In Robinson Crusoe, how does Crusoe's life change after living on the island?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The title character of Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe's extraordinarily successful and influential 1719 novel, goes through several changes from the stress and responsibility of living on a deserted island. The most notable is his religion awakening; during a hallucinatory fever, Crusoe realizes that he has been very lucky in his shipwreck, and attributes that luck to Divine Intervention. Before the island, Crusoe's faith is spotty at best; after it, he is convinced that God's will follows and affects his life -- and everyone's life -- and he becomes somewhat of an evangelical, converting Friday to save his soul.

I began to instruct him in the knowledge of the true God; I told him that the great Maker of all things lived up there, pointing up towards heaven; that He governed the world by the same power and providence by which He made it; that He was omnipotent, and could do everything for us, give everything to us, take everything from us; and thus, by degrees, I opened his eyes.
(Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, eNotes eText)

Friday, being a product of his small island existence, has no reason to question Crusoe's certainty. It is interesting to note that after leaving the island, Crusoe's pious state returns to a baser interest in money and security; in the last chapter, the word "God" is not mentioned once. This reflects the pragmatic nature of Crusoe's repentance; he is far more interested in salvation while stranded, and much less so after he regains his comfortable life in civilization.

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