Title: Robinson Crusoe

Author: Daniel DeFoe

Publisher: Broadview Press

Copyright: April 26, 2010

ISBN: 9781551119359 / 1551119358

Format: Paperback

Genre: Adventure

Part of a Series: No

Imagine living on an exotic island. Sound romantic? Now imagine being shipwrecked and swept away with only the sea’s currents as your guide. Imagine living on the bare minimum – with nature housing your supplies. Enter, the solitary world of Robinson Crusoe. This is a novel for the adventurous; the thrill seeker of any age. Unlike Cast Away which reeks of love for the motivation to survive, the life of Robinson Crusoe confronts the reality of coping with solitude in an unfamiliar environment with unpredicted conditions.

The story begins in 17th century England, with the majority of the tale on an unknown Caribbean island. The protagonist, Robinson Crusoe defies his father’s wishes to continue his studies, and ventures out on a merchant ship. The ship is caught on a sand barge and eventually sinks, but not before Crusoe loots the ship of useful necessities. Crusoe is washed up on the shore of an uncivilized Caribbean island. Discovering his neighbors are cannibals, he teaches himself survival skills, and constructs a castle, “When I came to my castle (for so I think I called it ever after this)… ,” which was more of an extravagant tree house – a vivid reminder of Swiss Family Robinson. After several years of solitude, sickness and fright, Crusoe becomes friends with a native cannibal who he names, “Friday.” Overtime, Crusoe teaches Friday English, and teaches him about God. Friday becomes Crusoe’s sidekick as they experience adventures and personal conflict throughout their friendship on the island.

Daniel DeFoe writes the story in a romantic first person narrative, using the powerful word, “I” as he depicts his recollections in a journal. It is only after Crusoe is stranded, that he runs out of ink and proceeds to tell the story verbally, remaining in first person. Unlike Dicken’s, Austen, or Shakespeare, DeFoe’s writing is not intimidating. DeFoe even demonstrates the broken English of Crusoe’s aboriginal friend, Friday.

Obsessed with thoughts of escape and survival, Crusoe eventually accepts his fate of forever solitude after constructing a canoe which is too large and heavy to move into the water. With all hope vanished, his concentration turns to the planting and sowing of corn, while exploring the island. Crusoe rejects the idea of ever being idle. This is a story of perseverance through hardships on a quest for survival.

Accepting his destiny, DeFoe reminds us throughout the novel, of Crusoe’s fear of never seeing another civilized human again, yet when he finds ‘a footprint’ on the sand near his castle, he begins to lose confidence in God, and compares man to the devil.

DeFoe’s novel of courage and desperation is sure to inspire even the faint of heart. I found it to be refreshing and imaginative for the era in which it was written. The 1600’s and 1700’s were filled with upheaval and experiences people would rather have forgotten. God was a blessing to many, and DeFoe’s, Robinson Crusoe, was a pleasant relief from the reality people were forced to endure. I found it to be a believable experience and would highly recommend this story to people of all ages. If I were to give it a star rating, it would be a FIVE, but that’s only because I have a thirst for the life of pirates and the Caribbean islands.

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