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H. G. Wells

Herbert George Wells, also known as H.G. Wells, was an English novelist, historian, and social critic who lived from 1866 to 1946. He is best known for his science fiction novels, including "The Time Machine," "The Invisible Man," and "The War of the Worlds," which are considered classics of the genre.


Wells was born into a working-class family in Bromley, Kent, and received a scholarship to study at the Normal School of Science in London. He went on to become a teacher, but also began writing for magazines and newspapers.


Wells was a prolific writer, with over 100 books to his name, covering a wide range of topics including politics, social issues, and history. He was also a prominent member of the Fabian Society, a socialist organization, and his political views often came through in his writing.


In addition to his literary work, Wells was a strong advocate for social reform and was involved in various political and social causes throughout his life. He died in 1946 at the age of 78.


About the Story:

"The Treasure in the Forest" is a short story by H.G. Wells about two treasure hunters, Evans and Hooker, who travel to a remote tropical island in search of a treasure hidden by a Chinese pirate named Chang-Li. As they explore the island, they encounter various obstacles, including deadly thorns and a treacherous river. They also discover the dead body of Chang-Li, who appears to have been murdered. Eventually, they find the treasure, but their greed leads to their downfall as they are poisoned by the thorns protecting it. The story explores themes of greed, betrayal, and the dangers of seeking wealth at any cost.


The main characters in the story "The Treasure in the Forest" are:


1.     Evan: A tall, thin man with a sharp nose and a prominent Adam's apple. He is one of the treasure hunters and is described as having a dreamy disposition.

2.     Hooker: The other treasure hunter, Hooker is a short, stout man with a gruff voice and a blunt nose. He is more practical and down-to-earth than Evan.

3.     Chang-Li: A Chinese man who Evan and Hooker encounter on the mainland. He gives them a map leading to treasure on the island and tells them about the dangers they will face.

4.     The dead man: A mysterious figure found on the island by Evan and Hooker. He appears to have died from poisoning and may have been a previous treasure hunter.

5.     The natives: Although they are not named or given much description, the natives of the island are mentioned several times throughout the story. They are described as being fierce and potentially dangerous.



The setting of the story is a tropical island with a coral reef and dense forests. It is an isolated place where only a few people live, and the island is surrounded by the sea. The vegetation is lush, and the climate is hot and humid. The story takes place in the early 20th century when the island was still unexplored and untouched by modern civilization. The island's natural beauty and abundance of resources, such as freshwater streams and fruit trees, make it an attractive location for the treasure hunters.





The themes of the story "The Treasure in the Forest" include:

·       Greed: The desire for wealth and riches drives the characters of the story to take dangerous risks and commit heinous acts.

·       Betrayal: The characters of the story, especially Chang-Li, are betrayed by those they trusted, leading to their demise.

·       Justice: The story shows that those who engage in illegal activities and commit crimes will eventually face justice and punishment for their actions.

·       Racism: The story contains elements of racism, with the white characters feeling superior to the Chinese characters and viewing them as inferior.

·       Nature: The setting of the story is a tropical island with a diverse and rich ecosystem, highlighting the importance of nature and the impact humans can have on it.

·       Mystery: The story is a mystery as the characters search for a hidden treasure and try to uncover the truth behind the death of Chang-Li.

·       Survival: The characters face various challenges and obstacles in their quest for the treasure, requiring them to use their skills and wits to survive.




"The Treasure in the Forest" is actually a short story written by H.G. Wells, the English novelist, journalist, and historian best known for his science fiction works such as "The Time Machine" and "The War of the Worlds". The story was first published in 1895 and follows the journey of two men, Evans and Hooker, as they search for treasure on a remote island. The story takes a dark turn as the men encounter unexpected challenges and ultimately meet a tragic end.


Two men were sailing in a boat near the shore, which had green trees and high mountains. They came across an empty beach and felt thirsty in the scorching sun. They saw a small river running into the sea and Evans suggested that the treasure they were searching for might be in the forest somewhere along the river. Hooker showed Evans a yellow piece of paper that he had, which turned out to be an old yellow map with a faint pencil drawing of an island. They both examined the map closely and traced the river on the map, which led to the blue star marked on it. The blue star marked the spot where the treasure was supposed to be buried. Evans noticed some strange markings on the map, which looked like teeth or glass, but Hooker could only identify the writing on the map to be Chinese. The boat slowly moved towards the beach and Evans asked Hooker to take over paddling as he was tired. Hooker put the map away in his pocket and paddled towards the river, hoping to find water and eventually the treasure.


Evans was sitting in the boat with his eyes half-closed, feeling very tired as they approached the beach. Despite being near the treasure, he was not excited about it, and he couldn't stop thinking about how dry his mouth was and how badly he needed water. He remembered the Chinaman who had told them about the island and the treasure, but he couldn't recall the details. The boat rocked slowly with the sound of the sea, which was soothing to Evans, and he eventually drifted off to sleep.


In his dream, he saw himself and Hooker in the forest at night, searching for something or someone. They came across three Chinamen sitting around a small fire, talking in hushed tones. Evans couldn't understand everything they were saying, but he heard about Chang-Li taking the gold from a galleon and hiding it on the island. Chang-Li wanted help retrieving it and had given the Chinamen a map. The dream then changed, and Evans saw Chang-Li's face, which turned from friendly to fearful. Evans found himself strangling Chang-Li until he stopped moving. The dream then ended with Evans seeing mountains of gold and Chang-Li smiling at him with his hands still around his neck. Hooker woke him up just in time as they were nearing the beach.


Hooker stated that there are three palm trees in the forest and that when they find them, they will be able to locate the treasure. Evans asked if it was far, and Hooker pointed to the river, indicating that the trees were somewhere near it. Evans was thirsty and eager to find the treasure. Hooker filled a bottle with water and they began paddling down the river until they reached the sea. They then pulled their boat onto the beach and started cutting through the forest towards the palm trees. As they were cutting through the bushes, they discovered big white flowers, but Evans was not interested in them and only wanted to find the river and the treasure. Eventually, they heard the sound of water, and as they hurried towards it, Hooker suddenly stopped because he saw something or someone behind the bushes.


Evans and Hooker moved slowly forward until they saw a body lying face down in the grass behind the bushes. Evans examined the dead man's face and turned him over to see a Chinaman. Hooker asked how long ago he died, and Evans guessed it had been about a month. They noticed a shovel and a big hole in the ground nearby and wondered if the treasure was close by. Hooker ran towards the hole and called Evans to come and see that the treasure was still there. Evans joined him and saw the gold bars in the dirt. As he touched the gold, he got a thorn in his finger. Hooker expressed his unease about the dead Chinaman and the fact that the treasure was still in the hole. Evans got angry and said it didn't matter how the Chinaman died as they were now rich. He then put three gold bars on his shirt and cried out in pain as he got another thorn in his finger.


and help him carry the gold instead. Hooker hesitated, as the face of the dead Chinaman reminded him of someone he knew. However, Evans dismissed his concerns and urged him to focus on the gold. They pulled the shirt with the gold out of the hole, and Hooker asked if they should bury it on the island or take it to the boat. Evans chose to take it to the boat, but the weight of the gold made it difficult for them to carry. Evans had to stop and rest multiple times due to the heat, but he became increasingly agitated and refused Hooker's help. Eventually, some gold fell on the ground, and Evans became visibly unwell. He ordered Hooker to put the gold back on the shirt and let go, but Hooker was afraid and uncertain of what was happening.


Hooker returned the gold back onto the shirt with a growing sense of fear. He didn't want to be left alone in the forest with his sick friend, and the realization that they were far from help and no one knew about their trip to the island added to his anxiety. As he put the gold back on the shirt, he pricked his finger on a thorn and it started bleeding. Suddenly, Evans cried out in pain and fell to the ground. Hooker was shocked, and as he looked around at the trees and the big white flowers, he remembered the marks on the map and realized that they were the shape of the thorns. He sucked his finger, but it was too late. The pain soon spread through his body, and he couldn't move his fingers. He sat down, thinking about Chang Li's smiling face. As he looked at Evans's body, a white flower fell from a tree, and then pain overtook him, and he died quickly.



Understanding the text

Answer the following questions.

a. Describe the expository scene of the story.

At the beginning of the story, we see Evans and Hooker, two treasure hunters, nearing the shore in their canoe. The land before them is characterized by a small river flowing towards the sea, a dense forest with lush greenery, a steep hill, and the ocean.


b. What does the map look like and how do Evan and Hooker interpret it?

The map appears to be a crude map that is folded and has been used to the point of nearly falling apart. Evan identifies the curved lines on the map as the river and the star as the destination, while Hooker understands the meaning of the dotted and straight lines, as well as the path to the lagoon depicted on the map.


c. How did Evan and Hooker know about the treasure?

Evan and Hooker overheard a conversation between a Chinese man and another man about a treasure, and the Chinese man showed them a map that he had. The two treasure hunters were able to learn about the treasure from the map and decided to search for it themselves.


d. Describe Evan’s dream.

In Evan's dream, he and Chang-Li were in the forest and saw a small fire where three Chinese men sat and spoke in low voices in English. Evan approached and heard that Chang-Li had taken gold from a shipwrecked Spanish galleon and hidden it on the island. Chang-Li had kept this a secret and worked alone, but now he needed help to retrieve the gold. The dream turned into a battle scene where Chang-Li was brutally killed by the three Chinese men.


e. What do the two treasure hunters see when they walk towards the island?

As the two treasure hunters make their way towards the island, they spot a trio of palm trees arranged in a row, along with a cluster of bushes situated at the mouth of the stream.


f. In what condition did the treasure hunters find the dead man?

The treasure hunters discovered the deceased man lying in an open area amidst the trees, with his neck and hands swollen and purple.


g. How did the treasure hunters try to carry gold ingots to the canoe?

The treasure hunters attempted to transport the gold ingots to the canoe with the assistance of a coat. One end of the coat's collar was held by Hooker's hand and the other by Evan's hand.


h. How were Evan and Hooker poisoned?

Evan and Hooker were both poisoned when a slim thorn of almost two centimeters in length pricked Hooker's thumb, causing Evan to collapse on top of him. This resulted in both of them collapsing to the ground and experiencing intense suffering.


Reference to the Context

a. How do you know the story is set on a tropical island?

The Treasure in the Forest story takes place on a tropical island that has a diverse range of ecosystems, such as rainforests, grasslands, lakes, streams, wetlands, mangroves, coral reefs, and deep sea. At the beginning of the story, we see two men named Evans and Hooker paddling towards the island in a canoe under the scorching noon sun. The author describes the bay, the white surf of the reef, the river flowing to the sea, the thick and green forest, the hilly terrain, and other elements of the island's environment. The detailed description of the island's various habitats and landscapes give readers a clear idea that the story is set on a tropical island.


b. Why do you think Evan and Hooker took such a risk of finding the buried treasure on a desert island?

Evan and Hooker took the risk of finding the buried treasure on a desert island because they were lured by the possibility of immense wealth. The treasure map they obtained from the Chinese man was their ticket to a potentially life-changing fortune, and they were willing to brave the dangers of the island to uncover it. Additionally, Evan had a dream that gave him further confidence in the treasure's existence and location. The prospect of finding treasure can be very alluring and can sometimes make people take significant risks.


c. Do you think the narrator of the story is racist? If yes, what made him feel superior to other races?

Upon reading the story "The Treasure in the Forest," there are instances where the narrator describes the Chinese characters with stereotypes such as referring to them as "Chinamen" and portraying them as scheming and greedy. This could be seen as racist and discriminatory towards the Chinese people. However, it is essential to note that the story was written in 1895, and attitudes towards race and ethnicity were different at that time.


It is also important to recognize that the narrator is not a character in the story, and the language and tone used in the narration may not reflect the author's personal views. As such, it is challenging to determine what made the narrator feel superior to other races, if any.


 d. What do you think is the moral of the story?

The story "The Treasure in the Forest" teaches several morals. One of the most prominent morals is that greed can lead people to do foolish and dangerous things. Evan and Hooker were willing to take great risks to find the treasure, even though they knew very little about it and had no guarantee of success. The story shows that their greed ultimately leads to their downfall, as they are poisoned and left stranded on the island.


Another moral of the story is that appearances can be deceiving. The treasure turned out to be a trap that was meant to kill anyone who tried to take it, and the supposedly harmless thorn bush turned out to be deadly. This shows that things are not always what they seem, and it is important to be cautious and think things through before making decisions.


Lastly, the story also highlights the consequences of colonialism and the exploitation of other cultures for personal gain. The Chinese man's treasure was likely obtained through exploitation and violence against his own people, and the Western treasure hunters, in their greed, were willing to take advantage of his misfortune. This underscores the importance of treating others with respect and dignity, and the dangers of exploiting others for personal gain.


Reference beyond the text

a. Interpret the story as a mystery story.

As a mystery story, "The Treasure in the Forest" has all the elements of a classic whodunit, but with treasure hunting as the central theme. The story opens with two treasure hunters, Evans and Hooker, heading towards a remote island to find a hidden treasure. As they navigate through the island, they encounter various clues that lead them to the location of the treasure. However, their journey is filled with obstacles and danger, such as poisonous thorns, a dead man, and the betrayal of their Chinese guide.


The story is told from the perspective of an omniscient narrator who gives the reader glimpses into the minds of the characters and their motivations. The mystery in the story revolves around the identity of the dead man and the true location of the treasure. As the plot unfolds, the characters must use their wits and intuition to solve the mystery and uncover the truth.


The climax of the story comes when Evans and Hooker finally discover the treasure, only to be betrayed by their guide, who reveals himself as the true owner of the treasure. The story ends on a tragic note, with the deaths of Evans, Hooker, and their guide, leaving the treasure to remain hidden and undiscovered.


Overall, "The Treasure in the Forest" can be seen as a classic mystery story, with elements of adventure and danger mixed in. The story keeps the reader guessing until the end, with unexpected twists and turns that lead to a tragic conclusion.



b. Treasure hunting is a favorable subject of children’s story. Remember a treasure hunting story you read in your childhood and compare and contrast it with ‘The Treasure in the Forest.’

One treasure hunting story that comes to mind from my childhood is "Treasure Island" by Robert Louis Stevenson. Both "The Treasure in the Forest" and "Treasure Island" share some similarities in terms of their themes, such as the thrill of adventure, the lure of treasure, and the danger and betrayal that often come with the pursuit of wealth.


However, there are also some notable differences between the two stories. For example, "Treasure Island" takes place on a pirate-infested island in the Caribbean, while "The Treasure in the Forest" is set on a remote, deserted island in the Pacific. Additionally, the characters in "Treasure Island" are more developed and complex, with their own unique motivations and backstories, while the characters in "The Treasure in the Forest" are more one-dimensional and are primarily defined by their desire for wealth.


Another significant difference between the two stories is their intended audience. "Treasure Island" is a classic work of literature that is suitable for both children and adults, while "The Treasure in the Forest" is a short story that is primarily geared towards a young adult audience. As a result, "Treasure Island" is more nuanced and sophisticated in its treatment of themes and characters, while "The Treasure in the Forest" is more straightforward and simplistic in its approach.


Overall, both "The Treasure in the Forest" and "Treasure Island" are engaging and exciting stories that capture the imagination of young readers with their tales of adventure and treasure hunting. However, each story has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and they appeal to different audiences and sensibilities.


The End


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