Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

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Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

  1. 1. Robinson Crusoe: -Daniel Defoe Heenaba Zala Dept. of English M. K. Bhavnagar University
  2. 2. Expanding Empires: • Crusoe as an individual • A myth maker • His imagination • Crusoe as an economic man • The existence of others is for his economic advantage. • He forms a friendship with the English captain immediately upon being offered free passage on his ship.
  3. 3. • 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.
  4. 4. • “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 Novel)
  5. 5. • 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 empire. • 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.”
  6. 6. • The novel becomes prototypical of colonial novel. • It starts with ‘trade’.
  7. 7. Capitalism: • 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.
  8. 8. • an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchan ge of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals o r corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or sta te-owned means of wealth.
  9. 9. Imperialism: • 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.
  10. 10. • The policy of extending a nation's authority by territorial acquisition or by the establishment of economic and political hegemony over other nations. • The system, policies, or practices of such a government.
  11. 11. • 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 dream. • Crusoe as the ‘discoverer’ and his possessive nature • Concept of ‘Naming’ and master-slave relationship
  12. 12. • Colonialism helped capitalism to become powerful. • Paradoxical feelings for the globe • Expansion empire brings Crusoe at the centre. • Feeling of incest • Lacan’s mirror stage theory
  13. 13. Robinson Crusoe as a moral tale/ religious allegory
  14. 14. • 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 salvation.
  15. 15. • 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 glorify me.”
  16. 16. • He believes : “the words were very apt to my case.” • He also faces ‘crisis of faith’ • Crusoe fears when he sees the footprint • He calls the island ‘the island of solitude’
  17. 17. • 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 Father" (5). • 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 God assigned.
  18. 18. • 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 me" (91).
  19. 19. • 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 island.
  20. 20. • going off course at sea- spiritual drift • being a slave- being enslaved by sin • his shipwrecks- spiritual shipwreck • physical illness and recovery- spiritual disease and conversion/salvation • almost swept out to sea in canoe- danger of relying on self, not God • wild animals in Africa- human beings' depraved nature • Cannibals- human beings' depraved nature
  21. 21. • 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
  22. 22. • 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 family. • The family is symbolic of society.
  23. 23. • 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
  24. 24. • 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 wandering. • He acquires a sense of place and a sense of self. • Crusoe becomes the ‘human representative’.
  25. 25. • 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 situation. • “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 102-103).

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