Robinson Crusoe Essay

July 16, 2021 by Essay Writer

Updated: Jan 4th, 2019

Robinson Crusoe can be viewed as a classical example of the eighteenth century novel because of the themes that the author explores and the form that this literary work takes. In particular, one can argue that Daniel Defoe explores such issues as individualism and the role of Protestantism in the life of a person.

Furthermore, the writer prefers realistic description of the main character. Moreover, this novel is presented in the form of autobiography which is also a characteristic of the eighteenth century literature. Furthermore, one can say that this book is a powerful story of a person who is forced to display his best qualities in order to survive.

First, it should be mention that this novel emphasizes the importance of individualism and self-sufficiency of a person. At the beginning, the protagonist dreads the idea of being completely isolated from the rest of the world. However, later he is able to reconcile himself with this thought.

He says, “it was possible I might be more happy in this solitary condition than I should have been in a liberty of society, and in all the pleasures of the world” (Defoe 20). To a great extent, this situation gives him an opportunity to discover some of his best qualities. Moreover, this work throws light on several principles of Protestantism. First of all, one should mention that this movement rejects the idea of luxury and sensuality.

In turn, Robinson Crusoe also mentions the things that he does not need, namely, “pride, ambition, avarice, and luxury” (Defoe 200). Moreover, labor is essential for the protagonist because it enables him to retain his humanity. To some degree, this is an example of Protestant work ethics.

Furthermore, it is important to focus the way in which Daniel Defoe describes the events of the novel. One can say that he prefers the tradition of realism which only began to emerge in the eighteenth century.

For example, the author provides very detailed description of Crusoe’s attempts to sustain himself on the desolate island. In particular, the readers can see how difficult it is for the protagonist to construct a boat or grow food. In this way, the author wants to show that individualism is closely related to painstaking labor and hardships.

Finally, much attention should be paid to the form of this novel. It has the elements of an autobiography as well as diary. Such literary technique was very widespread in the eighteenth century. Robinson Crusoe can be regarded as one of epistolary novels along with such works as Clarissa and Pamela written by Samuel Richardson (Spacks 107).

This approach enables the writer to explore the inner world of the main characters. Yet, Robinson Crusoe differs from these novels, because unlike other authors, Daniel Defoe pays much more attention to the realistic description of the main events. These are the main aspects that can be identified.

Although, Robinson Crusoe has the characteristics of a conventional eighteenth century novel, this works produces a power impression of the readers. By looking at a person, who is left to his own device, Defoe is able to create a powerful story of hardship and struggle. This novel explores such issues as individuality and religion and it shows how the values of the eighteenth century people were shaped. Overall, this novel provides a realistic description of a person’s struggle at the time of difficulty.

Works Cited

Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe, London: Windmill Books, 2009. Print.

Spacks, Patricia. Novel Beginnings: Experiments in Eighteenth-century English Fiction, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006. Print.




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