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The writer reflects society when he portays black natives as savages.Explain

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teardrop | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 7, 2009 at 7:54 AM via web

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The writer reflects society when he portays black natives as savages.Explain

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 7, 2009 at 8:06 AM (Answer #1)

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Daniel Defoe wrote "Robinson Crusoe" in 1719.  At that point, just about all European societies were deeply racist.  Because of this, when Defoe portrays black natives as savages, he is simply going along with a view of non-whites that would have been held by practically every person who read the book.

Remember, in 1719, slavery was legal and common in the British Empire.  The same was true of the French Empire (what's now Haiti, for example) the Spanish Empire (Cuba, for example) and the Portuguese Empire (Brazil).  The fact that slavery existed reflected and added to the perception that all non-whites (and blacks especially) were simply inferior to whites.

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