Is Robinson Crusoe a picaresque novel?

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A picaresque novel is one that is a reaction and counterpart to works that revolved around knights and strict adherence to the code of chivalry. Typically, a picaresque work concerns a protagonist of flexible and situational morality that uses their wits to overcome adversity. These heroes did not put a value on hard work and doing things the "right" way, and operated with a method that was based on results rather than on virtue.

While Crusoe certainly seems to be of a gray morality in hindsight, he could hardly be considered to be a picaresque hero of his time. First and foremost, picaresque heroes are almost always shown to come from very meager means, as it is a desire for often myopic financial gain that typically motivates them. Crusoe leaves a very comfortable life to go adventuring just for the sake of adventure, a prospect that heroes of the picaresque sentiment would no doubt find foolish, naive, and futile.

Crusoe's relationship with Christianity further disqualifies him from...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 21, 2020