Study Guide

Xury in Robinson Crusoe

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Xury is the young boy with whom Crusoe escapes from captivity in Africa. The friendship between the two is a forerunner to Crusoe's relationship with Friday on the island. One of the most important points about Crusoe's encounter with Xury is the power dynamic between the two. As a non-white European, Xury is always assumed to be subordinate to Crusoe. We can see this when Crusoe "gives" Xury to the Portuguese sea captain:

He offer'd me also 60 Pieces of Eight more for my Boy Xury, 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 then be set free. We have to wonder what Xury thinks of all this. We think it's a pretty raw deal.

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