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Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe – King of Nothing

Robinson Crusoe is said to be the first realistic novel ever, an it is written by Daniel Defoe. In this novel we meet Robinson Crusoe who is stranded on a uninhabited island. In the topical excerpt called “the print of a foot” Crusoe sees a footprint, and he starts wondering if the island really is uninhabited.

Though Robinson Crusoe is stranded on a island in the middle of nowhere without any facilities, he is not a desperate man in any way. He sees himself as a king or an emperor, an feels kind of free, despite the limited geographical space. Crusoe also says “I had neither the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, or the pride of life. I had nothing to covet, for I had all that I was now capable of enjoying”. The fact that the environment around Crusoe has been changed completely, has also changed his way of thinking. Women has been less importaint, which is naturale since there are no women around. But we can also see how the lack of material things, forces Crusoe to focus on other tings and get other values. He starts thinking and reflecting about life and his own surroundings. Crusoe becomes pleased with the fact that he has everything he needs on the island, and he uses only what is needed; nothing more. The religious aspect of Robinson Crusoe should be mentioned. Crusoe thinks a lot about God and the Devil. He looks upon every positive ting, such as the rich nature, as gifts from God. Crusoe is very thankfull to this, and he is happy that he is able to consider what he enjoed, rather then what he wanted. But also the Devil was something he beleaved existed. This shows when Crusoe one day sees the footprint in the sand, and first thinks that it must be the Devil. After some time though, he concludes that this can not be right. It must have someother explanation…

Of course Robinson Crusoe can be seen as “an ideal of individual enterprise empire-building”. Crusoe fights the nature and manage to live well on a island all by himselfe. He also take care of the environment in a good way. But in all this, I also think there is a fundamental thought of power, which we can be critical to.

Double Standard in Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe

The Double Standard in Robinson Crusoe

As I read the excerpts from Robinson Crusoe I was quite affected by the double standard that was evident on the part of our “hero.” This theme of the double standard is one that is realized in most antiquated texts. In explanation, whatever action the white European male performs is exceptionable behavior, but if another character, like a woman or a non-European does the same thing it becomes unexceptionable. An obvious example is Mr. Crusoe whose chosen profession was slave trader turned slave, a condition that was not an attractive lifestyle for him, but was fine for those who did not fit into his racial grouping. He formulates an escape for himself, an action that would have infuriated him if a slave had tried to escape from him when he was in his role of slave merchant. Additionally, I was agog, as was Allison, that he threw the Moor overboard and threatened him death if he did not return to shore, and a certain existence in the role of slave. That Crusoe did not offer the Moor the same stab at freedom he was giving himself was unforgivable.

Directing my discussion to the excerpt involving Friday, again the double standard was evident, though it was realized in a different variation. Here Crusoe the issue of slavery was still present, but also the discourse on the appearance of Friday. He was quite vociferous in remarking upon Friday’s countenance and how that countenance matched or varied with the appearance of other ethnic groups. I found this to be much in keeping with the precedent set by the writings of the first explorers from Columbus onward. These men would make descriptions of the people they encountered on their journeys and made comparisons with everything from beasts to animals to mythical beings.

Last semester in my history seminar my final paper was the historical context of William Shakespeare’s Tempest, and I found many parallels with the writings of the primary texts I used to that of Defoe’s

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