Robinson Crusoe, a Quaker mariner from York, England. At the age of twenty-two, as a tall, red-haired, slender young man, he leaves his family to seek a fortune in the New World, but this ambition is thwarted by a shipwreck off an island on the South American coast. Robinson is the only human survivor. At first, he rails against his fate and his haven. He names the island “Desolation,” and he builds a ship, the Escape, but cannot launch it. Robinson then experiences the first in a series of rebirths of personality and philosophy that occur during his twenty-eight-year ordeal. He rechristens the island “Speranza,” and his pious, obsessive nature comes to the fore. He cultivates more crops than he could possibly need, and he legislates and codifies his existence. Robinson believes that he can even stop time when he chooses to shut off his water clock. He is, during this phase, a dry and avaricious man, yet he is ethical, successful, and moral by societal standards. After discovering a cavern on the island, Robinson adopts a more Earth-oriented, nonconventional outlook, and he develops a sensual nature. The island literally becomes his mistress; he copulates in the cave, in a tree, and in the soil itself. When this period of emotional and physical awareness is interrupted by the arrival of Friday, Robinson returns to the psyche that loves order, until Friday inadvertently blows up the island’s buildings. Then, Robinson adopts a persona inspired by his Araucanian (South American Indian) companion. He lives in the present and enjoys nature but does not exploit it, he allows his hair to...
(The entire section is 667 words.)