In Robinson Crusoe, how does Robinson Crusoe adapt himself to his new lonely life on the Island, whether practically or physically?

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Robinson Crusoe in Defoe's book by the same name, Robinson Crusoe, seeks adventures but is not brave. When his adventures deposit him on a deserted tropical island, the conflict between the adventure seeker and the man not brave begins. Robinson Crusoe is overcome by fear and runs wildly in uncontrolled passion. He soon realizes that he must reclaim his wits and preserve reason, order and civilization. Then he meets Friday who is a wild savage and a stranger to a Westerner's concept of reason, order and civilization. They share the knowledge of the reality that in order to survive, humankind must conquer nature.

In light of this, Crusoe goes about learning to build things, like a shelter, explore and colonize, farm, store provisions, build a boat (even one too heavy to be practical), etc. These steps toward conquering the power of nature and toward conquering his fear are illuminated by two incidents. The first is that Crusoe faces the glowing eyes in the cave even though he fully believes (irrationally) that the eyes are the eyes of the Devil. He asserts himself against the natural (it could have been a wild animal) and supernatural all in one stroke and discovers not the Devil but a dying goat. The other is that Friday ultimately adopts the Western notions of reason, order and civilization showing that Crusoe's success in maintaining these things is so complete that he influences and wins a disciple who is by nature an inhabitant of the wild parts of nature.

Read the study guide:
Robinson Crusoe

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question