The third son of an English merchant family from York, Robinson Crusoe rejects the comfort and security of his home and against his father’s advice embarks on a life of adventure. “Bent upon seeing the world,” he sets sail from London aboard a ship bound for Africa. En route, he is captured by Turkish pirates and sold into slavery. After managing to escape, he sails to Brazil aboard a Portuguese trader. There he buys a small plantation, but, once again feeling restless, he sails to Africa for slaves. On this voyage he is shipwrecked and finds himself marooned on a small island off the South American coast.
There for the next 24 years he learns to survive by using his ingenuity and resourcefulness to contrive the necessities of life. Much of Crusoe’s story reads like a diary of his life as a castaway, but he is such an appealing narrator that he holds our interest. His greatest adventure comes in his 24th year when he discovers a strange footprint on the beach. Finding that cannibals have come ashore, he plans to ambush them and rescues one of their prisoners, whom he names Friday. The two men exist as master and servant as Crusoe gradually civilizes his new companion. Eventually they free two other captives, Friday’s father and a Spaniard.
As well as being an exciting tale of adventure and survival, Defoe’s story celebrates the sturdy, self-reliant Englishman character who can learn to exist under the most unfavorable circumstances by using his native wits and common sense. Readers have always enjoyed the details of how Crusoe slowly transforms his uninhabited island into a productive homestead. He overcomes his isolation and despair through his faith in God and his knack for keeping busy with his daily work.
Along with John Bunyan’s PILGRIM’S PROGRESS, this book stands as one of the great moral allegories of Protestant literature. Though written for adults, it has become one of the perennial favorites in children’s literature for its example of the self-reliant individual who triumphs over adversity.
Damrosch, Leopold, Jr. God’s Plot and Man’s Stories. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985. Damrosch devotes a chapter to Robinson Crusoe, which he reads largely within the context of Puritan doctrine. The result is a first-rate and highly recommended discussion of the work.
Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe. Edited by Michael Shinagel. New York: W. W. Norton, 1994. The perfect beginner’s guide to Defoe’s great novel. In addition to an authoritative text of Robinson Crusoe, Shinagel provides selections from twentieth century criticism, a bibliography, and a set of very useful contextual materials.
McKeon, Michael. The Origins of the English Novel, 1600-1740. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987. A large and challenging work, which includes a readable and rewarding chapter on Robinson Crusoe.
Rogers, Pat. Robinson Crusoe. London: Allen and Unwin, 1979. A rich source book for the study of Defoe’s most famous work. Provides, among many other useful materials, a brief account of Defoe’s life, chapters entitled “Travel, Trade, and Empire” and “Religion and Allegory,” a full bibliography, and two appendices containing pre-Robinson Crusoe accounts of Alexander Selkirk (the castaway who inspired Defoe’s fictional character).
Watt, Ian. Myths of Modern Individualism: Faust, Don Quixote, Don Juan, Robinson Crusoe. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Ian Watt studies the origins and literary uses of Don Quixote, Don Juan, Faust, and Robinson Crusoe as pervasive myths of the modern individualist world.
Watt, Ian. The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson, and Fielding. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1964. First published in 1957, Watt’s study remains, in spite of numerous challenges, one of the key works in the field of early English fiction. He devotes a long and fascinating chapter to Robinson Crusoe.
The amazing story I read was the tale of Robinson Crusoe, written by Daniel Defoe, which is the account of a man who was stranded on an uninhabited island for more than twenty years. This story was published by the English writer, Defoe, in the year 1719, about eighty years before the French Revolution. The fiction was in a relatively simple manner but was so masterfully done that it has achieved much praise.
In Robinson Crusoe, there are very few characters that the author describes with much detail. The main character is Robinson Crusoe who is the son of a well-to-do middle-class father. He is very immature in the beginning because of how his emotions change like a stormy sea. He keeps jumping from wanting to become involved in law to obey his father’s wishes and sailing out to sea to show he is a rebel. Later on, his character becomes more mature while he is living on the deserted island and he shows the amount of ingenuity he has by completing his priorities to survive with very little in supplies to help him complete them. There are a few other characters in the story that have some significance to Robinson’s life like his servants Friday and Xury. He has these friend-servants at different points in the story and they help him survive in one way or another. Xury helps him escape from his Moorish slave master and stays with Robinson until they are picked by a Portuguese captain. Friday comes into Robinson’s services when Robinson saves him from cannibalistic savages that want to eat him and helps Robinson survive on the island. There are numerous characters in Robinson Crusoe but only a few of them have any real significance to the life of the main character, Robinson Crusoe, in the story.
The story of Robinson Crusoe has a very straightforward and basic plot. It is about a young man disobeying his father and going out to sea to explore the world. He encounters many problems, though, but seems to overcome everything that happens to him one way or another. The largest predicament he gets into is shipwrecking on an uninhabited island in the Caribbean and having to survive there for over twenty years. In the end, though, he even overcomes that situation and eventually travels back to his home in England to settle down and have children. Other problems he encountered were being captured and enslaved, fighting bloodthirsty savages, and nullifying a mutinying ship crew. Throughout all this Robinson stayed mostly levelheaded and worked strategically to accomplish his goals. The whole story is just about Robinson encountering problems and overcoming them which is not that complex of a storyline.
There are many underlying historical facts in the tale of Robinson Crusoe. Robinson’s father represents the Protestant ideal of being a hard-working individual while the savages of Brazil are considered to be the lowest form of life with their pagan practices and attitudes. Defoe also shows that during the time he was writing the book Catholics were not trusted in England because he makes Robinson suspicious of the Catholic Spaniard he saves from the savages. Christianity is shown as a form of deliverance for foreign servants that want to become free and shows that the Christian religion was seen as the best religion to believe in during the 1700s. It is also shown that the Inquisition is happening in the book because Robinson is afraid that the Spaniard will give him to the Inquisition if he lets the Spaniard take him back to Europe. There are many clues and phrases that show what was happening in the European world in the tale of Robinson Crusoe.
The novel, Robinson Crusoe, was one of the greatest books I ever read in my life. Daniel Defoe captures Robinson’s own personal view, instead of the view of the masses, perfectly with Robinson’s own individual way of thinking and viewing the world around him. He shows how Robinson matures throughout the book and has a deeper understanding of life until he goes back to the corrupted European world and becomes an ignorant man looking for adventure again. The in-depth descriptions of what Robinson did to survive demonstrate that Defoe had extensive knowledge on survival tactics and enhances the story to the point of it being believable. This book is a must-read by anybody who wants to experience real English literature in all its glory.
The story of Robinson Crusoe was a great book to read and was written by an amazing author from England. Even though the plot was quite simple and there were very few characters with any real significance to the story, the style of writing that the novel was done with was truly amazing and more than makes up for everything else in the story. The fiction, Robinson Crusoe, was a real English masterpiece of a novel and was done by Daniel Defoe, one of the greatest English writers of all time.
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