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 5-6 Summary

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Last Updated on April 27, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 419

Crusoe is some distance from the Portuguese ship but fires a gun and flies a flag to attract its attention. The captain takes him aboard and gives him free passage; the captain says he would wish someone would do the same for him should he find himself stranded. The captain tells Crusoe he is going to Brazil and urges Crusoe to keep all his possessions so he can make a living there. Crusoe sells most of his possessions, including Xury, who willingly returns to a life of slavery to aid Crusoe.

In Brazil, Crusoe makes friends with a plantation owner and enjoys the life so much that he buys a small plantation of his own. The work is hard and he regrets selling Xury, but after a few years he buys a slave and hires a servant to help him. Crusoe arranges with the Portuguese captain to retrieve the funds he left with his first captain’s widow. Some other plantation owners talk of going to Guinea on the coast of Africa to trade for some slaves. Because Crusoe is experienced in trading with the people there, they invite him to go with him. Crusoe agrees to sail for them to Africa to acquire slaves. Crusoe reflects on how easily he has rejected his father’s warnings. He arranges for the disposal of his effects in a will; he names the Portuguese captain his heir and provides for the continued upkeep of his plantation in his absence. He departs on September 1, 1659, at the age of twenty-seven, eight years after he left home.

There are fourteen men on board besides the captain, the cabin boy, and Crusoe. The ship also holds a cargo of trinkets to exchange in trade for slaves. As the ship leaves the South American coast, a massive storm arises. After twelve days, the ship’s captain proposes they return to Brazil, but Crusoe objects. They head toward the English colonial possessions in the Caribbean Sea. The ship strikes a reef and gets stuck in the sand. The ship is overpowered by the waves, so the crew decides to take the small boat and try to make for land. The storm, however, overturns the boat and throws the men into the water. Crusoe struggles against the waves, trying desperately to reach the nearby shore. The waves throw him against a boulder and almost knock him insensible. He eventually makes it to shore and climbs up short cliffs to a grassy area beyond the reach of the waves.

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