illustration of a man standing on an island and looking out at the ocean with the title Robison Crusoe written in the sky

Robinson Crusoe

by Daniel Defoe

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Chapters 23-24 Summary

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The “savage” Robinson Crusoe rescued is lighter-skinned than the others and without the features associated with Native Americans or Native Africans. Crusoe teaches him that his name is to be “Friday” because he was rescued on a Friday; he is to call Crusoe “Master.” Friday suggests they go back to the two cannibals they killed and eat them. Crusoe makes him understand that this is something he will not do. They return to the scene where Friday escaped to find it littered with bones and flesh. They burn these on the fire.

Crusoe makes Friday some clothing, which makes Friday feel uncomfortable. Friday becomes a loving and loyal servant to Crusoe, acknowledging that he owes his life to the white man. Crusoe teaches him many things, but his primary goal is to make him leave the life of a cannibal. He fixes him goat meat, and Friday proclaims it so good that he will no longer eat the flesh of men. Friday learns to help Crusoe in the work of procuring food. He also gradually learns to speak English.

Crusoe learns that Friday had been among the cannibals who had visited the island previously. He also discovers that land is not too far off—so close that no canoes are ever lost as they travel between the two spots. There are also Spaniards nearby; their savagery is already known throughout both Europe and the Americas. Crusoe gains hope from this that he might at last be able to escape the island.

Over the next three years, Crusoe works to establish a religious understanding in Friday. The native believes a god called Benamuckee created everything. When anyone dies, he goes to where Benamuckee is. As Crusoe explains the doctrine of salvation through Christ, Friday sees that the Christian God must be greater than Benamuckee. He is fascinated that anyone, not just the old men, can pray to this God anywhere, rather than only at the top of a mountain. While Friday quickly accepts the notion of God as a god of goodness and justice, he has trouble understanding the devil. He asks Crusoe why, if God is so strong, he does not kill the devil so he will do no more wickedness. Crusoe is dumbfounded as to how to answer this, but Friday will not let him dodge the issue. In time, Crusoe states, Friday becomes as good a Christian as he is—perhaps better.

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Chapters 21-22 Summary


Chapters 25-26 Summary