In Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, discuss Crusoe's belief that his fortune is connected with Providence.
What can be said about Crusoe's relationship with God throughout his adventures away from England? In other words, discuss Crusoe's belief that his fortune is connected with Providence.
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When Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe begins, Crusoe records that one of his great difficulties was his inability—or refusal—to see Providence (or God) in the things that happened to him from the time he left his home, against the wishes of his father. It is only over time, in adverse conditions as he looks within, that Crusoe is changed—realizing what a "brute" he was, and how God has had his hand in all of Crusoe's experiences since leaving England.
In the relating what is already past of my story, this will be the more easily believed when I shall add, that through all the variety of miseries that had to this day befallen me, I never had so much as one thought of it being the hand of God, or that it was a just punishment for my sin...or so much as a punishment for the general course of my wicked life….But I was merely thoughtless of a God or a Providence, acted like a mere brute...
Crusoe admits to his failure to see Providence when it was there…until he loses everything. When Crusoe lands on the island, he says he should have been thankful to God for rescuing him, the only survivor, but he does not. He is thrilled to be alive, but any credit to the Almighty is lost for him. In fact, he runs around, wringing his hands until he collapses.
It is true, when I got on shore first here, and found...myself spared, I was surprised with a kind of ecstasy…which...might have come up to true thankfulness; but it ended where it began...being glad I was alive, without the least reflection upon the distinguished goodness of the hand which had preserved me...
Crusoe recalls that he never appreciated what he had—such as his "station of life," didn't listen to his parents' pleas or warnings, and had no need for God in his life. He has come to see that he was wrong:
I rejected the voice of Providence, which had mercifully put me in a posture or station of life wherein I might have been happy and easy; but I would neither see it myself nor learn to know the blessing of it from my parents.
When Crusoe starts to take a close look at his life, Providence takes hold of him, helping him to see miracles—to begin with, just in his survival—even though he is alone. It is hard to be by himself, but he is happier than before, and he has been compensated for the absence of "society." He is blessed with God's presence:
I gave humble and hearty thanks that God had been pleased to discover to me that it was possible I might be more happy in this solitary condition than I should have been in the liberty of society...that He could fully make up to me the deficiencies of my solitary state, and the want of human society, by His presence...
Crusoe begins to take his shipwrecked state in stride: while he cannot admit he's glad to be in his situation, he is happy he has been able to learn how empty his former life was.
...though I could not say I thanked God for being there, yet I sincerely gave thanks to God for opening my eyes, by whatever afflicting providences, to see the former condition of my life, and to mourn for my wickedness, and repent.
In even the simplest things, Crusoe's conversion brings him to appreciate all that he has; he has become a better man, and allows that all he has comes from the hand of Providence.
I frequently sat down to meat with thankfulness, and admired the hand of God’s providence, which had thus spread my table in the wilderness.
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