Saturday, August 02, 2008

The undending popularity of Pirates

After the very successful movie trilogy of Pirates of the Caribbean - with everyone going AArgh - even the group in nearby Albany, Oregon, with "Talk Like a Pirate" - and now Leslie Cockburn's article for the Canadian Daily Gleaner about young adult books about pirates - fact and fiction - writes about Long John Silver from the novel Treasure Island. Cockburn writers:
But the ultimate pirate, and one you should introduce your children to as quickly as possible, is Long John Silver, the star of Robert Lewis Stevenson's classic adventure novel, Treasure Island. This is one of the best adventure books ever written. Let me say that while Stevenson didn't have dinosaurs and a multi-million dollar budget, he nevertheless he made his island every bit as dangerous, suspenseful and thrilling as Jurassic Park. No one, I swear, having read the book, could resist the lure of a crumpled map and the siren song of buried gold. It appeals to the absolute worst in us - our heroes steal the gold, kill the pirates, come home and live happily every after. No soul searching, no second thoughts, just a rousing chorus of "Fifteen men on a dead man's chest." Arrrgh!
But here's my funny connection: In 8th grade - years ago - our English teacher assigned an art project after reading Treasure Island. I amde a map showing England, the traverse to the Caribbean, and the imaginary island itself, and my teacher gave a low grade complaining that I had no evidence that Treasure Island was in the Caribbean. Aha - I brought in my grandfather's history of pirates -- Jameson, John Franklin. Privateering and Piracy in the Colonial Period: Illustrative Documents. New York City: The MacMillan Company, 1923. E195.J3 - see this bibliography - which proved that Captain Kidd - mentioned in the novel - was known to be in the Caribbenn, which then proved that Treasure Island must also be there. My teacher was not thrilled to be corrected but she did change the grade. Aargh, indeed!

PS: Last year's da Vinci Days Kinetic Sculpture Race featured a vehicle called "Pie Rat of the Carob Bean" which was wonderful. Had been Cheesy Rider before and this year it was Rat-Tattoo-Eee! Very clever.


Blogger Laura said...

Heheh, you go girl! I can just see the 13-year-old you doing that.

10:58 AM  

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