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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
SECTION V: MY SEA ADVENTURE
CHAPTER 22: How I Began My Sea Adventure
The mutineers did not regroup and attack again, as they expected. So the Captain and his men took time off to cook dinner and then help the wounded men. In spite of danger, they cook outside. Hunter doesn't regain his consciousness and breathes heavily. The Captain's condition is not as bad as Hunter's. He has a broken shoulder blade and has sustained minor injuries to his lungs. Hunter, on the other hand, is unconscious with a fractured skull and a broken chest bone. Jim's had a minor cut across his knuckles that Dr. Livesey patches up for him.
The trio assembles again after dinner to discuss their plans. And soon after the discussion, the doctor steps out into the woods with a pistol and his cutlass. Gray who is sitting with Jim is surprised at the doctor's move but Jim is not. He knows that the doctor was going to meet Ben Gunn.
It is mid-day and the heat is taking its toll on Jim. He feels envious of the doctor. The thought of sitting amidst dead bodies inside the stockade disgusts him and he decides to escape. He fills his pockets with biscuits and picks up a pistol and bullets. Jim plans to head for the white rock and as soon as he finds the right opportunity, to slip out. He heads straight towards the east coast of the island, being careful not to get caught or noticed. He enjoys his walk beside the surf. Jim sees the Hispaniola clearly with a gig (boat) tied along side the ship with Silver and his men. As he is at a distance, Jim can't hear their conversation. But the screaming of Silver's parrot-named Captain Flint-was clearly audible.
The sun has gone down and Jim realizes the urgency to find Ben Gunn's boat. Though tired, Jim makes it to the white rock and finds a little tent made of goat skins. Inside the tent Jim is surprised to see Ben Gunn's boat. It is an extremely small boat made with a wood frame covered by stretched goat-skin. The only advantage that Jim can see is its lightness and portability.
Jim now has a boat, and he wants to do something really adventurous. He decides to go to the Hispaniola and cut it's anchor line. Once it is sufficiently dark, Jim takes the small boat to the water. He notices two dots of light. One on the shore and the other on the ship. Jim places his boat on water. He sets out to accomplish his mission when the right water current will help him.
As the name of the section suggests, this section comprises six chapters entirely devoted to Jim's adventures all by himself. Having developed Jim's character from an obedient boy working at the Admiral Benbow in the first chapter to a brave lad killing a mutineer with a lash of his cutlass in the previous one, Stevenson now takes the story further by leaving Jim all by himself on the island. By doing so, he maintains and develops the theme of the whole book. In this chapter Jim describes how he began his sea adventure. The focus is not only on the treasure but also on how Jim develops as an adolescent.
The mutineers did not return for a long time, so the crew gets on with their usual chores. They cook dinner when the doctor attends to the wounded. The Captain had his shoulder bone fractured, and his liver was also punctured. Hunter still remained unconscious as the bones of his chest were crushed and his skull was fractured when he fell. Jim says, he lingered all day breathing loudly. The doctor dresses up Jim's wound too. Again Stevenson highlights the generous and caring nature of the doctor. The idea of having a doctor as one of the characters pays rich dividends this way. Later we also see how he attends to the wounds of those in the enemy camp.
After dinner, the doctor, the Captain and the Squire discuss their future plans. Soon the doctor leaves the stockade with a pistol and a cutlass. Jim assumes that he is out to meet Ben Gunn. He feels very jealous of the doctor as he is able to walk through the cool shade of the thick foliage while Jim and Gray had to sustain the wrath of the sun amidst dead bodies in the stockade.
Jim decides to step out and have a nice time for himself. After filling his coat pocket with biscuits he picks up his pistol and ammunition and he leaves the stockade. Once outside, he heads toward the eastward shore of the island enjoying his walk. He notices the Hispaniola with the pirate flag fluttering on its peak and Silver and his men on a gig just behind it. Jim is able to hear Captain Flint-Silver's parrot screaming. This description is merely to show how interested Jim is in his surroundings now that he is free. Earlier he had not found the island interesting. Now that he is free he likes what he sees.
Finding Ben Gunn's boat is a stroke of luck. Jim, in a completely boyish display of mischief, decides to cut the Hispaniola loose, that is, free it of its anchor. Once decided, he sets out to accomplish his mission. While rowing towards the ship, Jim feels important. This is nothing but self-importance. With Jim the reader also travels to the ship. The danger of Jim's act is obvious to the reader, but Jim merrily moves on. Stevenson seems to prefer adventurous boys to those who exercise discretion.