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Robinson Crusoe Essay

1767 words - 7 pages

Reach Out and Touch Faith, The Questioning of Faith in Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe
The enlightenment period was a time of vast change among the greater population of England. This once torn nation divided by the split in religions, and the roulette wheel of monarchs and kings has finally slowed. England was once again becoming a unified front and was at the forefront of the changing civilization. Laws were changing, people were gaining new rights, and power of free choice. Women could now have a say in matters. Access to knowledge and literature was becoming more abundant and the world was growing as new cultures were being discovered in far off lands. As Dorinda Outram explains in Panorama of the Enlightenment she proclaims that “the Enlightenment may equally be seen as a world drama of cross cultural contact, a consequence for both Europeans and indigenous peoples” (Outram 130). Yet the true nature of people was still to be tested. All across England, people were beginning to question their faith in the Christian Church. The idea of remaining faithful to one religion was changing, “Religious conversion. Which was essentially irrational, was almost a parody of enlightenment” (Outram 182). People were swapping religions as often as they awoke for the day. England’s population began looking to the advances in science and medicine as explanations for these once miracles. Great scientists were discovering theories of relativity and the idea of gravity and the universe as the days flipped by. Though many people “paid little attention to disseminating scientific knowledge” (Outram 241), the facts was that it was there. With the idea of faith in a higher power collapsing with each turning year, the people began to look to other sources for answers. This had an adverse effect on the writers of this time period as well. In Robinson Crusoe, Defoe’s historical truth he confronts the idea of faith in a higher power, how that faith can be tested through experiences, and how faith can’t ultimately be lost.
Defoe uses clear-cut examples in Robinson Crusoe to show the representation of the Christian Church throughout this work. He uses clear representations that any person of this time period could connect with their faith. An early example can be seen with Defoe telling of Crusoe erecting a cross on the island. This is of course the most recognizable image within the Christian faith, and stands true with most other faiths as well. Though this may only be a way for the character [Crusoe] to keep track of the days he is stranded on this island, it has an underlying meaning. As Christopher Hill describes in his look at Robinson Crusoe, “Crusoe’s attempt to honor the Sabbath day by notching sticks” (Hill 9). This is a clear representation of the faith that Crusoe has in god, and how he shares this with the people of this time period. The actions that Crusoe takes are much of that of the people of England who have had tragic events happen to them. They...

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