Five on a Treasure Island – How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition? part 7

The book is getting to some of its most exiting scenes now, so I wonder what effect that will have had on the editor’s pen? [I’ll admit to one of my grammar problems now, I really struggle with affect and effect. Someone, please correct me if I’ve got it wrong just now!]

A reminder of earlier posts: part one, two, three, four, five and six.


Well, a disappointing moment for my theory. Hardly anything got edited in this chapter. Maybe the editor got swept up in the story.

What was changed was the usual stuff, queer becoming weird and then strange, whilst being altered to while twice, and a bit of de-hyphening if that’s a real word. The modern edition has is a little more consistent here, Blyton uses key-hole twice and keyhole once, whereas this is altered to read keyhole in all three instances for the paperback.

On the plus side, I was able to enjoy more of this chapter instead of constantly putting the book down to make notes! Anyway, onwards.


Well, we seem back on form already. By the second line of the chapter we’ve got a silly change. In the original, George is dumbly staring at the ingots, and holding one in her hand. This has been changed to in her hands. The previous chapter tells us they walked in, flashing their torches, so I wonder if George has a third hand secretly, so she’s got two on the ingot and one on her torch. I can’t think why this has been changed, unless they think George (who’s just been smashing a heavy door with an axe) is too weak to hold an ingot with one hand.

Next, capitalised words are made lower-case. Julian is yelling down the passage; WE’VE FOUND THEM! HURRY! HURRY! the capitals adding volume and drama. In lower-case, it lacks the same punch. I’m not advocating using capitals every time someone raises their voice, but sparingly they do add to the story.

Another baffling alteration, George originally tells the men that The island and the castle belong to my mother. It gets changed to This island… I’m sure both are perfectly correct but I’m not sure why they went to the effort of changing it.

There were two queers in this chapter, but of course they are now strange and odd. And finally, worth while is altered to worthwhile which is a more common way of saying it these days.

So still not many changes for quite an action-packed chapter.

We were at 95 changes by my rough count, now it’s 107 as there were only 12 changes between these two chapters. I think that’s the least yet, and as someone who loves to come up with theories, may I suggest the editor got bored and/or tired by this stage?

In fact, this post is so short I’m going to treat you to a third chapter. (Also, there’s an odd number in the book so it’s this or a whole post on a single chapter later!)


Another barely-touched chapter here. We’ve got two whilsts to whiles, which is consistent anyway.

Also, Dick thinks it’s lucky that he’s good at gym, in the original this has a full stop after it to signify it’s short for something, and that’s been removed in the paperback, presumably as gym has been adopted into normal usage. It actually made me stop and wonder exactly what it was short for. Gymnasium, the room you would do gym in doesn’t make sense in the context, so I’m left thinking gymnastics. He’s talking about climbing ropes so that makes sense, though at school when we said gym we meant any sort of physical lesson – what was known as PE (physical education) at high school, or games if you went to a posher school, and it covered everything from swimming and running to tennis, hockey, volleyball, badminton, basketball and so on.

And last but not least, something that’s happened a few times, hie becomes hi. This time Dick is speaking, calling for Julian and George, Hie, Julian! Hie, George! who are locked in the room with the ingots. He’s not saying hello, and if he was he wouldn’t say hi, he would say hallo most likely.

Another four changes takes us to 111 then, and a good place to stop. Only two more chapters to go, so that’ll go on in about two weeks, and then… well, I’m tempted to do another book, but looking at the 2010 (I think) editions where they become Mum and Dad. But I don’t know, I might have a fit of apoplexy and never write again if I did that.

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7 Responses to Five on a Treasure Island – How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition? part 7

  1. Cathy says:

    Another great article about this book!
    This Hie to Hi business really makes me wonder if the editors even know what Hie actually means. *rolls eyes* If they knew that Hie was an exclamation then why are they changing it to a greeting? Seems like they think that Hie must be an old fashioned version of Hi so it’s acceptable in their eyes to modernise it by removing the E.
    You were right with ‘effect’!
    It’s difficult to describe now I try, but effect with an E is for things like ‘special effects’, things you can see, like ‘the effect of the sun on the water’ or to see the effects of the flu in someone, if that makes sense?
    Affect with an A is when something is affected by something, ie you were affected by being bullied, or affected by the plague.
    That doesn’t really sound very helpful, I know what I mean but it’s difficult to explain it!
    I think when I was at school we used the word gym to mean actual gymnastics, when we were in the gymnasium with the wooden horses and climbing things, but for the other types, like netball, hockey, etc etc we just said PE.
    I definitely think you should do another book – I for one would love to read more of these articles, and I’m sure everyone else would as well!


    • fiona says:

      Thanks Cathy.

      Yes I agree about hi/hie, if they wanted to change it they should have made it ‘hey’ or something similar. But really, I don’t think there was any need to change it as it’s a perfectly good word.

      I did look up several online guides for affect/effect and in the end decided that because I could change effect for consequence it was a noun and therefore probably right. Dratted English language! I’ve just got such a mental block when it comes to those two words.


      • Cathy says:

        Yes, ‘hie’ is a perfectly fine word to use, I agree with you! Perhaps not many children use it these days but neither do they use ‘gosh’ or ‘golly’ (as in the exclamation, not the gollywog!) or lots of other words that feature in the books and have been left alone, so it seems pointless to try and remove some of these older-fashioned words. The books were written in older times so unless the editors are going to just rewrite the whole book and use entirely modern-day language, then why don’t they just leave them alone!! 🙂

        I know what you mean about having a mental block – I get that at times with practise and practice! 🙂


        • Michael says:

               Well, I still find myself occasionally using “golly” or “gosh”, apparently naturally – but it’s likely that I was originally influenced by Enid Blyton there – my brothers, subjected to very much the same upbringing and education I had, never use these words.
               I wonder if I make myself look foolish to others every time I do that. Well, no-one has said so yet, or even suggested it indirectly. At the very least, I might be displaying to everyone that not only did I read Enid Blyton, but that I still remember the books – something I don’t normally talk to people about. I occasionally hear these words in radio broadcasts; so they are not completely dead yet, I’d say.

               “Practice”/”practise” is easy: with the “c” it’s a noun, and with an “s” a verb.
               It’s easy to remember if you consider the analogy with “advice”/”advise”, where the same is true; and this one is probably easier to remember because in that case they are actually pronounced differently.
               Now you should never forget which is which!


  2. Francis says:

    I won’t tell you how many problems I have with grammar and words (I have trouble with affect and effect). I have thoroughly enjoyed your survey and hope you do other books – when you have recovered!


  3. Michael says:

         I can answer your query about “effect”/”affect” – you used “effect” correctly.
         As nouns: an effect is the result of some other action, or consequence; I think “affect” does exist as a noun, but I think it’s a technical psychological term of some sort. As verbs, to affect something is to alter the way it develops or stands; to effect something (an action or plan) is to bring it into operation, to cause it to happen.
         If you affect something, you cause an effect; but if you effect something, you bring it into action.
         Does that help?
         There is more on this here, which may help further:

         It could be that “in her hand” was changed to “in her hands” as the editors realized (and it’s probably true – gold is very heavy) that it would be very hard to hold a reasonable-sized ingot in one hand, especially for a child. I would regard that as one of the more reasonable changes, actually, unlike many you’ve highlighted.

         I would de-hyphen *some* words, although retain hyphens for some that many now de-hyphen – I think the modern trend to mashing together words has gone too far. I don’t have any really comprehensive, consistent rule on this, but do just what seems to look right. I use “keyhole” myself, but have no problem with “key-hole”. Others I don’t accept include things like “seafood”, “backseat”, “girlfriend”, and “wildlife” (to name just a few of many), all of which I write with a hyphen.
         On the other hand, I used to go too far the other way once or twice, and used to write “brief-case”, but realized that “briefcase” is entirely acceptable even to my rather conservative view on these things.
         Especially egregious, because they are not even any part of speech that I can identify, are “alright”, “goodnight”, and “thankyou”. “Goodnight” should have a hyphen, and the other two not even that, but just as two words, which is what they are (and 2 l’s in “all right”).

         I find using the greeting “Hi” in Enid Blyton very questionable, as I doubt that this American expression would have ever been used by Enid Blyton in her books. “Hie”, as pointed out, is quite different from “Hi”, even if it may be pronounced the same way. It’s not an expression I’m accustomed to, but I assume it would be used in a different context to “Hi”.


    • Cathy says:

      Yes, “Hie” is an exclamation that you would use to address someone who was already there and perhaps doing something, it is used in the same sort of way as “Oi, Tim!” would be used – to catch Timmy’s attention, rather than greeting him.

      Sooty uses it in Smugglers Top when he observes Mr Barling kidnapping Uncle Quentin – he calls out “Hie! Hie! What are you doing? Who are you?” which means the same as if he had said “Oi! What are you doing?” or “Hey you – what are you doing?”.
      He also says it again when Mr Barling leaves him in the cave with Uncle Quentin – “Hie, you beasts, leave me a light!”.

      Thanks for the practise/practice comparison! 🙂


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