Babbie (2013) posits that journeying is a normal occurrence in most families, a tradition that has been with humanity for as long as civilization has been present in the history of human beings. As illustrated in the two books, Robert Louis’ “Treasure Island” and Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women,” the characters involve in extensive journey across the world. The reasons why people decide to go to a journey are varied and include aspects such as the satisfaction of one’s adventurous needs, to seek better opportunities, exploration, and visiting friends and family among other reasons (Swanson & Horridge 2006). The characters in the two books go for journeys, mostly to seek better opportunities and come back with mixed bags of fortunes. Therefore, even as one ventures to go out for a journey to seek better opportunities, the result of coming back with success in their pursuit is not guaranteed; either one will come back with success stories while others may not see the success that they anticipate before going for a journey (Correaia et al 2006).
This story revolves around a family lacking a father figure because the father is out serving in the civil war. Many believe it is based on the author and her family (Alberghene, 1999), (Cheever, 2011) and others still view it more as an autobiographical book (Reisen, 2010).The mother in the family (effectively christened “Marmee”) lives alone with her four daughters called Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy (Hermeling, 2010). The girls come of age and face the most trying times in their lives. Jo has to tame her tomboyish trajectories and become a fair lady as she pursues her ambitions of becoming an accomplished writer (Keyser, 2000). Meg is faced with the reality that she has to follow her heart by putting aside her affinity to finery and wealth. Beth has to conquer her bashfulness because she is worryingly shy while Amy also has to put aside her pride of aristocratic proportions. Jo travels to the United States (New York), while Amy traverses Europe in the company of her aunt Carroll (Alcott, 2007).
Jo meets a German expatriate professor in New York, and the strong moral disposition and intellect of Professor Bhaer spark the interests of Jo. Laurie and Amy on the other hand discover that the lack the genius that makes artists but they can become a perfect romantic pair. Beth dies young and her demise solidifies the romantic bond between Laurie and Amy. Jo therefore decides to travel back home to their bereaved parents and makes a decision to take care of her domestic responsibilities. Jo marries the professor thereby tying all the loose ends. They found a boarding school for boys at the same time that Amy marries Laurie. Amy, Jo, and Meg’s marriages flourish and the story ends with a birthday party for Marmee (Alcott, 2007).
This is a successful book with several movie versions made (Dury, 2016). It revolves around the life of a young boy named Jim. He watches over their inn together with a gravely sick father and his mother (Stevenson, 2014). A guest known as Bill comes to the inn and is full raunchy songs of the sea as well as threats of violence. This guest dies at the eleventh hour when some pirates attempt to kill him, which gives a picture of the life of pirates (Cordingly, 1995). Jim and his mom manage to evade the pirates and he discovers a pouch with some coins and a treasure map from Bill. Jim enlists the help of one Dr. Livesey and Squire Trelawney to sail in the pursuit of the treasure in the map that he discovered from their dead guest. They hire some men to head their voyage, who later plan a mutiny. Ugly scenes follow and a number of men in the voyage are killed, as Jim slips away and finds Ben Gunn, who Dr. Livesey later enlists to find the treasure. However, the mutineers reach and find out that the treasure has been dug out (which was done by the original crew). Jim slips away and leaves the crew on his journey back to England, effectively avoiding trial and a possible hanging but he lives with terrifying dreams for months afterwards.
Comparison of the Journeys of the Main Characters in Robert Louis’ “Treasure Island” and Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women”
Reason for the Journeys
As highlighted earlier, a journey must have a reason that pushes the journey-maker to venture. What is so obvious in both the “Treasure Island” and “Little Women” is that the main characters go on journeys to because of a reason. The main reason that is evident in almost all the journeys that the main characters take is the pursuit of better opportunities in life.
In “Little Women”, the ladies (the four siblings) are clearly not satisfied by their circumstances in life. Therefore, they intend to move elsewhere and seek better opportunities. As the story unravels, we see that the family is not having something that one would consider a satisfactory lifestyle because the father is away serving in the civil war, and the four have to remain under the custody of their mother with little income. They make no secret of their less fortune in life, as they complain about their circumstances. Jo for instance, is not content with the way that things stand for her, she says “Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents” (Alcott, 2007, p. 3) this is a clear indicator that the family does not have enough for them, thereby informing the complaints and the grumblings. Meg on the other hand complains by saying that “It’s so dreadful to be poor!” as she looked at her old dress ((Alcott, 2007, p. 3). Still, another sister Amy, says that she does not feel that it is fair for some girls like her to possess many pretty things in life when others do not have. All these examples go a long way in explaining that the girls were not brought up in affluence (Alcott, 2007).
Jo has a dream of becoming an accomplished writer but cannot realize this dream while at home. She pretty much wants to follow the path of writing as a career and feels that she has to do something about it to make the dream a reality. Consequently, she decides to New York to become a governess for one of their family friends known as Mrs. Kirke. In New York, she tries as much as she could to nature her writing profession. On the other hand, her sister, Amy traverses Europe in the company of their aunt, Aunt Carroll and a cousin named Flo, and she is keen to nurture her artistic talent. Another character called Laurie also goes to Europe in the pursuit of a musical career as he attempts to forget the rejection that Jo had subjected him to when he professed his love for her.
In the “Treasure Island” on the hand, the main characters who go on a journey include Jim, Dr. Livesey, and the crew that they went together with to retrieve the treasure. Clearly, the main reason as to why these people ventured out for a journey is the pursuit of better opportunities. Stevenson (2014) adds that when their guest Bill passes on and is buried, Jim discovers that the guest had treasure map. Because of the not-so-well living standards of their family, Jim decides that he could do better by pursuing the treasure since it promised better circumstances than he was accustomed to; they only had a small inn which they depended on for their livelihood. He therefore seeks the help of Dr. Livesey to assist him in locating and retrieving the treasure.
Results of the Journeys that the Main Characters Made
The results of the journeys that characters make can be said to be either productive (successful) or not productive (because they do not meet the ends that they have intended before venturing in the journeys) (Kozak, 2003).
In “Little Women” some of the journeys that the main characters make do not result in the intended results that they had anticipated. Both Jo and Laurie are in pursuit of different lives in arts. Jo wants to become a writer and does everything in her capacity to accomplish this. She even decides to travel to the United States (New York) to ensure that she becomes a professional writer. On the other hand, Laurie wants to pursue a career in music, something that makes him to travel all the way to Europe, where coincidentally, he meets with Amy who is also trying to perfect her artistic talents. In all these cases, the characters do not succeed in what they went to pursue. Amy and Laurie both realize that they do not have what it takes to become successful artists and become good romantic partners. Jo also realizes that she cannot become a writer and opts to marry the professor she meets in New York.
On the other hand, in Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island,” the journeys of the main characters face many challenges in their quests. Bill for instance, escapes from some pirates and finds accommodation in the inn owned by Jim’s family. However, all does not go well for him as he is taken ill and finally succumbs to his illness. After his death, Jim goes for a journey together with Doctor Livesey among others to try getting the treasure that was to be found from the map that Bill carried with him. However, this journey is not any smooth because they have to contend with many challenges posed by mutineers and the pirates. Their lives hang in the balance, so much so that Jim has to kill a man in an act of self-defense. The journey turns out not to be the anticipated “go-and-take” as the characters may have anticipated when they set off for the voyage.
Still, there are success stories that come from the journeys that the main characters commit to. The success in the “Treasure Island” is direct because the doctor manages to get what they went out in search of. The treasure is what made them make the trip. Despite the dangers that they are continually exposed to, the doctor uses his wisdom to dupe the mutineers by retrieving the treasure beforehand, and then gives them the map that has now apparently become useless (Stevenson, 2014). The mutineers were a determined lot that wanted to take the treasure themselves; however, the doctor foresees this and goes one step ahead to retrieve the treasure ahead of them.
The success in “Little Women” from the journeys of the main characters however, is indirect. No one manages to get what they went to seek. Jo for instance, is interested in becoming a writer. Amy and Laurie both want to become artists and go to Europe to seek opportunities that will enable them to become artists, particularly Laurie who wants to become a musician. Success however comes to most of the characters from their journeys. Laurie and Amy marry and use the family fortune from Laurie’s family to support other struggling artists. Jo on the other hand marries Professor Bhaer and they start a boarding school; all in all the journeys lead to success and the family manages to escape the low living standards they were used.
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