This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Guilt And Shame In Some Thoughts Concerning Education And Robinson Crusoe

2265 words - 9 pages

Guilt and Shame in Some Thoughts Concerning Education and Robinson Crusoe        

 
    In Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century England, a major transition was occurring; attitudes were shifting towards a more sensibility-based perspective, in which the "warrior" mentality of earlier times was falling out of fashion, in favor of sensitive "gentlemen." Such gentlemen were expected to be morally sound, well-educated, "enlightened." Yet, despite all this, men were still expected to be masculine to be able to take control of a situation or solve a particular problem. John Locke postulated that all of this could be encouraged in young men via their education. Sadly, he found that no educational program at the time was up to the task. He argued that one of the foremost goals of education should be responsible self-government, or the ability to determine properly what to do and what not to do without an external authority commanding it. This ideal became very en vogue among sensible folk at this time many Englishmen (as well as other Europeans) wanted to be so morally upright that they need only answer to themselves. Locke, of course, had some thoughts on this, and those thoughts revolved chiefly around (of all things) shame.

Some Thoughts Concerning Education was first published by Locke in 1693. The ideas it advocated were progressive, even by today's standards. One point he makes very clear is that physical rewards and punishments (as a system of encouraging morally-correct behavior) are ineffective in raising children to be responsible, moral adults (38 - 39). As an alternative, he suggested the following:

Esteem and disgrace are, of all others, the most powerful incentives to the mind, when once it is brought to relish them. If you can once get into children a love of credit, and an apprehension of shame and disgrace, you have put into them the true principle, which will constantly work, and incline them to be right. (41)

This passage, while being very perceptive, seems to be inadequate in one crucial area; although his argument against punishments (such as beatings, etc.) is very thoroughly explained and developed, it makes one or two assumptions that Locke doesn't even attempt to support. The most glaring assumption is that we, as humans, are social creatures. Esteem and disgrace are great motivators, but only if one values others' opinions about oneself. This leads to a question about solitude: were individuals to be morally educated in the Lockian fashion, then removed from society in some manner, it is questionable as to whether or not the lessons taught would indeed "constantly work, and incline them to be right."

Without the presence of other people, it is difficult to say whether or not one would continue to feel shame for "wrong" or "bad" actions. Whether isolated by geography (a mountain-dwelling hermit, say) or by one's own mind (in the case of certain types of mental retardation or the effects of some psychoactive...

Find Another Essay On Guilt and Shame in Some Thoughts Concerning Education and Robinson Crusoe

Self-interest and Greed in Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe

1386 words - 6 pages We can be defined by our actions and they have a way of revealing our true character. Robinson Crusoe, the main character in Daniel Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe, gets himself into many troubles because of his decisions based on self-interest and greed. Robinson Crusoe thinks very highly of himself and is very conceited which plays a big roll with getting him into many misadventures. There are many instances throughout the novel where it is

Property in Second Treatise of Civil Government and Robinson Crusoe

2557 words - 10 pages Property in Second Treatise of Civil Government and Robinson Crusoe              Both John Locke's Second Treatise of Civil Government and Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe deal with the question of property. In these two texts, the following questions arise: when does common property become an individual's property; and what factors make the appropriation of property justifiable or not? These questions may be answered by looking at each

Order and Disorder in "Robinson Crusoe" by Daniel Defoe

2561 words - 10 pages that so far from being happy, the isolated natural man lived in constant fear of death. This is very true in the case of Robinson Crusoe, the entire time he is on the island his decisions are driven by his fears and in some cases his lust for power. It also depicts a man's journey of Christianity and how his faith gives him a sense of power which he pushes upon othersAt the beginning, Robinson Crusoe constantly hesitate as to whether or not he

Faith, Religion and Conflict in Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe

687 words - 3 pages The novel Robinson Crusoe was written in 1719 by Daniel Defoe in London. It can be separated into three parts that include Crusoe’s life before the shipwreck, the twenty-eight years that he was stranded on an island, and his experiences after being rescued from the island. The first section of the book is basically about how Crusoe didn’t take his father’s advice in not pursuing a life at sea. He goes out to sea anyway and at first has some

The Difference Between Guilt and Shame

908 words - 4 pages In the first chapter of the Bible, Genesis, it mentions that Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and they realized their nakedness and did not dare to face God and hid from Him. Did Adam and Eve felt guilty for their disobedience or did they feel shame for their nakedness? Guilt and shame has been such closely linked words. Both words express our sorrow in situations or towards people. However, these two words are different in many aspects

Robinson Crusoe and Modernity: Ancient Hero

2316 words - 9 pages Eva Brann writes in her article “The Unexpurgated Robinson Crusoe” that Robinson Crusoe is the archetype, a model of a new man, soon to be predominant breed – a modern man. Crusoe is a rational man, with extraordinary capabilities, a lone individual and an individual that makes a culture of one. He is every man in one: a businessman, laborer, and accountant. He is the ultimate individualist. He does everything by himself, for himself

Comparing Daniel Defoe and Robinson Crusoe

1120 words - 5 pages inspired to write Robinson Crusoe by his living conditions, income, some of their troubles, and their writing. Both Daniel Defoe and Robinson Crusoe’s living conditions varied throughout their lives. These gentlemen were both born in England defoe in London, and Crusoe in York. However Defoe was a real human being and actually went through some of the troubles that Crusoe faced. At an early age both Defoe and Crusoe had to rely on their parents for

Greed in King Lear, by William Shakespeare, and Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe

868 words - 3 pages The play, The Tragedy Of King Lear, by William Shakespeare, and the story, Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe, are very different in various ways, from the way the story was told to how the story was set. Despite how different the stories are there was one connection that particularly stood out to me, being the greed shared by most of the main characters in both stories. Goneril, Regan, and Edmund in King Lear and Robinson Crusoe in his own story

Comparison of the Transformation of Characters in Gullivers Travels and Robinson Crusoe

1420 words - 6 pages The Transformation of Characters in Gullivers Travels and Robinson Crusoe  The characters in Gullivers Travels and Robinson Crusoe are portrayed as resembling trained soldiers, being capable of clear thought during tense and troubled times. This quality possessed within Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver is a result of the author's background and knowledge. Daniel Defoe was knowledgeable and proficient in seamanship, he understood the workings

Comparing the Impact of Colonization in A Small Place, A Passage to India, and Robinson Crusoe

1105 words - 4 pages idea of British homes and the way they should appear and obviously, he was pleasantly wrong. His feelings of admiration toward British architecture can be seen on page 73 as he continues to describe Mr. Fieldings house, " 'I wish I lived here. See this beautiful room! Let us admire it together for a little.' " Again, these examples exemplify the welcoming of some aspects of British colonization. Daniel Defoe in his book, Robinson Crusoe, also

Island in Robinson Crusoe, the Coral Island and Lord of the Flies

1309 words - 5 pages Island in Robinson Crusoe, the Coral Island and Lord of the Flies Compare and Contrast the ways in which "Robinson Crusoe", "the Coral Island" and "Lord of the Flies" present and develop the experience of being marooned on a desert island. Show how the texts reflect the ideas and beliefs of its own author and the period in which it was written. In all three novels a person or a group of people are marooned on a desert/tropical

Similar Essays

Rousseau And Robinson Crusoe Essay

691 words - 3 pages for children therefore; it is easier to brainwash the child’s mind about nature and demolish the idea of a state. Robinson Crusoe is a demonstartion of how to live for people and that the knowledge has a value if it has utility. Notably, Crusoe is not a natural man like Rousseau expects children to be like but rather a man, who isolates himself from society in an island. However,what Rousseau wants is very idealistic and utopic. It is hard to

British Imperialism In Robinson Crusoe And Oroonoko

1699 words - 7 pages approach to her novel one more time. It is now a little bit more certain that Behn criticizes British imperialism. The function of the narrator is highly important since she is also a noble European woman who shares her experiences of slavery. So, it not incorrect to say that the narrator represents Behn's own thoughts. Oroonoko and Robinson Crusoe are truly different novels in terms of their representation of British imperialism. Oroonoko

Servantship In Robinson Crusoe And The Tempest

1990 words - 8 pages Literature has always been a source of exploring the world and the history of mankind. In Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, both authors use the concept of slavery, race and class. In Defoe’s story, the relationship between Crusoe and his slave, Friday, is one of mutual respect and trust. In the second selection by Shakespeare, the master-slave relationship is one that is characterized by force, violence and

Cosequences Of Shame And Guilt Essay

880 words - 4 pages Guilt and shame can tear a person's soul away. The inevitable consequence of sin is the immediate reaction of guilt, shame, and remorse. In each of the two works, The Crucible by Arthur Miller and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, there are characters who have committed a sin and feel guilty about it. For example: John Proctor, Elizabeth Proctor, and Reverend Dimmesdale have all committed a sin or sins and are feeling extremely guilty