Study Guide

Robinson Crusoe Foreignness and 'the Other'

By Daniel Defoe

Foreignness and 'the Other'

Crusoe does a whole lot of thinking about other cultures over the course of the novel. Because he is a man of trade, he comes into contact with many, many different cultures. He must figure out his relationship to the natives of the islands. He also thinks about former occupants, such as the Spanish, whose harsh treatment he condemns. What does it mean to be an Englishman? How do Englishmen like Crusoe see themselves in relationship to "others"?

Questions About Foreignness and 'the Other'

  1. Why does Crusoe feel OK about giving up Xury to the Portuguese captain? How do you feel about that scene?
  2. Why does Crusoe rename Friday?
  3. Why does Crusoe not see Friday as his equal, even after Friday converts to Christianity?
  4. What is Crusoe's attitude toward the Spanish?
  5. Why does Crusoe decide not to kill the cannibals?
  6. Why does Friday call Crusoe "master"?
  7. Why does Friday return to England with Crusoe?

Chew on This

This book suggests that European culture is superior to other non-Western cultures.

Robinson Crusoe suggests that cultures should be regarded relatively, on their own terms.