Appropriations Essay- Robinson Crusoe and Cast Away

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Topics: Robinson Crusoe
Appropriations Essay- Robinson Crusoe and Cast Away
Question: “Texts are inevitably a reflection of their particular historical, social and cultural contexts.”

Appropriation is the translation of elements of one text into another, in which the old elements are transformed to suit the responders of the new social context. Texts are inexorably a replication of their particular historical, social and cultural frameworks. Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719) and Robert Zemeckis’ film appropriation Cast Away (2000), illustrate a shift in values, attitudes and beliefs. The concepts pervading the texts include: optimism grounded in faith of a Christian God versus optimism grounded in human relationships, mastery of environment versus existential despair and isolation, unwavering belief in human technology versus awareness of limitations in technology, and human resourcefulness and ingenuity.

Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe positions its protagonist as a colonizer - a man who defies his father's incitement, instead embarking on a sea venture in the hopes of gathering significant wealth from participation in the slave trade. Lost in the Caribbean, Crusoe redirects his spirit of acquisition to transform his island, and its eventual inhabitants, into a British colony, with himself as its governor. Defoe illustrates Crusoe’s clear optimism grounded in faith of a Christian God- “I am alive…not starved…no wild beasts…But God wonderfully sent the ship on near enough to the shore...” (Page 54). Defoe makes use of a descriptive list to emphasise Crusoe’s realisation that his sanguinity is ultimately grounded in his faith of a Christian God and spiritual simplicity. Crusoe’s belief in the role of Providence in determining his faith and redemption reflects the evangelisation of ‘primitive’ cultures in 17th century Christian society context. Defoe further conveys Crusoe’s optimism grounded in faith of a Christian God through the effective use of metaphorical language in comparing

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