Robinson Crusoe Questions and Answers
by Daniel Defoe

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Write an introduction and conclusion about Robinson Crusoe.

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The importance of Robinson Crusoe to English Literature is that it is considered to be one of the most important precursors of the novel as a genre (the others being Defoe's "Moll Flanders," and "Roxana" and a number of other fictions written by writers now forgotten, among them Mrs. Eliza Heywood.

Robinson Crusoe is NOT a novel because there is no development of character, and no central conflict to be resolved. Crusoe is marooned on an island for twenty-four years, left to its natural resources and his own industry for many years (until he finds Friday), establishes a two-person fiefdom by conquering the other inhabitants of the island and eventually returns home. (see the enotes summary)

It is an important precursor of the novel mainly for one reason: it is a thorough attempt to write a realistic fiction.

If you read the section on the setting of this story in the enotes "Study Guide to Robinson Crusoe," you will realize the maximum importance Daniel Defoe gave to things like trade and economics while writing this book. In other words, he was interested in "real things." This emphasis on reality is what distinguishes Defoe's fictions and the works that followed (like Richardson's Pamela, Clarissa, Fielding's Joseph Andrews and Tom Jones) from all the other preceding works that told a story.

To Defoe, the purpose of writing these books was plain and simple: to instruct readers about economic reality and to teach them sound moral principles. Thus, the work is filled with hundreds of little details, from how Crusoe brought goods back from his wrecked ship, to how he built himself a make-shift house. Indeed, these details begin to get to you and there is a tendency is to skip over them....

(The entire section contains 574 words.)

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