Dept. of English
M. K. Bhavnagar University
• Crusoe as an individual
• A myth maker
• His imagination
• Crusoe as an economic man
• The existence of others is for his economic
• He forms a friendship with the English captain
immediately upon being offered free passage
on his ship.
• Despite Xury's bravery and loyalty, Crusoe sells
him back into slavery.
• He regrets the loss of Xury twice, as a worker
both on his Brazil plantation and on the island.
• On the island no social pressures or laws limit
Crusoe's freedom to act in his own interests.
• As economic man, Crusoe has been
specifically identified with capitalism.
• “tended to diminish the importance of
personal as well as group relationships, and
especially of those based on sex; for sex, as
Weber pointed out, being one of the strongest
non-rational factors in human life, is one of
the strongest potential menaces to the
individual's rational pursuit of economic
ends...” (Ian Watt, The Rise of the Modern
• 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.
• The novel becomes the narrative of ‘master’.
• Crusoe is mainly interested in expanding his
• Edward Said: Robinson Crusoe “as a work
whose protagonist is the founder of the new
world, which he rules and reclaims for
Christianity and England.”
• The novel becomes prototypical of colonial
• It starts with ‘trade’.
• Capitalism is a social system based on the
principle of individual rights. Politically, it is
the system of laissez-faire (freedom). Legally it
is a system of objective laws (rule of law as
opposed to rule of man). Economically, when
such freedom is applied to the sphere of
production its’ result is the free-market.
• an economic
system in which investment in and ownership
means of production, distribution, and exchan
ge of wealth is made
and maintained chiefly by private individuals o
especially as contrasted to cooperatively or sta
te-owned means of wealth.
• Imperialism is the political, economic, military, or other
domination of one country or culture by another.
Imperialism has existed throughout recorded human
history and typically involves economic transfer of
wealth from the dominated country to the dominator,
either in the form of tribute or favorable terms for the
transfer of natural resources, use of territory (such as
ports), taxes, and other means. The term is especially
applied to the European domination of Africa following
the Berlin Conference of 1885, and was an outgrowth
of earlier policies of mercantilism and colonialism.
During the period of European imperialism,
practitioners of it sought to justify their behavior
through theories like Social Darwinism and beliefs in a
civilizing mission, dubbed the "White Man's Burden,"
behind European global dominance.
• The policy of extending a nation's authority by
territorial acquisition or by the establishment
of economic and political hegemony over
• The system, policies, or practices of such a
• Crusoe-Friday relationship
• Influence of empire
• Crusoe’s self-image and individualism
• Racialised relations
• Reality v/s mythologizing of colonialism
• Crusoe’s power is fantasy. It is like a day
• Crusoe as the ‘discoverer’ and his possessive
• Concept of ‘Naming’ and master-slave
• Colonialism helped capitalism to become
• Paradoxical feelings for the globe
• Expansion empire brings Crusoe at the centre.
• Feeling of incest
• Lacan’s mirror stage theory
Robinson Crusoe as a moral tale/
• Didactic – which means “intended to give
instruction” – moral, religious or philosophical
• Religion and self-discovery
• The restlessness of the spirit
• God’s presence
• Conflict between good and evil and the
relationship with God
• 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, and achieves
• The writer emphasizes his former sinfulness as
a way of glorifying God; the deeper his
sinfulness, the greater God's grace and mercy
in electing to save him. He reviews his life
from the new perspective his conversion has
given him and writes of the present and the
future with a deep sense of God's presence in
his life and in the world.
• When Crusoe opens The Bible randomly he
reads the line: “Call on me in the Day of
trouble, and I will deliver, and thou shalt
• He believes : “the words were very apt to my
• He also faces ‘crisis of faith’
• Crusoe fears when he sees the footprint
• He calls the island ‘the island of solitude’
• Original sin: Crusoe comments: "...my
conscience, which was not yet come to the
pitch of hardness to which it has been since,
reproached me with the contempt of advice
and the breach of my duty to God and my
• In the Puritan family structure, the father was
regarded as God's deputy; in rejecting his
father's advice, Crusoe is committing Adam
and Eve's sin of disobedience. For Crusoe, as
for Adam, and Eve, disobedience grows out of
restlessness and discontent with the station
• Crusoe converts Friday into Christian.
• Is it called the original sin? Or he is trying to
save the soul of Friday.
• Crusoe finds the rational reason of his
miraculous growth and loses faith in God.
• He turns to the Bible.
• "Lord be my help, for I am in great distress"
(88). After thinking about his life, he kneels to
God for the first time in his life and prays to
God to fulfill his promise "that if I called upon
Him in the day of toruble, He would deliver
• His next step toward conversion is asking for
God's grace, "Jesus, Thou Son of David, Jesus,
Thou exalted Prince and Saviour, give me
repentance!" (93). He comes to realize that
spiritual deliverance from sin is more
important than physical deliverance from the
• going off course at sea- spiritual drift
• being a slave- being enslaved by sin
• his shipwrecks- spiritual shipwreck
• physical illness and recovery- spiritual disease
• almost swept out to sea in canoe- danger of
relying on self, not God
• wild animals in Africa- human beings'
• Cannibals- human beings' depraved nature
• Crusoe's struggles in ocean and being cast
ashore- rebirth/start of new life
• Crusoe alone on island- man alone in
relationship with God
• seeds of barley and rice sprouting- seeds of
grace stirring in Crusoe
• finally succeeding in making an earthen pot-
finally achieving religious conversion (He
refers to himself as a serviceable pot.)
• goatskin clothes- armor of faith
• Crusoe's impregnable, extensive fortifications-
the invulnability of the true Christian
• Individual v/s society
• Defoe deals with the growth and development
of individual in solitude.
• He tried to create the utopian environment in
the absence of society.
• Crusoe becomes ‘everyman’ and readers see
the solitude of a human soul.
• When the novel begins the narrator deals with
• The family is symbolic of society.
• Crusoe becomes the king, the lord, the master,
the emperor etc…
• Crusoe becomes the creator of the world, his
own world. He creates a sovereign state.
• The image of a perfect society but that is in
the absence of people. (irony)
• Defoe believes in religious, political and social
freedom of every individual.
• Divinity in isolation
• Crusoe faces fear and reality
• In Hawthorne’s words “Crusoe becomes the
epitome of man’s contest with nature and
final victory over nature.
• The novel is the narrative of spiritual and
emotional growth within the ‘self’.
• Crusoe realizes that he is self-dependent.
• By living on the island Crusoe has to stop
• He acquires a sense of place and a sense of
• Crusoe becomes the ‘human representative’.
• Aristotle: the man “who is unable to live in
society, or has no need because he is sufficient
for himself, must be either a beast or a god”.
• The novel helps readers to develop an
optimistic outlook towards an unfortunate
• “Crusoe finds the power to overcome a hostile
world of hunger and sickness, and human
brutality, even the power to overcome his
most dangerous adversary, himself”(Hunter