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 7-8 Summary

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Last Updated on April 27, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 421

Robinson Crusoe observes how far out to sea the ship is. He sees no sign of any other survivor, only small articles of clothing. He has nothing on him but the clothes on his back, a knife, a pipe, and some tobacco. He examines his new home and worries about the danger of wild beasts. He finds a freshwater source and then spends the night sleeping in a tree.

In the morning, Crusoe sees that the ship has moved and landed at the rock on which he had been dashed when he was trying to reach shore. He makes a trip out to the ship to retrieve what supplies he can. He sees that, if the crew had stayed on the ship, they would have been carried closer to shore and all of them would have survived. The ship has been positioned so the cabin is above water; thus, most of the supplies are unspoiled. He finds a quantity of food, clothing, and tools. Crusoe makes a raft and carries as much as he can back to shore. He erects a tent for shelter and sorts through his newfound wealth. Over the next two weeks, Crusoe returns to the ship several times, unloading all the valuable cargo that will aid him in his survival.

Crusoe decides he needs a secure place to build a more permanent dwelling, and he finds a spot that has a cliff surrounded by a small plain. He enlarges an already sizable depression in the cliff to make a cave, where he stores some of his goods. He builds a stockade around the plain. It can only be entered by climbing a ladder, so he will be safe from wild beasts—which he realizes later was a false fear. Inside his stockade he sets up a double-roofed tent to protect his supplies from the heavy rains.

To keep track of the passage of time, he cuts marks on a post. He mentions that he rescued from the ship two cats and a dog, which served him for companions for several years. He frequently struggles with bouts of depression. He feels overwhelmed by that fact that this island is completely off the track of merchant vessels and that chances of rescue are slim. He begins a list of positives and negatives; he always remembers that he alone survived, while his companions drowned. Eventually, seeing that the wild beasts he feared are not present, he enlarges his cave so it has an entrance to the outside of his barricade.

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