by asking what he would do if he were Cluny's son, or if Cluny planned on returning the money all along.
Chapter 24 - THE FLIGHT IN THE HEATHER: THE QUARREL
Why does the narrator describe his friendship with Alan as a burden?
David is feeling conflicted about his friendship with Alan. On one hand, he is angry that Alan gambled away all their money and knows that he would be safer traveling alone. On the other hand, he wants to stay together and remain loyal to his friend in his greatest time of need.
Stevenson describes streams booming like thunder with an angry cry; this description of the setting parallels David's anger towards __________.
At this point, David fully realizes how childish he is being, yet he can't let go of his bitterness and continues to try and punish his friends with his coldness.
What can the reader infer about Alan when he throws his sword to the ground and refuses to fight David?
When David realizes that he is at fault for not forgiving Alan and that an apology won't suffice, he pretends to be near death. This course of action is very conniving and dishonest. It is also out of character for David, who prides himself on his morality.
Chapter 25 - IN BALQUHIDDER
The fact that Alan is willing to seek help in the Braes of Balquihidder shows ____________.
Stevenson introduces the reader to a new side of Alan. He shows a lot of compassion and puts David before himself. Prior to this point, Alan was very self-absorbed.
Why is Alan so quick to pick a fight with Robin?
Alan is about to duel with Rob Oig who is a real person from history. He is the son of the famous Rob Roy (seen below). This is another example of Stevenson implementing true Scottish history into his adventure tale. (This annotation contains an image)
Explain how Robin Oig is able to soften up Alan and lay the groundwork for their friendship.
Chapter 26 - END OF THE FLIGHT: WE PASS THE FORTH
Stevenson makes reference to the Sterling Bridge, which was the setting for a battle where Scotland fought for its independence. Here is the bridge as it looks today. (This annotation contains an image)
When David suggest swimming across the river, why does Alan decline?
It seems likely that David is frustrated with their current situation. The reader can infer this through his use of sarcasm when he says there is such a thing as money, but it might as well not have been invented.
Why would the narrator and Alan have David pretend to be sick rather than Alan?
Even though David is uncomfortable lying, he is the obvious choice to pretend to be sick because he is more sympathetic, and Alan seems to be a natural liar and best able to tell David's sad tale.
The reader can surmise that Alan's face darkened because_____________________.
Earlier Stevenson used the darkness of the clouds to foreshadow that something treacherous was about to happen. Perhaps here, the brightness will symbolize good fortune or hope.
Chapter 27 - I COME TO MR. RANKEILLOR
How does the reader know that David's lawyer is surprised to run into him?
It seems pretty clear based on all the questions that the lawyer is asking David that he is skeptical about David's identity.
Why does David's lawyer refer to Alan Break as Mr. Thomson?
David's journey and Odysseus's journey in the Odyssey are somewhat similar in that both are portrayed as heroes that have to overcome many obstacles in order to return to their homes.
Chapter 28 - I GO IN QUEST OF MY INHERITANCE
According to the lawyer, who is the rightful heir to the estate?
The lawyer is going to have serious reservations about meeting Thomson. He will probably feel conflicted since he wants to help David, but on the other hand he does not want to set eyes on the wanted criminal, Alan Breck.
Why does the lawyer deliberately forget his glasses?
It seems pretty obvious that Mr. Rankeillor is very willing to follow the letter of the law, but not the spirit of the law. His little charade about meeting Mr. Thomson illustrates this point.
Chapter 29 - I COME INTO MY KINGDOM
What can the reader infer about Ebenezer when he answers the door holding a musket?
It seems like Ebenezer is motivated by his own greed and selfishness. Were you surprised he did not offer to pay a ransom?
What can the reader surmise based on Ebenezer's willingness to pay a ransom to keep his nephew alive?
It is comical that Ebenezer is so insulted by the accusation that he had David kidnapped. Yet, he seems to think that it is perfectly alright to have him sold into slavery.
Chapter 30 - GOOD-BYE
David feels a duty to help Alan reach France. Which theme does this support?
Even though this text was written for an audience of younger boys, one of Stevenson's motivations must have been to clear the name of James Stewart of the Glens.
Final Kidnapped Quiz