In the beginning of his life his father offers him a nice middle class life. All Robinson Crusoe has to do is accept it and he will live a comfortable life without worry for money or things. Robinson however yearns for an adventurous life at sea which his parents forbid. He disregards them and runs away with a friend and hops on board a ship. After this trip he thinks about all the consequences betraying his father has brought me and refers to his leaving by talking about the “evil influence which carried me first away from my father’s house.” Mckeon comments on all this saying:
“On his first sea voyage, Robinson, in mortal fear, bitterly berates himself for “the breach of my duty to God and my Father.” Before this the narration of his early life has been relatively free of religious injunction.”
He does seem very religious when upon reaching the island after the shipwreck his first action is “to look up and thank God that my life was saved in a case wherein here was some minutes before scarce any room to hope.” However it is not long till he is boasting in himself and not the Lord for things that happen on the island. Crusoe seems to take on a kinglike mentality over the island. This mentality is brought to the forefront when he erects a cross and devotes it to himself.
After a particularly trying time on the island, where he is sick and has a hallucination of an angel threatening him for not repenting of his sins, he begins to embrace his faith and God again. After drinking some rum he comes across a verse telling him to cry out to God in times of trouble. This particular passage touches him deep inside and seems to have a lasting effect on his faith unlike earlier times in his life. He begins fervently studying the new testament of the bible every day. He begins to repent of his earlier life and all the wrongs he had committed against God and others. As Michael McKeon says in his article Defoe and the naturalization of desire: Robinson Crusoe:
“At this point, Robinson’s “load,” like that of Bunyan’s Christian, falls from his shoulders because he has learned, like Edward Coxere, to spiritualize his island prison as the prison of the world herebelow.”
In other words he is beginning to see the island as a more spiritual place were no events are random but rather happen for a reason like the earthquake, the seedlings he finds or even his illness. Nothing is pointless or without reason to him now, God is in control of all these things and events.
McKeon talks about Robinson’s thought on mobility at this time saying:
“Physical mobility is reconceived in spiritual terms, as movement both “upward” and “inward” : after his dream of the avenging angel he realizes that since leaving home he has not “one thought that so much as tended either to looking upwards toward God, or inwards towards a reflection upon my ways.”
He continues to look at his current situation as punishment for earlier sins in his life. Most of these punishments or consequences he believes are due to his committing of his “original sin.” His “original sin” is his betraying of what his father wanted which he looks back on as breaking the commandment to “honor thy mother and father.”
Mckeon goes on to discuss Robinson’s spiritual conversion and change on the island saying:
“Robinson’s island conversion depends upon a new-found ability to spiritualize his situation, to detect and interpret the signs of God’s presence in his life on the island. As he explains it, the pleasures of this presence do not only compensate for the absence of human society. They also alter his understanding of his own desires, of what it is he really wants.”
He is referring to is Robinson’s self reflection where he...