Compare Robinson Crusoe with the story of Jonah from the Bible. Show how the characters have similar experiences in terms of obeying God.
Many of Defoe's readers see a resemblance between the disobedient Crusoe and Biblical character Jonah. Describe the similarity by telling what happened to Jonah.
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In the story of Jonah in the Bible, God has plans for the man, and Jonah has other ideas. He does not want to do what God asks and tries to "sail away." He gets on a boat going in the opposite direction from Nineveh—where God had sent him. Soon the weather becomes dangerous, dangerously tossing the ship and its occupants in the rough waters. Jonah tells the crew that he is the cause and asks them to throw him into the sea to save themselves. They do so and Jonah is swallowed by a large fish (we often say "whale"). He is in the belly of the whale for three days. It is not until he repents and agrees to God's plan to travel to Nineveh that he is delivered from inside the fish, who "spits" him up on dry land. From there, Jonah commences on his mission for God.
In Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Crusoe also has other ideas about what he wants to do with his life. Unlike Jonah, God does not speak directly to Crusoe; however, after he is shipwrecked, looking back, he can see how terrible his life was, how cruel he was, and that God had blessed him many times and he never recognized all that he had. Even when he is marooned on the island, he is slow to see God's hand in what happens to him, much the way Jonah is slow to see God's hand in the storm that comes upon the ship because of him. Jonah is slow to admit that he his the cause of many of his problems, and this is the way Crusoe is, too.
Once Jonah turns his path in the direction that God has chosen for him, he is delivered out of harm's way. Crusoe also sees his world in a very different way once he recognizes God's hand in his life, from the moment he left England. Though he cannot, he says, be thankful for being stranded, he is thankful for all the experience has taught him, and how he has been blessed and changed.
...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.
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