Seidel, Michael. “Robinson Crusoe: Varieties of Fictional Experience.” The Cambridge Companion to Daniel Defoe. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2008. 182–99. Print. A Summary of “Robinson Crusoe”
A Novel by Daniel Defoe
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The parents of Robinson Crusoe did not want their son to go to sea. His father refused to give his blessing to the venture. He did not want to be responsible for the misfortunes that would overtake him. Though his father reasoned with him and his mother scolded him, he did not obey his parents. Without their knowledge, he left his home in the city of York, made his way to Hull on the Humber, and boarded a ship sailing to London. The year was 1651. He was nineteen years old at the time. His troubles started immediately. A storm arose, and he became seasick. He wished that he had listened to his father. He prayed to God and promised Him that if he did not perish in the storm, he would never go to sea again. The storm subsided, and Robinson recovered from his seasickness. The calm sea seemed to smile at him. A sailor (the son of the master of the ship) called the storm a mere squall. He encouraged Robinson to forget it by drinking from a bowl of punch. As Robinson became inebriated, he forgot not only the storm, but also the fine resolutions that he had made. In five or six days, he won a complete victory over his conscience. Then a worse storm arose. This time even the sailors were scared. The ship was obviously going to founder. The master fired guns signaling that they needed help. A light ship sent out a boat to rescue them. The boat took Robinson and others to the nearby shore. They then made their way on foot to Yarmouth, where the people gave them lodging and enough money either to go on to London or to return to Hull. Robinson admitted that he should have returned home. Even the master of the ship advised him not to sail any more. The master himself was going to continue sailing because that was his calling in life. However, since Robinson had encountered disaster on his trial voyage, it obviously was not God's will that Robinson become a sailor. The master became even more emphatic when he learned that Robinson had gone on the sea voyage against the will of his parents. He said: "What have I done that such an unhappy wretch should come into my ship? I would not set my foot in the same ship with thee again for a thousand pounds." He warned Robinson that if he did not go back home, he would meet nothing but disasters and disappointments. In spite of the warning, Robinson went to London. He became friends with a captain and embarked with him on a voyage to Guinea. He got sick, but suffered no major calamities. He even made a tidy profit by engaging in trade. Because of his success, he decided to sail to Guinea once more. His friend the captain had died shortly after the ship returned to England. Before leaving on a second voyage to Guinea, he entrusted two thirds of his money to the care of the captain's widow. This time his ship was captured by sea rovers from Sallee in Morocco. Robinson was taken to Morocco, where he became a slave of the captain of the pirate ship. After two years, Robinson's master spent more time at fishing than piracy. Since Robinson was a good fisherman, he always went along with his master. On one fishing expedition, their boat was pulled far out to sea and they had trouble rowing back. Robinson's master decided to make improvements in the boat and stock it with provisions, so that they would be well supplied in case another such emergency occurred. Because of this, Robinson looked out for an opportunity to escape. He finally had an opportunity when he went fishing with only a Moor and a boy named Xury. Robinson saw to it that the boat had everything that he needed for an extended voyage. Then, when the boat was sufficiently far from land,...
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