by Daniel Defoe
Robinson Crusoe Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Page Number). We used the 2008 Oxford World Classics edition.
He told me it was for men of desperate Fortunes on one Hand, or of aspiring, superior Fortunes on the other, who went abroad upon Adventures, to rise by Enterprize, and make themselves famous in Undertakings of a Nature out of the common Road; that these things were either too far above me, or too far below me; that mine was the middle state, or what might be called the upper Station of Low Life, which he had found by long Experience was 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. (6)
Crusoe's father warns him against undertaking adventures upon the sea. Why? Well, because those Crusoes are staunchly middle-of-the-road kind of folks. They're not the crème de la crème of society, nor are they part of the down and dirty rabble. Rather, they're of the middling classes, what his father claims to be "the best State in the World."
Then to see how like a King I din'd too all alone, attended by my Servants, Poll, as if he had been my Favourite, was the only Person permitted to talk to me. My Dog who was no grown very old and crazy, and had found no Species to multiply his Kind upon, sat always at my Right Hand, and two Cats, one on one Side the Table, and one on the other, expecting now and then a Bit from my Hand, as a Mark of Special Favour. (126)
Crusoe establishes a little society of his own on the island. This consists of himself and his animal friends. Notice the hierarchy that Crusoe instills in his organization of the natural world. Crusoe is the king and the animals make up his court.
It happen'd one Day about Noon going towards my Boat, I was exceedingly surpriz'd with the Print of a Man's naked Foot on the Shore, which was very plain to be seen in the Sand: I stood like one Thunder-struck, or as if I had seen an Apparition; I listen'd, I look'd round me, I could hear nothing, nor see any Thing, I went up to a rising Ground to look farther, I went up the Shore and down the Shore, but it was all one, I could see no other Impression but that one, I went to it again to see if there were any more, and to obseve if it might not be my Fancy; but there was no Room for that, for there was exactly the very Print of a Foot, Toes, Hell, and every Part of a Foot; how it came thither, I knew not, nor could in the least imagine. But after innumberable fluttering Thoughts, like a Man perfectly confus'd and out of my self, I came Home to my Fortifcation, not feeling, as we say, the Ground I went on, but terrify'd to the last Degree, looking behind me at every two or three Steps, mistaking every Bush and Tree, and fancying every Stump at a Distance to be a Man; (130)
The footprint Crusoe encounters is the first sign that he has company. Human company.