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 3-4 Summary

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Last Updated on April 27, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 420

Crusoe considers going back to his home in Hull. He knows his father would easily forgive him for his foolishness. His comrade’s father, who was master of the ship on which Crusoe had sailed, tells him that he should never go to sea again but take warning from his bad experiences. The captain hints that it might have been because of Crusoe that the ship was lost in the storm, like the ship on which the cursed Jonah sailed to escape God.

Crusoe travels to London by land and decides that it would be too embarrassing to return home. He reflects on how easy it is to get into foolishness but how humiliating it is to repent of it. He meets a ship’s master who is traveling to the coast of Africa and is invited to go along. The master seems (and is) honorable, so Crusoe agrees. At the master’s suggestion, he borrows forty pounds and buys toys and trinkets to trade along the way. The voyage is a success, and Crusoe returns with three hundred pounds worth of gold dust. The ship’s master dies while in England, so Crusoe next joins the man who is now in charge of the ship. This trip, however, leads to disaster. Near the coast of Africa, the ship is attacked and the crew killed or sold into slavery, Crusoe among them. Although he does not find slavery as bad as it could have been, Crusoe hopes his master will take him to sea so he can escape. His master, however, keeps him at home to tend his garden, and two years pass.

Crusoe’s owner remodels a boat with a cabin so it can be taken on longer fishing trips. Crusoe, a Moorish slave, and a boy are sent out to catch some fish. When they have gone some distance from the shore, Crusoe pushes the Moor overboard and commands him to swim ashore. Along with the boy (Xury), Crusoe takes the ship and escapes his bondage. As they travel along the African coast, Crusoe and Xury see many wild animals. Crusoe makes some kills for meat, and the two of them go ashore to get water. They make friends with the native peoples there. Crusoe sees a Portuguese ship far from the coast. It is presumably a slave ship, but Crusoe thinks only that it will eventually head back to the European coast. He pilots his boat out to the ship that is moving away from the coast.

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Chapters 1-2 Summary


Chapters 5-6 Summary