Study Guide

Robinson Crusoe Family

By Daniel Defoe


The idea of the family is a central preoccupation in Robinson Crusoe. Crusoe must sort out his relationship to his biological father, of course, and his spiritual father (God). His defiance of his father is one that will haunt him until his eventual repentance, atonement, and conversion to Christianity. Once on the island, Crusoe must learn how to manage his little family – Friday and friends. Upon his return to England, we notice that he takes a wife, though her presence in the book is very limited.

Questions About Family

  1. Why doesn't Crusoe's father want him to go to sea?
  2. Who is Crusoe's family on the island?
  3. Would you say that Crusoe and Friday have a father-son relationship?  Why or why not?
  4. What is the relationship between Friday and Friday's father?
  5. Why, in the end, does Robinson Crusoe get married? Is it significant that his wife is only mentioned in one sentence?

Chew on This

Robinson Crusoe argues that parents should always be obeyed.

The novel argues that disobedience to the family is an important part of life and part of establishing one's identity.