Why The Doctor is a Better Leader than Long John Silver – by AV

AV has been reading Treasure Island and was asked to provide a paper on leaders in Treasure Island.  Here it is.

NC Wyeth's illustrations are wonderful.

The Doctor, in Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stephenson, is a more effective leader than Long John Silver. Because the Doctor’s leadership encompasses the two main parts of leadership: one. leading by example and two. having a plan and executing that plan in the best way possible.

The story of Treasure Island is an adventure tale of piracy, power and treasure.  The story is told by Jim, the main character. It is located mostly on a deserted island.  Jim is a 17 year-old boy that works in his mother’s tavern where the adventures begin.

Long John Sliver is the over all antagonist in Treasure Island, but shows many faces though out the book. In the story, he had started his own bar after returning from piracy where he probably lost his leg.  One leg, an eye patch and a parrot- this character has formed the stereotype of a pirate. All though not afraid to kill, he is not purely evil.  He is so determined to acquire Flint’s treasure and that leads to him being the antagonist.  He is prideful and feels he is one of the last “real” pirates.

Long John Silver’s plan was to kill all the people that stood in his way to get the treasure.  This is a simple plan. To do that he made a smaller and smaller ring of friends.  He exiled some people and the ring got smaller.  Those that were exiled were murdered. An example of his simple but ruthless plan is the scene where an honest deckhand,  Tom, is confronted by Silver.  In the end, “Tom lay motionless upon the beach”. The reader then finds out that (another sailor)   Alan has just been killed, too.

Long John Silver leads with fear and that makes him an effective leader but not necessarily a good one.  In one scene, Jim walks into the pirate’s camp to talk with Silver, and he tells him that he had overheard the mutiny plans. This made several pirates very angry.  Silver leans forward on a powder keg and tells the pirates, “If any of you gentlemen want to have it out with me. . . .  Take a cutlass.  Him who dares, and I’ll see the color of his insides.”  The crew hears the threat and no one moves or speaks. This shows Silver.

Although Long John does use Israel, the gunner previously for Captain Flint, as a gunner on the boat, that is about the only place where he overtly uses other’s strengths. What he does more often is to use other’s emotions and needs to get them to do what he wants or to keep them quiet. He immediately senses Jim need for a friend and father and begins to try to make Jim comfortable.  When Jim is walking with Silver to the ship, Silver tells a joke.  “And he began to laugh and so heartily that though I did not see the joke as he did, I was obliged to join in the mirth.”

The Doctor is a fun loving, good hearted rich man whose father was probably a Lord. I have come this collusion because he does not always think before he acts, but yet he is the local judge. I do not think that his personality would get him that kind of job without some political power involved. The Doctor plays the father figure to Jim. He even narrates parts of the book.

While being attacked by the pirates, the Doctor trusts two crew members, Trelawney and Gray with weapons.  First he instructs the captain to lend Trelawney his gun, “Captain… Trelawney is a dead shot give him your gun.” Since he trusted them it added to their survival. This shows good leadership not only because he used Trelawney’s abilities but also built trust with the hands.

“‘You can ease her off a bit. Thank you my man.’ said I, quite as if had happened.” In this excerpt the Doctor tells Hunter to row less because he knew that the currents we against them and they wouldn’t make it back to land unless they drifted out of the current. His telling Hunter this proves that he is in charge.   “Jim and I shall stick together in the meanwhile, you’ll take Joyce and Hunter when you ride to Bristol, of what we’ve found.”  This paragraph shows that Doctor is in charge because his plan is more articulate than the Squire’s. He is not afraid to talk about it to others and they are willing to follow it. People are willing to follow him because he seems to know what to do and his plans make sense.

The Doctor is a more effective leader than Long John Silver. He lead by example. Having a plan and directing the execution of that plan by the crew and friends in a fast and logical way inspired others want to follow him.


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