Robert Louis Stevenson As An Essayist
This dimension raises the issue of Stevenson’s dominant theme: moral ambiguity in human actions.
Stevenson is a moralist, but a hard-headed moralist, not a writer of tracts.
It was the official record of the trial of Stewart as an accomplice in the murder of Colin Campbell of Glenure.
Compelling to such a passionate Scotsman and trained advocate, Stevenson was outraged to learn how a man without any evidence against him could be sentenced to death simply to satisfy clan revenge and a vengeful government determined to end the Jacobite rebellions.
At a time when he was still an unknown author, inspiration came one summer in Scotland when bad weather kept the family stuck inside.
This deceptive straightforwardness is a key element in all of Stevenson’s fiction.
His first-person protagonists, plain men that they are, also end up being “hangers-on” in their own stories; there is always a minor character who becomes the focus of the reader’s attention as this character becomes the focus of the narrator’s attention. Utterson, the matter-of-fact lawyer from whose point of view the third-person narrative is told, is overwhelmed by the title characters.
Creating character David Balfour to act as a witness to history, Stevenson invents firsthand accounts about events which still remain shrouded in mystery.
The story follows David who, after his miserly uncle has him kidnapped and taken to sea, is shipwrecked and must make a dramatic journey across Scotland to claim his inheritance.