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Robinson
 

Robinson

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    Robinson Robinson Presentation Transcript

    • Robinson Crusoe Myth and Archetype
    • Impact
      • Published in 1719 it was an instant, popular and financial success
      • Since then it has made a profound impression on readers as well as on whole cultures
      • It created not only a new literary form, the novel, but also a new reading public
      • It has always had an almost universal appeal thanks to a series of factors
    • Robinson's Appeal
      • He provides any reader the thrill of adventure
      • For English readers he is the typical Englishman: manly, self-reliant, courageous, heroic, and resourceful
      • He's the archetypal "personage of the last two hundred and fifty years of European consciousness" (John Richetti)
      • He is "the universal representative, the person for whom every reader could substitute himself” (Coleridge)
      • The details of his everyday life fascinate us as we watch him recreate civilization alone
      • He is the dramatization of "the inescapable solitariness of each man in his relation to God and the universe” (W. Allen)
      • He is a mythic or an archetypal figure, that is a character who speaks to something deep in the human psyche and essential to the human condition
    • Myth and Archetype
      • Robinson speaks to something deep in the human psyche and essential to the human condition
      • This is the reason why he
        • can be assimilated into diverse cultures
        • the meanings assigned him change to reflect changes in a society
        • can be given conflicting meanings
        • reaches into the private souls of individuals
      • It is these qualities that make Crusoe a mythic or an archetypal figure
      • Myths and mythologies try to rationalize and explain the universe and all that is in it
      • An archetype is
        • t he original or prototype who sets the pattern for similar beings
        • a pattern of thought or an image passed down from one
        • generation to the other
    • Many books in one
      • Adventure story
      • Moral tale and/or Puritan fable(spiritual autobiography)
      • Commercial accounting (economic treatise)
      • Fictional autobiography
      • Bildungsroman
    • Robinson the worker
    • Spiritual autobiography
      • The spiritual autobiography usually follows a common pattern:
        • the narrator sins
        • ignores God's warnings
        • hardens his heart to God
        • repents as a result of God's grace and mercy
        • experiences a soul-wrenching conversion
        • achieves salvation
      • The writer emphasizes the character's former sinfulness as a way of glorifying God; the deeper his sinfulness, the greater God's grace and mercy in saving him
      • The character reviews his life from his new perspective and writes of the present and the future with a deep sense of God's presence in his life and in the world
    • Puritanism
      • Puritanism started in 16 th century as a movement to reform the Church of England
      • It accepted the interpretations of John Calvin on
        • the nature of man
        • free will
        • predestination
        • other basic concepts
      • After the restoration of Charles II as king in 1660 it split into three major denominations
        • Presbyterian
        • Congregational
        • Baptist
      • The Puritans saw God as the awesome divinity of Old Testament His maintaining and directing everything in the universe was God's Providence
    • A few Puritan concepts
      • The concept of God's Providence is related to free will, predestination, and grace
      • God predetermines who is to be damned and elects who is to be saved
      • God is actively and directly involved in the affairs of nations and individuals.
      • The Puritans saw grace as a gift from a God; human beings were unworthy to receive salvation because of their depraved natures
      • Natural depravity refers to human nature; that is, every human being is by nature corrupt and perverted as a result of Adam and Eve's fall
      • Only God can determine who should be saved In their fallen state
      • Vocation is God's call to social, economic, civil, and religious roles or behaviour Individuals must use their talents, which come from God
    • Robinson the repentant
    • Original sin
      • Crusoe receives warnings against going to sea from his father and the captain of the first ship he sails on. In ignoring their warnings, he denies God's providential social order in the world
      • Providence might send him punishments and deliverances to awaken a sense of his sinfulness and to turn him to God
      • The duplication of dates for significant events is evidence of Providence at work. Lots of date coincide in the novel
      • Robinson uses religious language, imagery, and Biblical references
      • He converts Friday to Christianity
      • He looks at his past through the eyes of the convert who constantly sees the working of Providence
      • His conversation with his father about leaving home can be interpreted from a religious perspective
    • Robinson as economic man
      • His relationships with others are based primarily on their use for him; they are commodities who exist for his economic advantage
      • It is on the island that Crusoe discovers an economic system of value based on an item's use
      • No social pressures or laws limit Robinson's freedom to act in his own interests, so he functions with total laissez faire
      • On the island, he is the prototypical self-made man even if he relies on goods he retrieves from the ship
      • As economic man he has been specifically identified with capitalism, particularly by Marxist critics. His solitary state on the island, his limited relationships with others, including his own family, and the insignificance of sex/women reflect the nature of capitalism, which emphasizes individual self-interest
    • Robinson the capitalist
    • Other economic elements
      • Other basic capitalistic elements in the novel are
        • importance of contractual relationships,
        • economic motive,
        • drive to accumulate
        • venturing in search of economic opportunity
        • utilitarianism
        • weak connection to community and country
      • Pragmatic and individualistic outlook and rational method
        • observion
        • listing solutions
        • pros and cons
        • choosing the best
    • Robinson king of his island
    • Marx on Robinson
      • Karl Marx in Das Kapital uses Robinson Crusoe as a favourable example of the pre-capitalist man producing goods because they are useful and only as much as is useful to him and not seeking a profit
      • “ Moderate though he be, yet some few wants he has to satisfy, and must therefore do a little useful work of various sorts, such as making tools and furniture, taming goats, fishing and hunting. Of his prayers and the like we take no account, since they are a source of pleasure to him, and he looks upon them as so much recreation. In spite of the variety of his work, he knows that his labour, whatever its form, is but the activity of one and the same Robinson, and consequently, that it consists of nothing but different modes of human labour Necessity itself compels him to apportion his time accurately between his different kinds of work. Whether one kind occupies a greater space in his general activity than another, depends on the difficulties, greater or less as the case may be, to be overcome in attaining the useful effect aimed at. This our friend Robinson soon learns by experience, and having rescued a watch, ledger, and pen and ink from the wreck, commences, like a true-born Briton, to keep a set of books. His stock-book contains a list of the objects of utility that belong to him, of the operations necessary for their production; and lastly, of the labour time that definite quantities of those objects have, on an average, cost him”.
    • Economic original sin
      • He represents a modern social and economic ideal
      • his desire to venture forth and his aspirations to make more are the hallmarks of capitalism
      • Robinson's "original sin" of restlessness and disobedience can be seen as an economic motive
      • "His ‘original sin' is really the dynamic tendency of capitalism itself, whose aim is never merely to maintain the status quo , but to transform it incessantly" Ian Watt
    • Robinson the colonizer
    • Colonial vision
      • Capitalism and colonialism are closely related
      • To keep expanding, capitalism requires a cheap source of raw materials and markets for finished products, thus colonies
      • So colonialism is one form of imperialism
      • Robinson acts as a colonizer when he takes complete dominion over the island and the people. The land and all its products belong to him.
      • His actions duplicate those of nations
      • As an imperialist he sees himself as king and others as his subjects: he creates a kingdom
      • He imposes his will on others: Friday, the English mutineers
      • For James Joyce Robinson Crusoe is "prophetic forecasting English imperialism”
    • Robinson the imperialist
    • Fictional autobiography
      • Retrospective, 1 st person narration
      • Objective approach through details and memories
      • Stress on authenticity also with the use of a journal
      • Modern realism: truth should be discovered at the individual level by verification of the senses through lists, time scale, repetition
      • Description of primary qualities such as solidity, estension, number
      • Simple, concrete language
      • The book is made up of a series of episodes and adventures pf a single hero
      • The narrator is also the main character so they share the same point of view
      • Characters and actions are seen from inside
      • Complete control of time at all levels
    • Bildungsroman
      • Individual versus society
      • Relationship between private and public spheres
      • Robinson engages in the double task of self-integration and integration into society
      • He gives voice to the conflict between the priorities of self-integration and that of social integration
      • He embodies the tension between his desire and its fulfillment (thirst for adventure) and social obligation and its fulfillment (his father recommendation of accepting the middle state of life)
    • References
      • The presentation is loosely base on course material about 18 th century English novel in http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/melani/novel_18c/index.html