Robinson Crusoe Questions and Answers
by Daniel Defoe

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How is Robinson Crusoe an Enlightened character?

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Robinson Crusoe's exploits are in part inspired by Locke, an Enlightenment philosopher whose Essay Concerning Human Understanding advocated learning through experience and perception. Crusoe deliberately does not heed his father's advice to stay in England and become a lawyer, and is eventually shipwrecked on an island where he must fend for himself. In so doing, he embodies Locke's ideas about how to improve one's knowledge. For example, in Chapter IV, when Crusoe arrives on the island, he goes about trying to saw off parts of the shipwrecked boat for his own use. He says, "But the hope of furnishing myself with necessaries encouraged me to go beyond what I should have been able to have done upon another occasion." His need to survive helps...

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