English 2 Pre-AP/ MYP
May 20, 2013
Analysis on Daniel Defoe
A man is defined by his experiences, and his experiences are what make him himself, and his character is what drives him to action. Daniel Defoe is the author of the critically acclaimed 16th century British novel, Robinson Crusoe and its sequel, The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. Robinson Crusoe, the protagonist of both novels struggles against the force of the Almighty, fighting for his own destiny, yet struck with misfortune at every step. He becomes enslaved, shipwrecked on an island, attacked by cannibalistic savages, attacked by a pack of ravenous wolves and even marooned by his own crew. Defoe wrote this story due to the many influences that he encountered and Defoe also portrayed his ideologies of social classes and religions in his writing.
The inspiration for Robinson Crusoe came from stories of shipwrecked sailors that were abundant due to the rise in sailors during the Golden Age of Pirates. In Contemporary Authors Online, the author mentions the influence these stories had on young Defoe, a boy captivated by stories of men stranded on islands to fend for themselves. The story that most influenced him might be that of Alexander Selkirk, “A Scottish sailor who was left on an island off the coast of Chile to fend for himself from 1704 to 1709” (Contemporary 1). Although the duration of being isolated is much longer for Robinson Crusoe, the settings for both stories seem surprisingly similar. First, Alexander Selkirk was stranded on an island off the coast of Chile, a South American country. Second, Crusoe “could not tell what part of the world this might be, otherwise than that I knew it must be part of America, and as I concluded by all my observations, must be near the Spanish dominions…” (Defoe 113). Although it may not be outright obvious, the Spanish colonies in America were mostly located in South America. Crusoe and Selkirk are also on their islands by...