How Successful is Stevenson in Appealing to his Target Audience in the first 6 Chapters of Treasure Island?
Stevenson originally wrote the book for his stepson Samuel Lloyd Osbourne on holiday in Braemar in 1881. Although there are many characters, the book was intended to be read by teenage boys, so age does not matter too much. However, he made the map of Treasure Island before he even began to write the book. In part 1, there is only one female character, though (Jims’ mum), which means the book’s target audience is males.
While writing the book, Stevenson realized he could market it, and eventually, the book was published in the ‘Young folks’ magazine; this supports the theory that the book was intended for teens. The subject of the book is pirates and treasure, which will interest and appeal to teenage boys. In addition, Stevenson uses a Pseudonym to subliminally suggest that he was a seafaring man – Captain George North and was familiar with the Sea. This would appeal to children as they may believe the book is more authentic. Another way of appealing to children is by making the narrator of the book ‘Jim’ a teenager himself, which works well.
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Victorian parents would also approve of this book because it implemented good morals such as obeying your parents- as Jim doesn’t disregard others because of their appearances and doesn’t give into corruption. An example of this is when the captain offers him money to get him a drink but refuses; instead, he does it for his fathers’ sake. Be kind, polite, mature, hard-working, always help others regardless of their ways as the narrator and main character Jim does – another example of this is shown when he is frightened of Pew, the blind beggar – however, remains polite to him.
Another way in which he appeals to his audience is by using techniques such as Imagination – he is very subtle in doing this, like in chapter one when Jim refers to his dreams, he says, “How that personage haunted my dreams, I need scarcely tell you.” This makes the reader think they can relate to Jim on a level where an adult cannot as they are going through the same thing, and because Jim does not specify his age, this will appeal to a broader age range. Part one shows no fear of death as many characters die, such as Pew, Jim’s father and the captain.
I do not find this works well as it tells the reader to expect many deaths in the rest of the book, removing some surprise elements. Other techniques he uses include language; for instance, he spells the Captains’ words phonetically, making it easier to imagine his accent, like in chapter one, page two, where the captain says ‘mought’ instead of might. Again, this is appealing to children as their imaginations focus less on correct grammar and more on character.
Stevenson also avoids swearing in the book as it is for children. However, he does refer to characters cursing and making oaths. This works very well as parents would not want their children picking up explicit swear words like when Jim refers to the captain’s stories instead of giving an example he says ‘and the language he used shocked us plain country folk. The mystery is the final very successful technique he uses at the end of each chapter. At the end of chapter two, you are left with many questions like – Who is Black Dog? And how does he know the Captain? This makes you want to read on to find out. These questions are still to be answered after part 1 finishes and more also such as will Jim and Dr. Livesy make it to Treasure Island and what will they come across when they get there.
In every chapter, at least one question is answered, but more are posed, for instance by the end of part 1 the contents of the Captain’s chest are revealed however the map inside is of an unknown Island. In conclusion, part 1 of Treasure Island does very well in appealing to its key demographic as there is so much suspense and excitement contained within just the first few chapters to set the scene for the rest of the book. Although I would have held out with more deaths of characters because they could have played a vital role and deaths later on in the book would be more effective, I still find it very thrilling which I think will certainly appeal to teenagers.