Inspiring young characters in literature

Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver in Treasure Island

During the Covid-19 lockdown, a time of mandatory house imprisonment, was found by statisticians that the use of social networking sites, Netflix and other OTT platforms, internet browsing, WhatsApp messaging multiplied. However, very few people were interested in reading books or even buying them through online purchase to ease the lockdown and Covid-19 triggered monotony and anxiety. The young generation and even some teachers have deliberately been avoiding the prime treasure house of wisdom and information — books. The youth, if inspired to go ahead, quite courageously and enthusiastically, will discover some very inspiring characters belonging to their age bracket. These young protagonists always have a stellar role to rejuvenate our depressed souls.

The readers’ world was thrilled and amazed when the first teen, adventurous hero emerged in global literature in the form of Jim Hawkins in the pulsating adventure novel Treasure Island. Jim, the daring son of the keeper of the inn, Admiral Benbow, was the brainchild of Robert Louis Stevenson, who wanted to counter his frail, sickly physique and tuberculosis with the brave portraiture of Jim Hawkins, who combatted the ferocious, greedy and murderous gang of pirates led by the one-legged Long John Silver.

Illustration of Swami by R. K. Narayan

In Jim Hawkins, modern youth can easily discover the untiring, talismanic tenacity, perseverance and undaunted passion for voyage which existed within legendary explorers like Vasco da Gama, Christopher Columbus and Sir David Livingstone. The innovative genius and alertness by which Jim Hawkins steered the ship Hispaniola with Captain Vance, Squire Trelawney, Captain Smollett and Dr Levesey, points at Jim’s leadership abilities, which were also vibrant and enlivened within the two emperors, Akbar the Great and Mutsuhito of Japan, who ascended their thrones during their teens against a turbulent, political backdrop.

The value of friendship and solidarity during teenage school days can be measured by the semi-autobiographical character, Swaminathan, who was created by the ace storyteller, R. K. Narayan, in the fictional town of Malgudi.

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Koushik Roy
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Koushik Roy

Koushik Roy is an English school teacher with the Government of West Bengal. He was a former Kolkata city correspondent with The Hindustan Times daily.