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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/9941

  • The Moral Problematic as a Recurring Theme in Robert Louis Stevenson's Novels: The Master of Ballantrae and Kidnapped
  • September 2011
  • This dissertation examines the theme of morality in Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Master of Ballantrae" and "Kidnapped", focusing mainly on the former novel. After a brief discussion of Stevenson's historical interests and of the the sources gathered by him for the writing of his Scottish novels, I proceed to an investigation of the main narrator of "The Master of Ballantrae", the unreliable Mackellar. I argue that Mackellar can be regarded as a dogmatic moralist whose ethical standards are first questioned, and then subverted by the character of James Durie. Subsequently, I analyze the main narrator of "Kidnapped", the seventeen-year-old David Balfour, and I claim that similarly to Mackellar, David also holds strict moral standards that gradually dissolve after he experiences significant historical and social events that contribute to his individual growth. I then conclude the dissertation by evidencing Stevenson's preoccupation with moral issues, which transpires both from his letters and prose, and by claiming that he disregarded a decontextualized morality based on prejudices and religious dogmatism.

  • Sep 7, 2011
  • http://hdl.handle.net/1946/9941

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