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Robinson Crusoe Essay

1512 words - 6 pages

Robinson Crusoe, famous adventure novel, portrays the eventful life of main protagonist Robinson Crusoe. Author, Daniel Defoe depicts his diverse set of characters with purpose in Robinson Crusoe. Crusoe narrates his journey, and how he established himself with wealth. Crusoe, the youngest son of a merchant, knew he must acquire his own wealth in order to full-fill his Englishman desires. His father encourages him to study law, but Crusoe wishes to go out to the sea. His father is against Crusoe’s wishes, and explains how it is better to seek modesty in life.
Some critics argue that the tale of Crusoe is a religious journey. Daniel Defoe writes in the preface that, “this story is told with modesty, with seriousness, and with a religious application of events…” (Defoe 3). Martin Grief argues that, “the work was nevertheless composed with a moral Christian intent” (Grief 1). Although critics of Robinson Crusoe have recognized the vast diverse groups of characters presented in this novel, they have been slow to look at important motivation factors that would influence Crusoe’s actions. Bhabha claims, “The borderline work of culture demands an encounter with “newness” that is not part of the continuum of past and present. It creates a sense of the new as an insurgent act of cultural translation” (Bhabaha 938). In other words the culture must locate differences between their beliefs and customs from those of a foreign cultures. In doing so this “newness” creates a sense of insurgent acts (Bhabha). These other cultures are different, and that because these cultures are different they are automatically perceived as hostel, and ready to stand their ground. According to Roxanna Wheeler, “The savage and the Christian are the most important racialized categories between Europeans and others that help produce and maintain a sense of European superiority in North and West Africa, South America, and in the Caribbean.” (Wheeler 821). My essay aims to promote the idea that Crusoe’s cultural anxiety reflects what he deems as appropriate. Crusoe experiences multiple cultures, yet he automatically assumes his Englishman culture is the best and should be practiced by all. My essay examines the actions that Crusoe makes when dealing with Xury, Friday and his island, and exactly what motivated these decisions.
Crusoe hits his lowest point of social status when he is taken for a slave by the moore pirates. Captive Crusoe longs for nothing more than his freedom and thinks endlessly about plans of escape. When the opportunity arises for escape, Crusoe takes his chance. Xury, another slave on board, escapes with Crusoe. Crusoe recognizes the cultural differences between himself and Xury. This is only the beginning according to Homi Bhabha he say’s, “The study of world literature might be the study of the way in which cultures recognize themselves through their projections of “otherness”” (Bhabha 941). In other words a culture only recognizes themselves through the...

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