Synopsis: Robinson Crusoe is about the everyman, Robinson Crusoe (surprise, surprise) who is cast-away on an island (near Venezuela). There, he is alone and learns the economic art of provision from his surroundings.
“The novel rewards analysis as many things – an exotic adventure story; a study of solitary consciousness; a parable of sin, atonement, and redemption; a myth of economic individualism; a displaced or encoded autobiography; an allegory of political defeat; a prophecy of imperial expansion...”
– Introduction to Oxford World’s Classics: Robinson Crusoe
(The writer of the introduction was unspecified, or I was rather careless and missed the author’s name).
Written by Daniel Defoe in his middle-aged years, it has become one of his most famous books ever written by him. The rest seem to pale slightly in comparison, as even a layman knows the title “Robinson Crusoe” without having ever been a Lit major. At the same time, it has inspired several sequels like The Swiss Family Robinson or even video games (The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, refer to picture).
Having breezed through half the novel (I found it a more comforting read than Oranges), I have grown quite fond of this folly-able character, Robinson. Of course, the Puritan Christian themes also appeal to the Christian in me. The allegory to The Pilgrim’s Progress (another novel of Christian literature) does not look coincidental, and I believe that by subjecting Robinson Crusoe to this journey of atonement, he learns something about God and himself.
“… it occurr’d to my Mind, that I pored so much upon my Deliverance from the main Affliction, that I disregarded the Deliverance I had receiv’d… ” -Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe.
The use of mental distancing from his plight or “Affliction” has been assumed by his secular literary critics as an adjustment or perhaps spiritual adaptation to his solitary living. Skeptics, of course, say it to be just one of religiosity but personally, I think that it has real literary merit, not counting the religious themes.
What dost thou think?