Freshman Launch Summer Assignment

Treasure Island

Each summer during your time as an O’Connell student, you will prepare for the year ahead through reading and other educational experiences. This summer assignment, along with whatever you personally do to enrich your own learning, will provide you with background information and skills which help you to grow as a student.

The Bishop O’Connell freshman experience is focused on coming to understand and personally value “The Dignity of the Human Person.” Your summer assignment will ask you to connect concepts from the disciplines of English, social studies and religion. This encourages you to view the world through the lens of Catholic tradition, leading you on a path to becoming a more informed global citizen. This assignment will also introduce or strengthen the following academic skills: close reading, annotation, critical thinking, reflection and creativity.

Follow instructions from each of the sections below. These instructions may be downloaded as a 2-page PDF file HERE.

If you have any questions during the summer, please get in touch with



Read and annotate Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. This novel reimagines a hero’s classic journey of growth and sacrifice in a dangerous world. The journey allows the main character, Jim Hawkins, to examine his expectations of himself and his own concept of personal dignity more closely.

What is Annotation? In English courses, you will be consistently required to annotate novels or other literary pieces as you read them. This allows you to return to the text and easily access the ideas, questions and insights from your reading. Sometimes called "close reading," annotating usually involves highlighting or underlining key pieces of text and making notes in the margins of the text. There are many specific techniques and suggestions for annotations.

As you read, you are responsible for two missions:

Annotation Mission #1: Focus on marking all references to duty and honor.

Annotation Mission #2: The characters in the story have differing degrees of morality. Focus on marking all references to moral standards, moral actions, and moral choices.


Examine the Pirate Code of Conduct of Bartholomew Roberts from 1721 (text below) and consider the type of conduct exhibited by the pirates in contrast to the other characters in Treasure Island. What does their conduct say about their understanding of personal dignity? What does it say about their understanding of morality?

Pirate Code of Conduct
Bartholomew Roberts Shipboard Articles

ARTICLE I - Every man shall have an equal vote in affairs of moment. He shall have an equal title to the fresh provisions or strong liquors at any time seized, and shall use them at pleasure unless a scarcity may make it necessary for the common good that a retrenchment may be voted.

ARTICLE II - Every man shall be called fairly in turn by the list on board of prizes, because over and above their proper share, they are allowed a shift of clothes. But if they defraud the company to the value of even one dollar in plate, jewels or money, they shall be marooned. If any man rob another he shall have his nose and ears slit, and be put ashore where he shall be sure to encounter hardships.

ARTICLE III - None shall game for money either with dice or cards.

ARTICLE IV - The lights and candles should be put out at eight at night, and if any of the crew desire to drink after that hour they shall sit upon the open deck without lights.

ARTICLE V - Each man shall keep his piece, cutlass and pistols at all times clean and ready for action.

ARTICLE VI - No boy or woman to be allowed amongst them. If any man shall be found seducing any of the latter sex and carrying her to sea in disguise he shall suffer death.

ARTICLE VII - He that shall desert the ship or his quarters in time of battle shall be punished by death or marooning.

ARTICLE VIII - None shall strike another on board the ship, but every man's quarrel shall be ended on shore by sword or pistol in this manner. At the word of command from the quartermaster, each man being previously placed back to back, shall turn and fire immediately. If any man do not, the quartermaster shall knock the piece out of his hand. If both miss their aim they shall take to their cutlasses, and he that draweth first blood shall be declared the victor.

ARTICLE IX - No man shall talk of breaking up their way of living till each has a share of l,000. Every man who shall become a cripple or lose a limb in the service shall have 800 pieces of eight from the common stock and for lesser hurts proportionately.

ARTICLE X - The captain and the quartermaster shall each receive two shares of a prize, the master gunner and boatswain, one and one half shares, all other officers one and one quarter, and private gentlemen of fortune one share each.


Reflect on how the following religion video leads you to understand the dignity of each human person, including yourself and others.


Your final quest is to use the Treasure Island, the Pirate Code of Ethics, and the religion video in order to write a 250-500 word reflection essay about Jim Hawkin's moral growth as a character.

Use the dropbox on MyDJO to submit your essay by August 12.