illustration of a man standing on an island and looking out at the ocean with the title Robison Crusoe written in the sky

Robinson Crusoe

by Daniel Defoe

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How does Robinson in Defoe's Robinson Crusoe achieve survival and control?

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In Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, Crusoe uses his organization, resourcefulness, and creativity to learn how to survive on the island. He builds a shelter, herds goats, grows grain, learns how to make necessities, and orders everything to his preferences. He comes to control the island through his hard work but also through his reliance on God.

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In Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, the title character finds himself in quite a predicament when he becomes stranded on a desert island all by himself. He has to learn how to survive quickly. He starts out by scavenging supplies from the wrecked ship, which gives him enough food, weapons, and ammunition to last him for a while. But these things will eventually run out, and Crusoe must get himself organized in a hurry.

Thankfully, Crusoe is an organized, resourceful fellow. He searches the island and finds goats that he can use for food as necessary. He builds himself a shelter. He discovers grain that he learns how to cultivate. He develops his skills in pottery, baking, cooking, and basket weaving to supply himself with the necessities of life. He even makes a canoe for himself to explore the island (and escape if necessary) and trains a parrot as a pet (and an alarm system).

Crusoe keeps himself organized and on track by keeping a journal. He writes down his daily activities and records what he still needs to do. This also serves as entertainment and comfort. As the years pass, Crusoe becomes more and more comfortable and comes to see the island as his own little kingdom where he can rule and order things to his liking. He does this through his hard work and creativity as well as through his increasing intimacy with and reliance upon God, Who sustains Crusoe in his activities and gives him peace.

When cannibals appear on the island, Crusoe watches with caution and builds an underground cellar where he can hide his goats and himself as necessary. He even figures out how he can cook underground if he must. Again, he is showing his flexibility and ingenuity. When he rescues Friday from the cannibals, Crusoe finds himself with a human companion for the first time in many years, but Friday becomes his willing and grateful servant, and Crusoe remains fully in control of himself and the island until at last he is rescued.

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