I got interested in this novel having heard so much about it. Though not such a big fan of classic novel I had heard that this novel had action in it. So I picked it up. Many reviews give scene by scene summary. But I donot believe in that. The reading of the novel is always better.
This novel is a historical romance. The setting is in Scotland and the year is 1751 .The story starts with David Balfour. His father leaves him a letter after he dies, saying to go to see his uncle. When he tries to find uncle house everyone gives him a wired look. He reaches his uncle house and his uncle tricks him.
His uncle on the pretext of a business deal sells him into slavery. He travels on a boat which is shipwrecked and he makes friend with Allan. Alan is a classic rogue, with some fighting skill, a gift of gab, and a gambling problem. Thus there is an adventure. There also is a political and historical background.
The writing is simple. But at times the writing is difficult because of the style of writing. It is written in lowland Scott a Germanic language that evolved from English.
A central theme of the novel is the concept of justice. And adventure Stevenson was living in England when writing this novel. He had a physical illness and felt homesick. Being from Scotland many of his characters are Scottish. We also see how David is developed into an adult.
David is the protagonist. Of the novel. He is young and inexperienced .The novel was targeted towards young boys. So young boys understood David very well. He meets Alan Breck . It is because of him that David comes to know what the real world holds. Due to this he is able to outdo his uncle and get his inheritance. Also he is more mature.
Alan Breck is a person who is offended very quickly but forgives as fast. He is very loyal to his clan which is good thing. He believes that the Scottish strauts should be the true kings of England. He does not change during the course of the novel. He is only there to teach David about the world and guide him.
He teaches David how to survival.in the world. Clan politics.is also taught to David. David is a wig and protestant. While Alan is catholic. In find this character interesting. Another character is Ebenezer Balfour. I would say he is a villa. He is greedy. He decides to have David his nephew killed or kidnapped.
Theme of the novel:
It seems the central theme of the novel is friendship.
There is friendship between David and Alan despite the fact that both are different. At the core is the fact that David is protestant and Alan is cathioc.This friendship is the important part in the whole novel.
For some reason David feels loyalty to Alan. David remains with Allan when the latter loses their money/. Such is the sense of loyalty in David.
In chapter 24 the friendship reaches its clixam.Other than the fact Alan has lost his money Alan keeping on talking against the Whig. You see David is a Whig.
David does not understand the people of highland. He knows right and left from his religious teacher Mr. Campbell. He does not rely on himself as so much on religion.
Both highlander like Alan have values like David. But they have important difference also. David believes that in any conflict find the guilty person and punish him. Alan does not believe in this. Thus David would be willing to agree that Campbell should be punished for his crimes.
Stevson has given us and sight into highlander and their behavior. That is one reason I liked this novel.
But the thing is that Jacobite and Whig come too often in this novel. I myself was confused at first. So let explain this. The Whigs have been loyal to the monarch. Whigs were protestant.
The jacobite as a party were formed after the revolution of 1680s.They were catholic and hence fell out of place with the English government. The murder of Campbell is the central event in the novel.
Coming to inheritance the eldest son always inheritances the property. The main theme would be that David comes to take charge of his estate while his uncle tries that David cannot do this.
There are some symbols that are worthy to be notted.There is a silver button that Alan has given to David. The importantance of this button is this. Whenever David shows this to anyone Alan instructions were found out.
Background of Robert Louis stenson
He was born and brought up in Edinburgh. But most of his life bronchial trouble. This did not stop him from writing.
His novels were
Strange case of Dry Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Short story collection
New Arabian nights
Tales and Fantasies
Familiar studies of men and books
On the choice of a profession
The day after tomorrow
In case you are studying this in school you can see the movie adaptations.