Robinson Crusoe Chapters 19-20 Summary
by Daniel Defoe

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Chapters 19-20 Summary

Crusoe explores the southwestern portion of the island, a section he has seldom visited. As he stands on a hill, he looks out to sea and thinks he sees a boat. He does not have his telescope with him and so cannot be sure. He vows to always bring his telescope with him from now on. On the beach he sees a large fire and human bones scattered about. Cannibals have landed here, on his island, for a hideous feast. Crusoe feels more outraged at human degeneracy than fearful for himself, and he considers ways he can wipe out the cannibals on their next visit. He ponders the possibility of placing gunpowder below the fire pit. He decides against this both because he is short on gunpowder and because he cannot be sure the explosion would do any more than startle them.

For two years, Crusoe thinks of this new incursion to his island. After much reflection, Crusoe wonders if he is right to sit in judgment of them. They obviously do not resort to cannibalism as a crime any more than Europeans killing each other in war is considered a crime. He comes to the conclusion that he must leave the judgment of the cannibals to God rather than take it upon himself to inflict vengeance for an act that belongs to a culture not his own. Crusoe maintains this frame of mind for about a year; he stays away from that side of the island so he will not encounter the cannibals again and change his mind. He contemplates what would have happened if the cannibals had captured him, and once again he feels grateful to God for his deliverance from such a fate.

While Crusoe is cutting down trees to make charcoal, he comes across a large hollow behind some bushes. He goes in to find a cave that is small but large enough for him to stand up in it. He sees a pair of eyes shining in the dark and leaves immediately,...

(The entire section is 510 words.)