Robinson Crusoe is in its entirety an odd novel; in fact it can be seen to go against the form of a novel as journal entries are interspersed with the descriptive narrative. However throughout the reading of the novel I was never comfortable, and to some extent was nervy and edge throughout. Clearly this was not to do with the suspense that Defoe creates because in my opinion there is none. The very fact that the novel is a retrospective first person narrative quells such suspense as a reader because you are always aware that Crusoe survives to tell his tale. This uncomfortable feeling must have been created through Defoe’s writing style and thus I have compiled this list to highlight this point:
The Frontispiece - this is notably the first impression of any novel, giving the title, author and publication information. However in this instance Defoe sought an opportunity to summarise the novel. In doing so he surmises some strange utterances as he declares the novel is ‘The life and strange surprising adventures…’ Why did Defoe feel it necessary to use this form of sibilance in describing Crusoe’s adventures? In fact the truths that Defoe reveals in this frontispiece go some way towards telling the most important facts of the story and thus ruin it; leaving the novel devoid of any suspense or tension. The fear that the reader would have felt towards Crusoe during the storm and subsequent shipwreck is diminished, as the reader is informed prior to the first word of the actual novel that Crusoe is going to spend ‘eight and twenty years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island.’ Similarly this ruins the ending of the novel as the reader is aware formerly that Crusoe is saved from the island and secondly that this will occur in the twenty – eighth year. The omission of Defoe’s name as the author and the statement reading ‘written by himself’ is baffling as it insinuates that the author was Crusoe himself. Is the reader supposed to believe that Crusoe... [continues]
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