Humanity: A Look at Robinson Crusoe
“Daniel Defoe achieved literary immortality when, in April 1719, he published Robinson Crusoe” (Stockton 2321). It dared to challenge the political, social, and economic status quo of his time. By depicting the utopian environment in which was created in the absence of society, Defoe criticizes the political and economic aspect of England’s society, but is also able to show the narrator’s relationship with nature in a vivid account of the personal growth and development that took place while stranded in solitude. Crusoe becomes “the universal representative, the person, for whom every reader could substitute himself” (Coleridge 2318). “Thus, Defoe persuades us to see remote islands and the solitude of the human soul. By believing fixedly in the solidity of the plot and its earthiness, he has subdued every other element to his design and has roped a whole universe into harmony” (Woolf 2303). A common theme often portrayed in literature is the individual vs. society. In the beginning of Robinson Crusoe , the narrator deals with, not society, but his family’s views on how he was bound to fail in life if his parents’ expectations of him taking the family business were not met. However, Defoe’s novel was somewhat autobiographical. “What Defoe wrote was intimately connected with the sort of life he led, with the friends and enemies he made, and with the interests of natural to a merchant and a Dissenter” (Sutherland 2). These similarities are seen throughout the novel. “My father...gave me serious and excellent counsel against what he foresaw was my design,” says Crusoe (Defoe 8-9) . Like Crusoe, Defoe also rebelled against his parents. Unlike Crusoe, however, Defoe printed many essays and papers that rebelled against the government and society, just as Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, did in England by depicting society languishing in social malaise (Marowski 231). It were these writings that eventually got Defoe charged...
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