Explain how Robinson Crusoe's father believes his son to be in a "middle state," in Defoe's story, Robinson Crusoe.
Explain how Crusoe's father believes his son to be in a "middle state." According to Robinson's father, why precisely does being in this "middle state" make a sailing life foolish?
In Daniel Defoe's novel, Robinson Crusoe, Crusoe's father refers to his son as being in a "middle state." This generally relates to what is common (as his father sees it) among adventurers in general, based on their financial position in life.
His father says that it is men of "desperate fortunes" who go on adventures such as Crusoe plans, or men of "of aspiring superior fortunes," who hoped to improve their lot in life. Following an uncommon path, these men hope to become famous. Crusoe's father then tells Crusoe that Crusoe doesn't fit in either of these categories. They were either "too far above" him, or "too far below." He labels Crusoe's position as "middle states." Crusoe's father explains that Crusoe's position within society brings the most happiness and is envied by others: Crusoe need not face "miseries and hardships" or the hard work most others of the world need to do, and he does not have to deal with "pride or...envy" from the upper classes. His father notes that "middle states" is also...
...what might be called the upper station of low life, which he had found, by long experience, was the best state in the world, the most suited to human happiness, not exposed to the miseries and hardships, the labour and sufferings of the mechanic part of mankind, and not embarrassed with the pride, luxury, ambition, and envy of the upper part of mankind.
Crusoe's father goes on to explain, as an example, that even kings wished to be in such a place, between the poor ("mean") and great— for an easier life. He continues by saying that a wise man prays to avoid poverty as well as riches. All in all, his father insists that those in the "middle state" have the best life of all.
If Crusoe proceeds with his plans, his father believes he will be miserable. He mentions the death of his brother, whom his father also tried to dissuade from going to war—who was killed while fighting, having ignored his father's advice: the same advice he was now giving to Robinson. He tells his son to be satisfied with what he has in life, for he is extremely fortunate.