ROBINSON CRUSOE notes • Robinson's life and adventures are interesting and incredible • The story has been published to instruct • It is a true story First passage -the beginning of the book: Robinson’s account of his family background father, German (a merchant) mother, English anglicized name (Kreutznauer→Crusoe) two brothers, one dead, one missing Father-son conflict Robinson→ rambling thoughts; I would be satisfied with nothing but going to sea father→very ancient; a wise and grave man a eulogy of the middle state, the best state in the world, the most suited to human happiness not exposed to the miseries and hardships, the labour and sufferings, of the mechanick part of mankind not embarrassed with the pride, luxury, ambition, and envy of the upper part of mankind Second passage Robinson wakes up and sees he can reach the ship he sees a boat but can’t reach it he’s about to be overcome by grief but then takes control of himself and decides to go on board he makes a raft to carry his provisions to the shore The setting Stress on his physical + rational efforts Rational attitude, practical mind Symbolic value of the SEA and the SHIP View of NATURE Third passage Robinson finds a footprint on the sand He reflects on how changeable man’s feelings are according to what happens in his life He turns to the Scriptures for comfort and guidance Idea of PROVIDENCE God’s rights vs man’s duties Fourth passage Detailed description of the “savage” -general impression/face expression -hair -forehead -eyes -skin colour -face -nose -mouth -teeth Handsome → because he looks like a European Friday’s vs Robinson’s behaviour A slave-master relationship is «naturally» established PLOT →3 parts • Crusoe's early life; disobeying his father he goes to sea. After a series of adventures he gets to Brazil where he becomes a plantation owner. While going to Africa to get slaves he's shipwrecked on a desert island. He's the only survivor; he is rescued after 28 years. 2. A journal → his life on the island, how he uses his intelligence and strength to overcome difficulties and become the master of the island. After many years of solitude he meets a "savage" whom he names Friday and whom he converts to Christianity; he also teaches him the English language and culture. 3. He is rescued, returns to Brazil with Friday as his servant, finds out he has become rich. STYLE • very matter-of-fact • little access to Robinson's thoughts and feelings (even if at times he reflects on religious matters) • mainly about actions, objects, events • no real plot, a diary-like sequence NARRATIVE TECHNIQUE • 1st-person narrator (sort of autobiography) • different from the author who, in the Preface, says he's only an editor INTERPRETATIONS Religious allegory → a Puritan dissertation about man's redemption from sin. Man must try and be saved through his work and self-reliance. At first, the island is an "island of despair", but gradually, through endurance, hard work, intelligence, ingenuity, it is transformed into a sort of paradise of which he's the master. He does not ask God for salvation, relies only upon himself. • Economic allegory → merchant capitalism: the “civilization” Robinson establishes on the island is very similar to the society he comes from. ↓ his property (house, fence) gathers wealth (stocks of food and supplies) establishes a strict work routine He embodies the values of the self-made man, like a businessman who, starting from nothing, slowly builds himself an empire Imperialist allegory → demonstration of the white, Christian Robinson's superiority over Friday, who must be civilized and converted to the true religion. • Robinson sees it as his right to be lord and master of the island despite the fact that Friday was there before him.