Study Guide

Robinson Crusoe Quotes

  • Religion

    …I consulted neither Father or Mother any more, nor so much as sent them Word of it; but leaving them to hear of it as they might, without asking God's Blessing, or my Father's, without any Consideration of Circumstances or Consequences and in an ill Hour, God knows. On the first of <em>September</em> 1651 I went on Board a Ship bound for <em>London;</em> never any young Adventurer's Misfortunes, I believe, began sooner, or continued longer than mine. (9)

    Crusoe thumbs his nose at his family, but most importantly, he undertakes his adventures without the blessing of God. He is therefore at odds with Providence.

    In a word, as the Sea was returned to its Smoothness of Surface and settled Calmness by the Abatement of that Storm, so the Hurry of my Thoughts being over, my Fears and Apprehensions of being swallow'd up by the Sea being forgotten, and the Current of my former Desires return'd, I entirely forgot the Vows and Promises that I made in my Distress. (10)

    At the beginning of the novel, Crusoe has a tendency to call on the help of God when his life is in danger (that is, when the ocean is super stormy), and then to forget about all that religious stuff when he's sailing on smooth waters. Notice how the ever-changing sea serves as a useful metaphor for thinking about Crusoe's fickle relationship with God.

    However he afterwards talk'd very gravely to me, exhorted me to go back to my Father, not to tempt Providence to my Ruine; told me I might see a visible Hand of Heaven against me, <em>And young Man,</em> said he, <em>depend upon it, if you do not go back, where-ever you go, you will meet with nothing but Disasters and Disappointments till your Father's Words are fulfilled upon you.</em> (15)

    The curse of Crusoe's father continues, as Crusoe disobeys not only parental authority but, as the Captain implies, the authority of Providence. Crusoe, however, is determined to defy both.

    He offer'd me also 60 Pieces of Eight more for my Boy <em>Xury,</em> which I was loath to take, not that I was not willing to let the Captain have him, but I was very loath to sell the poor Boy's Liberty, who had assisted me so faithfully in procuring my own. However when I let him know my Reason, he own'd it to be just, and offer'd me this Medium, that he would give the Boy an Obligation to set him free in ten Years, if he turn'd Christian; upon this, and Xury saying he was willing to go to him, I let the Captain have him. (30)

    Crusoe may be reluctant to sell Xury into slavery, but Crusoe clearly does not regard Xury as his equal. Why does Crusoe consider himself superior to Xury? Why does Xury have to be converted to Christianity in order to escape enslavement?

    I had a dismal Prospect of my Condition, for as I was not cast away upon that Island without being driven, as is said, by a violent Storm quite out of the Course of our intended Voyage, and a great Way, <em>viz.</em> some Hundreds of Leagues out of the ordinary Course of the Trade of Mankind, I had great Reason to consider it as a Determination of Heaven, that in this desolate Place, and in this desolate Manner I should end my life; the Tears would run plentifully down my Face when I made these Reflections, and sometimes I would expostulate with my self, Why Providence should thus completely ruine its Creatures, and render them so absolutely miserable, so without Help abandon'd, so entirely depress'd, that it could hardly be rational to be thankful for such a Life. (54)

    Crusoe is in a fit of despair at his landing on the island and wonders why Providence (i.e., God) would send him to such a place. He correlates the storms on the ocean with the will of God. His life on the island will become a test of his faith.

    …also I found three very good Bibles which came to me in my Cargo from <em>England,</em> and which I had pack'd up among my things (56)

    Notice that three Bibles are among the wreckage of the ship. The Bible is hugely important for Crusoe's time on the island, as it will serve as his moral compass and means of spiritual reformation.

    In this Interval, the good Advice of my Father came to my Mind, and presently his Prediction which I mentioned at the Beginning of the Story, <em>viz. That if I did take this foolish Step, God would not bless me, and I would have Leisure hereafter to reflect upon having neglected his Counsel, when there might be none to assist in my Recovery.</em> Now, said I aloud, My dear Father's Words are come to pass: God's Justice has overtaken me, and I have none to help or hear me: I rejected the Voice of Providence, which had mercifully put me in a Posture or Station of Life, wherein I might have been happy and easy; but I would neither see it my self, or learn to know the Blessing of it from my Parents; I left them to mourn over my Folly, and now I am left to mourn under the Consequences of it: I refus'd their Help and Assistance who would have lifted me into the World, and wou'd have made every Thing easy to me, and now I have Difficulties to struggle with, too great for even Nature itself to support, and no Assistance, no Help, no Comfort, no Advice; then I cry'd out, <em>Lord be my Help, for I am in Great Distress.</em> (78)

    In the grips of the flu (or "Ague" as Crusoe calls it on page 75), Crusoe has a fever dream in which a man comes down from the heavens and admonishes him for not yet repenting, and tries to kill him with a spear. He begins to see that his past behaviors have been sinful and his miseries are punishments for his rebellious behavior. He finally repents and utters his first prayer. This is the beginning of Crusoe's spiritual life.

    Now I began to construe the Words mentioned above, <em>Call on me, and I will deliver you,</em> in a different Sense from what I had ever done before; for then I had no Notion of any thing being call'd Deliverance, but my being deliver'd from the Captivity I was in; for tho' I was indeed at large in the Place, yet the Island was certainly a Prison to me, and that in the worst Sense in the World; but now I learn'd to take it in another Sense: Now I look'd back upon my past Life with such Horrour, and my Sins appear'd so dreadful, that my Soul sought nothing of God, but Deliverance from he Load of Guilt that bore down all my Comfort: As for my solitary Life it was nothing; I did not so much as pray to be deliver'd from it, or think of it; It was all of no Consideration in Comparison to this: And I add this Part here, to hint to whoever shall read it, that whenever they come to a true Sense of things, they will find Deliverance from Sin a much greater Blessing, than Deliverance from Affliction. (83)

    Crusoe rethinks the meaning of "deliverance" in that he now realizes it's not the island that he needs to be saved from. Oh, no. It's his own sins. Paradigm shift, anyone?

    Religion joyn'd in with this Prudential, and I was convinc'd now many Ways, that I was perfectly out of my Duty, when I was laying all my bloody Schemes for the Destruction of innocent Creatures, I mean innocent as to me: As to the Crimes they were guilty of towards one another, I had nothing to do with them; they were National, and I ought to leave them to the Justice of God, who is the Governour of Nations, and knows how by National Punishments to make a just Retribution for National Offences; and to bring publick Judgments upon those who offend in a publick Manner, by such Ways as best pleases him. (146)

    After much thought Crusoe, realizes that he cannot kill the cannibals, since that would be taking up God's office. It's up to God to punish nations of people who do wrong, not an individual man. Note, however, that Crusoe does later decide to intervene in the cannibals' actions when he sees that they are ready to kill and eat a Spaniard. Why?

    During the long Time that Friday has now been with Me, and that he began to speak to me, and understand me, I was not wanting to lay a Foundation of religious Knowledge in his Mind; particularly I ask'd him one Time who made him? (182)

    Crusoe renames Friday, teaches him English, and then converts him to Christianity. Crusoe tells us that this becomes a way for Crusoe, as teacher, to better understand religion (185). The two engage in various theological debates. What is the effect, though, on Friday?

    It was remarkable too, we had but three Subjects, and they were of three different Religions. My Man <em>Friday</em> was a Protestant, his Father was a <em>Pagan</em> and a <em>Cannibal,</em> and the Spaniard was a Papist: However, I allow'd Liberty of Conscience throughout my Dominions: But this is by the Way. (203)

    Note that, though he urges Friday to convert to Christianity, Crusoe allows different religions to exist on the society of the island.

    I might well say, now indeed, the latter End of <em>Job</em> was better than the Beginning. It is impossible to express here the Flutterings of my very Heart, when I look'd over these Letters, and especially when I found all my Wealth about me; for as the <em>Brasil</em> Ships come all in Fleets, the same Ships which brought my Letters, brought my Goods; and the Effects were safe in the River before the Letters came to my Hand. (239)

    Crusoe compares himself to Job, a character from the Old Testament of the Bible. Job suffered relentlessly (plagues, loss of fortune, and all that), but he never lost his faith in God. Crusoe sees himself as a Job of sorts too, but one here who is rewarded with great wealth upon his return from the island.

  • Wealth

    He told me, I might judge of the Happiness of this State, by the one thing, <em>viz.</em> That this was the State of Life which all other People envied, that Kings have frequently lamented the miserable Consequence of being born to great things, and wish'd they had been placed in the Middle of the two Extremes, between the Mean and the Great; that the wise Man gave his Testimony to this as the just Standard of true Felicity, when he prayed to have neither Poverty or Riches. (6)

    Crusoe's father argues that it's best to have neither extreme wealth nor be in dire poverty. Instead, the moderation of the middle classes presents the happiest and most contented state of life possible in that society.

    The generous Treatment the Captain gave me, I can never enough remember; he would take nothing of me for my Passage, gave me twenty Ducats for the Leopard's Skin, and forty for the Lyon's Skin which I had in my Boat, and caused every thing I had in the Ship to be punctually deliver'd me, and what I was willing to sell he bought, such as the Case of Bottles, two of my Guns, and a Piece of the Lump of Bees-wax, for I had made Candles of the rest; in a word, I made about 220 Pieces of Eight of all my Cargo, and with this Stock I went on Shoar in the Brasils. (31)

    As a man of trade, Crusoe is very interested in the acquisition of goods and wealth. The novel often catalogues in great detail how much money he makes.

    Neither was this all; but my Goods being all <em>English</em> Manufactures, such as Cloath, Stuffs, Bays, and things particularly valuable and desirable in the Country, I found means to sell them to a very great Advantage; so that I might say, I had more than four times the Value of my first Cargo, and was now infinitely beyond my poor Neighbour, I mean in the Advancement of my Plantation; for the first thing I did, I bought me a Negro Slave, and an <em>European</em> Servant also; I mean another besides that which the Captain brought me from <em>Lisbon.</em> (33)

    Crusoe's sugar plantations in Brazil depend upon cheap labor and slave labor. The acquisition of wealth depends on the exploitation and slavery of others. This is all a part of imperialist expansion and capitalism.

    I smil'd to my self at the Sight of this Money, O Drug! Said I aloud, what art tho good for, Thou art not worth to me, no not the taking off of the Ground, one of those Knives is wroth all this Heap, I have no Manner of use for thee, e'en remain where thou art, and go the Bottom as a Creature whose Life is not worth saving.

    On the island, Crusoe realizes that whatever money he might find in the wreckage of the ship is simply worth <em>nada</em>. Wealth will mean something entirely different.

    But all I could make use of, was, All that was valuable. I had enough to eat, and to supply my Wants, and, what was all the rest to me? If I kill'd more Flesh than I could eat, the Dog must eat it, or the Vermin. If I sow'd more Corn than I could eat, it must be spoil'd. The Trees that I cut down, were lying to rot on the Ground. I could make no more use of them than for Fewel; and that I had no Occasion for, but to dress my Food. (110)

    On the island, there is no purpose in accumulating more than Crusoe can use.

    In a Word, The Nature and Experience of Things dictated to me upon just Reflection, That all the good Things of this World, are no farther good to us, than they are for our Use; and that whatever we may heap up indeed to give others, we enjoy just as much as we can use, and more. The most covetous griping Miser in the World would have been cur'd of the Vice of Covetousness, if he had been in my Case; for I possess'd infinitely more than I knew what to do with. (110)

    Crusoe realizes that there are things that should be valued for their use. He reflects and determines this to be the general state of things.

    You are to understand, that now I had, as I may call it, two Plantations in the Island; one my little Fortification or Tent, with the Wall about it under the Rock, with the Cave behind me, which by this Time I had enlarg'd into several Apartments or Caves, one within another. One of these, which was the driest, and largest, and had a Door out beyond my Wall or Fortification; that is to say, beyond where my Wall joyn'd to the Rock, was all fill'd up with the large Earthen Pots, of which I have given an Account, and with fourteen or fifteen great Baskets, which would hold five or six Bushels each, where I laid up my Stores of Provision, especially my Corn, some in the Ear cut off short from the Straw, and the other rubb'd out with my Hand. (128)

    While money has no use on the island, Crusoe still manages to accumulate things: two houses, supplies, goods, and so on.

    Well, however, I lugg'd this Money home to my Cave, and laid it up, as I had done that before, which I brought from our own Ship; but it was great Pity as I said, that the other Part of this Ship had not come to my Share; for I am satisfy'd I might have loaded my <em>Canoe</em> several Times over with Money, which if I had ever escap'd to <em>England</em>, would have lain here safe enough, till I might have come again and fetch'd it. (163)

    Though he often claims that money has no use to him, Crusoe seems oddly interested in saving the money he finds – perhaps with the hopes that he might return one day and use it.

    It is impossible to express here the Flutterings of my very Heart, when I look'd over these Letters, and especially when I found all my Wealth about me; for as the <em>Brasil</em> Ships come all in Fleets, the same Ships which brought my Letters, brought my Goods; and the Effects were safe in the River before the Letters came to my Hand. (239)

    The happy ending to this story comes when Crusoe returns to Europe and is rewarded with great wealth from those sugar plantations he had in Brazil. While he has learned a great spiritual lesson, it is with economic prosperity that he finds his reward.

    Besides this, I shard'd the Island into Parts with 'em, reserv'd to myself the Property of the whole, but gave them such Parts respectively as they agreed on; and having settled all things with them, and engaged them not to leave the Place, I left them there. (257)

    Crusoe now owns the island, which he calls, earlier in the page, his "Collony" (257). Here, he shares it with some of the inhabitants but still considers it part of <em>his</em> holdings.

  • Society and Class

    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 <em>Low Life</em>, 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, <em>Poll</em>, 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.

    I cannot explain by an possible Energy of Words, what a strange longing or hankering of Desires I felt in my Soul upon this Sight; breaking out sometimes thus; O that there had been but one or two; nay, or but one Soul sav'd out of this Ship, to have escap'd to me, that I might but have had one Companion, one Fellow-Creature to have spoken to me, and to have convers'd with! In all the Time of my solitary Life, I never felt so earnest, so strong a Desire after the Society of my Fellow-Creatures, or so deep a Regret at the want of it. (158)

    Crusoe spends many years in complete and utter isolation. His lament here – in which he desires the company of another person – would seem to suggest that man is indeed a social creature by nature.

    I have been in all my Circumstances a <em>Memento</em> to those who are touch'd with the general Plague of Mankind, whence, for ought I know, one half of their Miseries flow; I mean, that of not being satisfy'd with the Station wherein God and Nature has plac'd them; for not to look back upon my primitive Condition, and the excellent Advice of my Father, the Opposition to which, was, <em>as I may call it</em>, my ORIGINAL SIN; (164)

    For Crusoe, aspiring above his station – the middle class – drives all of his misery and misadventures. He even calls his disobedience to his father's advice his "original sin" (and with some emphasis on that term, we'd sure say).

    But I needed none of all this Precaution; for never Man had a more faithful, loving, sincere Servant, than <em>Friday</em> was to me; without Passions, Sullenness or Designs, perfectly oblig'd and engag'd; his very Affections were ty'd to me, like those of a Child to a Father; (176)

    Relieved of his isolation, Crusoe extends his society to include Friday, a native that he rescues from the clutches of the cannibals. Crusoe establishes his relationship with Friday as a paternal one. Why?

    This was the pleasantest Year of all the Life I led in this Place; <em>Friday</em> began to talk pretty well, and understand the Names of almost every Thing I had occasion to call for, and of ever Place I had to send him to, and talk'd a great deal to me; so that in short I began now to have some Use for my Tongue again, which indeed I had very little occasion for before; that is to say, <em>about Speech</em>; (180)

    What is the importance of the dialogue between Friday and Crusoe? Why is it important that he has someone to talk to?

    …I bad him go to the Tree, and bring me Word if he could see there plainly what they were doing; he did so, and came immediately back to me, and told me they might be plainly view'd there; that they were all about their Fire, eating the Flesh of one of their Prisoners; and that another lay bound upon the Sand, a little from them, which he said they would kill next, and which fir'd all the very Should within me; he told me it was not one of their Nation; but one of the bearded Men, who had told me of that came to their Country in the Boat: I was fill'd with Horror at the very naming the white-bearded Man, and going to the Tree, I saw plainly by my Glass, a white Man who lay upon the Beach of the Sea, with his Hands and his Feet ty'd , with Flags, or Things like rushes; and that he was an <em>European</em>, and had Cloaths on. (196)

    Crusoe especially hates the fact that the cannibals are about to feast on a guy like him: a European (and in "Cloaths," no less). Why might that be?

    My Island was now peopled, and I thought my self very rich in Subjects; and it was a merry Reflection which I frequently made, How like a King I look'd. First of all, the whole Country was my own meer Property; so that I had an undoubted Right of Dominion. <em>2dly</em>, My people were perfectly subjected: I was absolute Lord and Law-giver; they all owed their Lives to me, and were ready to lay down their Lives, <em>if there had been Occasion of it,</em> for me. It was remarkable too, we had but three Subjects, and they were of three different Religions. My Man <em>Friday</em> was a Protestant, his Father was a <em>Pagan</em> and a <em>Cannibal,</em> and the Spaniard was a Papist: However, I allow'd Liberty of Conscience throughout my Dominions: But this is by the Way. (203)

    Crusoe sees himself as the ruler of the small society on the island.

    In this Voyage I visited my new Collony in the Island, saw my Successors the <em>Spaniards,</em> had the whole Story of their Lives, and of the Villains I left there; (257)

    Crusoe eventually returns to the society of the island, where he attempts to improve the situation by leaving supplies and splitting the island into parts. He considers the island part of his dominion.

  • Man and the Natural World

    By this time it blew a terrible Storm indeed, and now I began to see Terror and Amazement in the Faces even of the Seamen themselves. The master, tho' vigilant to the Business of preserving the Ship, yet as he went in and out of his Cabbin by men, I could hear him softly to himself say several times, <em>Lord be merciful to us, we shall be all lost, we shall be all undone;</em> and the like. (11)

    Initially, the natural world is a terrifying place for Crusoe. The stormy sea sends him – and his shipmates – into a frenzy of fear and fright. The vicissitudes of nature often prompt Crusoe – and others – to turn to God for help. Here, the captain of the ship prays for assistance.

    I bethought my self however, that perhaps the Skin of him might one way or other be of some Value to us; and I resolved to take off hers Skin if I could. So <em>Xury</em> and I went to work with him; but <em>Xury</em> was much the better Workman at it, for I knew very ill how to do it. Indeed it took us up both the whole Day, but at last we got off the Hide of him, and spreading it on the top of our Cabbin, the Sun effectually dried it in two Days time, and it afterwards serv'd me to lye upon. (26)

    Crusoe sees the utility and thus value of the natural world – for example, the lion's hide is something that he can sleep on.

    I found also that the Island I was in was barren, and, as I saw good Reason to believe, un-inhabited, except by wild Beasts, of whom however I saw none, yet I saw Abundance of Fowls, but knew not their Kinds, neither when I kill'd them could I tell what was fit for Food, and what not; (46)

    The island is uninhabited by people. Crusoe is in complete isolation, save for the beasts around him, and thus is in a state of nature.

    At the end of this March I came to an Opening, where the Country seem'd to descend to the West, and a little Spring of fresh Water which issued out of the Side of the Hill by me, run the other Way, that is due East; and the Country appear'd so fresh, so green, so flourishing, every thing being in a constant Verdure, or Flourish of <em>Spring,</em> that it looked like a planted Garden. (85)

    Here, the lush island serves as a metaphor for the Biblical Garden of Eden.

    Accordingly I dug up a Piece of Ground as well as I could with my wooden Spade, and diving it into two Parts, I sow'd my Grain; but as I was sowing, it casually occur'd to my Thoughts, That I would not sow it all at first, because I did not know when was the proper Time for it; so I sow'd about two Thirds of the Seed, leaving about a Handful of each. (88)

    Crusoe's goal is to cultivate the land so it will yield crops for his survival. Again, the natural world is something to be developed and tended by humans.

    I descended a little on the Side of that delicious Vale, surveying it with a secret Kind of Pleasure, (tho' mixt with my other afflicting Thoughts) to think that this was all my own, that I was King and Lord of all this Country indefeasibly, and had a Right of Possession; and if I could convey it, I might have it in Inheritance, as completely as any Lord of a Mannor in England. (85)

    Though he's a (rather vulnerable, we'd say) castaway, Crusoe still sees himself as lord and proprietor of the island.

    Those who understand such Enclosures will think I had very little Contrivance, when I pitch'd upon a place very proper for all these, being a plain open Piece of Meadow-Land, or <em>Savanna,</em> (as our People call it in the Western Collonies,) which had two or three little Drills of fresh Water in it, and at one end was very woody. I say they will smile at my Forecast, when I shall tell them I began my enclosing this Piece of Ground in such a manner, that my Hedge or Pale must have been at least two Mile about. (124)

    Crusoe cultivates the land and encloses it. This is a sign of possessing or owning the land.

    Then to see how like a King I din'd too all alone, attended by my Servants, <em>Poll</em>, 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)

    Notice the hierarchy that Crusoe instills in his organization of the natural world.

    You are to understand, that now I had, as I may call it, two Plantations in the Island; one my little Fortification or Tent, with the Wall about it under the Rock, with the Cave behind me, which by this Time I had enlarg'd into several Apartments or Caves, one within another. One of these, which was the driest, and largest, and had a Door out beyond my Wall or Fortification; that is to say, beyond where my Wall joyn'd to the Rock, was all fill'd up with the large Earthen Pots, of which I have given an Account, and with fourteen or fifteen great Baskets, which would hold five or six Bushels each, where I laid up my Stores of Provision, especially my Corn, some in the Ear cut off short from the Straw, and the other rubb'd out with my Hand. (128)

    While money has no use on the island, Crusoe still accumulates things: two houses, supplies, and goods.

    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 is not alone on the island.

    My Island was now peopled, and I thought my self very rich in Subjects; and it was a merry Reflection which I frequently made, How like a King I look'd. First of all, the whole Country was my own meer Property; so that I had an undoubted Right of Dominion. <em>2dly</em>, My people were perfectly subjected: I was absolute Lord and Law-giver; they all owed their Lives to me, and were ready to lay down their Lives, <em>if there had been Occasion of it,</em> for me. It was remarkable too, we had but three Subjects, and they were of three different Religions. My Man <em>Friday</em> was a Protestant, his Father was a <em>Pagan</em> and a <em>Cannibal,</em> and the Spaniard was a Papist: However, I allow'd Liberty of Conscience throughout my Dominions: But this is by the Way. (203)

    Crusoe sees himself as the ruler of the natural order on the island.

  • Rules and Order

    Evil.
    I am cast upon a horrible desolate Island, void of all hope of Recovery.

    Good.
    But I am alive, and not drown'd as all my Ship'd Company was.

    Crusoe weighs the good and bad of his situation, attempting to put the world into some rational, moral order. Notice how he organizes his thoughts into two columns in this section.

    So I went to work; and here I must needs observe, that as Reason is the Substance and Original of the Mathematicks, so by stating and squaring every thing by Reason, and by making the most rational Judgment of things, every Man may be in time Master of every mechanick Art. (59)

    Crusoe has ultimate faith in reason and logic. His worldview is one in which the world is knowable and reason brings light to the dark corners of existence. The island starts out as a frightening place, but is soon organized and colonized. Here, he labors to make a table and chair.

    So that had my Cave been to be seen, it look'd like a general Magazine of all Necessary things, and I had every thing so ready at my Hand, that it was a great Pleasure to me to see all my Goods in such Order, and especially to find my Stock all Necessaries so great. (60)

    Crusoe keeps his world in good working order and his living space on the island is no exception. He keeps everything in its place.

    But then it presently occur'd to me, that I must keep the tame form the wild, or else they would always run wild when they grew up, and the only Way for this was to have some enclosed Piece of Ground, well fenc'd either with Hege or Pale, to keep them in so effectually, that those within might not break out, or those without break in (124)

    Crusoe splits up the island and encloses it, imposing a manmade order on the natural world.

    Then to see how like a King I din'd too all alone, attended by my Servants, <em>Poll</em>, 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)

    Notice the hierarchal order that Crusoe imposes on the natural world.

    That we did not know by what Light and Law these should be Condemn'd; but that as God was necessarily, and by the Nature of his Being, infinitely Holy and Just, so it could not be, but that if these Creatures were all sentenc'd to Absence from himself, it was on account of sinning against that Light which, as the Scripture says, was a Law to themselves, and by such Rules as their Consciences would acknowledge to be just, tho' the Foundation was not discover'd to us (177)

    Crusoe wonders why Friday and his people have not been introduced to God yet. He realizes that the rule and law of Heaven is the ultimate.

    While I was making this March, my former Thoughts returning, I began to abate my Resolution; I do not mean, that I entertain'd any Fear of their Number; for as they were naked, unarm'd Wretches, 'tis certain I was superior to them; nay, though I had been alone; but it occurr'd to my Thoughts, What Call? What Occasion? Much less, What Necessity I was in to go and dip my  Hands in Blood, to attack People, who had neither done, or intended me any Wrong? (195)

    Crusoe considers the right law and order with which to regulate the cannibals on the island. Is it necessary for him to intervene if this is merely their custom?

    My Island was now peopled, and I thought my self very rich in Subjects; and it was a merry Reflection which I frequently made, How like a King I look'd. First of all, the whole Country was my own meer Property; so that I had an undoubted Right of Dominion. <em>2dly</em>, My people were perfectly subjected: I was absolute Lord and Law-giver; they all owed their Lives to me, and were ready to lay down their Lives, <em>if there had been Occasion of it,</em> for me. It was remarkable too, we had but three Subjects, and they were of three different Religions. My Man <em>Friday</em> was a Protestant, his Father was a <em>Pagan</em> and a <em>Cannibal,</em> and the Spaniard was a Papist: However, I allow'd Liberty of Conscience throughout my Dominions: But this is by the Way. (203)

    Crusoe sees himself as the ruler of the natural order on the island.

  • Family

    My Father, a wise and grave Man, gave me serious and excellent Counsel against what he foresaw was my Design. He call'd me one Morning into his Chamber, where he was confined by the Gout, and expostulated very warmly with me upon this Subject: He ask'd me what Reasons more than a meer wandring Inclination I had for leaving my Father's House and my native Country, where I might be well introduced, and had a prospect of raising my Fortunes by Application and Industry, with a Life of Ease and Pleasure. (5-6)

    Robinson Crusoe's father is introduced right away, and with good reason. As the prodigal son, Crusoe must deny his father's advice in order to follow his own "wandring Inclination." Crusoe's relationship with his biological father can be read as an earthly version of his relationship to his spiritual father (i.e., God). We'll see Crusoe consistently denying the power and authority of God as well – at least in the first half of the novel.

    …I went on Board in an evil Hour, the 1st of <em>Sept.</em> 1659, being the same Day eight Year that I went from my Father and Mother at <em>Hull,</em> in order to act the Rebel to their Authority, and the Fool to my own interest. (36)

    Most of the poor decisions Crusoe makes in his life, he traces back to the initial rebellion against his parents – especially his father.

    It would have made a Stoick smile to have seen, me and my little Family sit down to Dinner; there was my Majesty the Prince and Lord of the whole Island; I had the Lives of all my Subjects at my absolute Command. I could hang, draw, give Liberty, and take it away, and no Rebels among my subjects. (125)

    Crusoe's family consists of his pets on the island. Notice that the structure of the family is hierarchical, with Crusoe at the head.

    I have been in all my Circumstances a <em>Memento</em> to those who are touch'd with the general Plague of Mankind, whence, for ought I know, one half of their Miseries flow; I mean, that of not being satisfy'd with the Station wherein God and Nature has plac'd them; for not to look back upon my primitive Condition, and the excellent Advice of my Father, the Opposition to which, was, <em>as I may call it</em>, my ORIGINAL SIN; (164)

    For Crusoe, defying the advice of his father is the source of his miseries. He even calls it his "original sin" (in all caps, no less).

    But I needed none of all this Precaution; for never Man had a more faithful, loving, sincere Servant, than <em>Friday</em> was to me; without Passions, Sullenness or Designs, perfectly oblig'd and engag'd; his very Affections were ty'd to me, like those of a Child to a Father; (176)

    Crusoe establishes his relationship with Friday as a paternal one. Why?

    This was the pleasantest Year of all the Life I led in this Place; <em>Friday</em> began to talk pretty well, and understand the Names of almost every Thing I had occasion to call for, and of ever Place I had to send him to, and talk'd a great deal to me; so that in short I bgan now to have some Use for my Tongue again, which indeed I had very little occasion for before; that is to say, <em>about Speech</em>; (180)

    Crusoe expands his "family" to include Friday. How would you characterize their relationship?

    When <em>Friday</em> came to him, I bad him speak to him, and tell him of his Deliverance, and pulling out my Bottle, made him give the poor Wretch a Dram, which, with the News of his being deliver'd, reviv'd him, and he sat up in the Boat; but when Friday came to hear him speak, and look in his Face, it would have mov'd any one to Tears, to have seen how <em>Friday</em> kiss'd him, embrac'd him, hugg'd him, cry'd, laugh'd, hollow'd, jump'd about, danc'd, sung, then cry'd again, wrung his Hands, beat his own Face, and Head, and then sung, and jump'd about again, like a distracted Creature: It was a good while before I could make him speak to me, or tell me what was the Matter, but when he came a little to himself, he told me, that it was his Father. (200)

    We meet Friday's father, who soon becomes part of Crusoe's family. But how has Friday's own family changed now?

    He had been with us now about a Month; during which time, I had let him see in what Manner I had provided, with the Assistance of Providence, for my Support; and he saw evidently what Stock of Corn and Rice I had laid up; which as it was more than sufficient for my self, so it was not sufficient, at least without good Husbandry, for my Family; now it was encreas'd to Number four: (207)

    Crusoe's family grows and soon includes Crusoe, Friday, Friday's father, and the Spaniard.

    I went down afterwards into <em>Yorkshire;</em> but my Father was dead, and my Mother, and all the Family extinct, except that I found two Sisters, and two of the Children of one of my Brothers; and as I had been long ago given over for dead, there had been no Provision made for me; (234)

    Crusoe finds himself the last of his line.

    In the mean time, I in Part settled my self here; for first of all I marry'd, and that not either to my Disadvantage or Dissatisfaction, and has three Children, two Sons and one Daughter: But my Wife dying, and my Nephew coming Home with good Success from a Voyage to Spain, my Inclination to go Abroad, and his Importunity prevailed and engag'd me to go in his Ship, as a private Trader to the East Indies: This was in the Year 1694. (257)

    Notice that Crusoe's marital and family life back on land only gets about a paragraph of description. Why do you think that is?

  • Foreignness and 'the Other'

    By the best of my Calculation, that Place where I now was, must be that Country, which lying between the Emperor of <em>Morocco's</em> Dominions and the <em>Negro's,</em> lies wast and uninhabited, except by wild Beasts; the <em>Negroes</em> having abandon'd it and gone farther South for fear of the <em>Moors;</em> and the <em>Moors</em> not thinking it worth inhabiting by reason of its Barrenness; and indeed both forsaking it because of the prodigious Numbers of Tygers, Lyons, Leopards and other furious Creatures which harbour there; (25)

    Because of his role in trade, Crusoe comes into contact with many other foreign cultures.

    I could not tell what Part of the World this might be, otherwise than that I know it must be Part of <em>America</em>, and as I concluded by all my Observations, must be near the <em>Spanish</em> Dominions, and perhaps was all Inhabited by Savages, where if I should have landed, I had been in a worse Condition than I was now; and therefore I acquiesced in the Dispositions of Providence, which I began now to own, and to believe, order'd every Thing for the best; (93)

    Crusoe finds himself very far from England. In fact, he's near savages.

    Besides, after some Pause upon this Affair, I consider'd, that if this Land was the <em>Spanish</em> Coast, I should certainly, one Time or other, see some Vessel pass or re-pass one Way or other; but if not, then it was the <em>Savaage</em> Coast between the <em>Spanish</em> Country and <em>Brasials,</em> which are indeed the worst of <em>Savages;</em> for they are Cannibals, or Man-eaters, and fail not to murther and devour all the humane Bodies that fall into their Hands. (93)

    Completely disoriented, Crusoe finds himself amidst savages.

    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 innumerable fluttering Thoughts, like a Man perfectly confus'd and out of my self, I came Home to my Fortification, 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's not actually alone on the island.

    …and this I must observe with Grief too, that the Discompusure of my Mind had too great Impression also upon the religious Part of my Thoughts, for the Dread and Terror of falling into the Hands of Savages and Canibals, lay so upon my Spirits, that I seldom found my self in a due Temper for Application to my Maker, at least not with the sedate Calmness and Resgination of Soul which I was wont to do; (138)

    Crusoe fears the cannibals.  As do we.

    That this would justify the Conduct of the <em>Spaniards</em> in all their Barbarities practis'd in <em>America</em>, and where they destory'd Millions of these People, who however they were Idolaters and Barbarians, and had several bloody and barbarous Rites in their Customs, such as sacrificing human Bodies to the Idols, were yet, as to the <em>Spaniards,</em> very innocent People; and that the rooting them out of the Country, is spoken of with the utmost Abhorrence and Detestation, by even the <em>Spaniards</em> themselves, at this Time; and by all other Christian Nations of <em>Europe,</em> as a meer Butchery, a bloody and unnatural Piece of Cruelty, unjustifiable either to God or Man; and such, as for which the very name of <em>Spaniard</em> is reckon'd to be frightful and terrible to all People of Humanity, or of Christian Compassion: As if the Kingdom of <em>Spain</em> were particularly Eminent for the Product of a Race of Men, who were without Principles of Tenderness, or the common Bowels of Pity to the Miserable, which is reckon'd to be a Mark of generous Temper in the Mind. (145)

    Crusoe critiques the Spanish conquest of the Americas in all of its barbarity – how is his colonization of the island different? That is, what makes him different from the Spaniards?

    When these Thoughts were over, my Head was for some time taken up in considering the Nature of these wretched Creatures; I mean, the Savages; and how it came to pass in the World, that the wise Governour of all Things should give up any of his Creatures to such Inhumanity; (166)

    Crusoe considers the cannibals to be "savages" and wonders how they have escaped God's grace.

    It seem'd evident to me, that the Visits which they thus make to this Island, are not very frequent; for it was above fifteen Months before any more of them came on Shore there again; that is to say, I neither saw them, or any Footsteps, or Signals of them, in all that Time; for as to the rainy Seasons, then they are sure not to come abroad, at least not so far; yet all this while I liv'd uncomfortably, by reason of the constant Apprehensions I was in of their coming up on me by Surprize; from whence I observe, that the Expectation of Evil is more bitter than the Suffering, especially if there is no room to shake off that Expectation, or Apprehensions. (155)

    The cannibals are the first group of people Crusoe encounters on the island and his reaction is – totally understandably – fear.  That sounds like no warm welcome to us.

    He was a comely handsome Fellow, perfectly well made; with straight strong Limbs, not too large; tall and well shap'd, and as I reckon, about twenty six Years of Age. He had a very good Countenance, not a fierce and surly Aspect; but seem'd to have something very manly in his Face, and yet he had all the Sweetness and Softness of an <em>European</em> in his Countenance too, especially when he smil'd. His Hair was long and black, not curl'd like Wool; his Forehaed very high, and large, and a great Viviacity and sparkling Sharpness in his Eyes. The Coulour of his Skin was not quite black, but very tawny; and yet not of an ugly yellow nauseous tawny, as the <em>Brasilians,</em>  and  <em>Virginias,</em>  and other Natives of <em>America</em> are; but of bright kind of a dun olive Colour, that had in it something very agreeable; tho' not very easy to describe. (173)

    Note the intense, highly-detailed description Crusoe gives of Friday's body. He watches him while he is sleeping.

    But I needed none of all this Precaution; for never Man had a more faithful, loving, sincere Servant, than <em>Friday</em> was to me; without Passions, Sullenness or Designs, perfectly oblig'd and engag'd; his very Affections were ty'd to me, like those of a Child to a Father; and I dare say, he would have sacrific'd his Life for the saving mine, upon an y occasion whatsoever; the many Testimonies he gave me of this, put it out of doubt, and soon convinc'd me, that I needed to use no Precautions, as to my Safety on his Account. (176)

    Friday is posited as Crusoe's child and servant, with no passions or designs of his own.

    …I bade him go to the Tree, and bring me Word if he could see there plainly what they were doing; he did so, and came immediately back to me, and told me they might be plainly view'd there; that they were all about their Fire, eating the Flesh of one of their Prisoners; and that another lay bound upon the Sand, a little from them, which he said they would kill next, and which fir'd all the very Sould within me; he told me it was not one of their Nation; but one of the bearded Men, who had told me of that came to their Country in the Boat: I was fill'd with Horror at the very naming the white-bearded Man, and going to the Tree, I saw plainly by my Glass, a white Man who lay upon the Beach of the Sea, with his Hands and his Feet ty'd , with Flags, or Things like rushes; and that he was an <em>European</em>, and had Cloaths on. (196)

    Crusoe is especially fired up by the fact that they are about to feast on one like him: a European. Why might this be?

    But never was a Fight manag'd so hardily, and in such a surprising Manner, as that which follow'd between <em>Friday</em> and the Bear, which gave us all (thought at first we were surpriz'd and afraid for him) the greatest Diversion imaginable: (246)

    Friday returns to Europe with Crusoe. Why? And why is he fighting a bear here? Why doesn't anyone else in the party take up with the bear? And why is it diverting to Crusoe?

  • Slavery

    The Usage I had there was not so dreadful as at first I apprehended, nor was I carried up the Country to the Emperor's Court, as the rest of our Men were, but was kept by the Captain of the Rover, as his proper Prize, and made his slave, being young and nimble, and fit for his Business. At this surprising Change of my Circumstances from a Merchant to a miserable Slave, I was perfectly overwhelmed; and now I look'd back upon my Father's prophetic Discourse to me, that I should be miserable, and have none to relieve me, which I thought was now so effectually brought to pass, that it could not be worse; that the Hand of Heaven had overtaken me, and I was undone without Redemption. (18)

    Before landing on the island, Crusoe is made a slave and recognizes slavery as the lowest condition imaginable for a Christian such as himself.

    Here I meditated nothing but my Escape, and what Method I might take to effect it, but found no Way that had the least Probability in it: Nothing presented to make the Supposition of it rational; for I had no body to communicate it to, that would embark with me; no Fellow-Slave, no <em>Englishman, Irishman,</em> or <em>Scotsman</em> there but myself; (18)

    Crusoe is alone in his slavery and servitude, contemplating escape.

    He offer'd me also 60 Pieces of Eight more for my Boy <em>Xury,</em> which I was loath to take, not that I was not willing to let the Captain have him, but I was very loath to sell the poor Boy's Liberty, who had assisted me so faithfully in procuring my own. (30)

    Crusoe doesn't actually sell Xury to the Captain, but instead they strike a bargain. Xury is to be kept in indentured servitude for ten years, and if he converts to Christianity, he will be set free.  We kind of wonder if the Captain keeps his word there.

    …so that I might say, I had more than four times the Value of my first Cargo, and was now infinitely beyond my poor Neighbour, I mean in the Advancement of my Plantation; for the first thing I did, I bought me a Negro Slave, and an <em>European</em> Servant also; I mean another besides that which the Captain brought me from <em>Lisbon.</em> (33)

    Crusoe buys a "Negro Slave" for the maintenance of his plantation. Note, however, that the "European" in his service is not referred to as a slave, but as a servant. Another example of Eurocentrism at work.

    …and after enjoining me Secrecy, they told me, that they had a mind to fit out a Ship to go to <em>Guinea</em>, that they had all the Plantations as well as I, and were straiten'd for nothing so much as Servants; that as it was a Trade that could not be carried on, because they could not publickly sell the <em>Negroes</em> when they came home, so they desired to make but one Voyage to bring the <em>Negroes</em> on Shoar privately, and divide them among their own Plantations; and in a Word, the Question was, wehter I wold go their Super-Cargo in the Ship to manage the Trading Part upon the Coast of <em>Guinea?</em> And they offer'd me that I should have my equal Share of <em>Negroes</em> without providing any Part of the Stock. (35)

    A group of merchants and planters ask Crusoe to take part in a scheme in which he is sent to Guinea to collect slave labor. In return, he'll get his own share of slaves. Crusoe later refers to it as a "fair proposal" (35). Crusoe's wealth in Brazil is dependent on this kind of labor.

    …in a little Time I began to speak to him, and teach him to speak to me; and first, I made him know his Name should be <em>Friday,</em> which was the Day I sav'd his Life; I call'd him so for the Memory of the Time; I likewise taught him to say <em>Master,</em> and then let him know, that was to be my Name; (174)

    Though Crusoe doesn't technically buy Friday, he does take complete possession of the man. The practice of slavery often involved replacing native names with Christian ones. (A great example is in the movie <em>Roots</em>.)  Why do you think renaming might be an effective strategy for ensuring submission? Also, why does Crusoe have Friday call him "Master"?