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 9-10 Summary

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Last Updated on April 27, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 463

Robinson Crusoe needs a place to eat and work, so he makes a table and chair. He begins to keep a journal, at least as long as the ink will last, to record his time on the island. He writes that he arrived on the island on September 30, 1659. He narrates his first days on the island in procuring supplies from the ship and building a shelter.

Crusoe describes his efforts to provide himself with food. He finds wild goats on the island, but they are shy and difficult to catch. He shoots one nanny goat with a kid. He tries to tame the kid but is forced to eat it when it will not feed. His dog is terrified of the goats, which show no fear of him as a predator. He shoots a wild cat; he keeps its fur but discards the meat as inedible. He sees two seals but does not know what they are and lets them get away.

For light he uses tallow made from the fat of the goats he kills. He is forced to reinforce his cave when there is a partial collapse. He also builds a thatched roof over the outer area from the fence to the cliff in order to further protect his supplies. He places dirt around the outside of the fence, deciding that it would be well if there is no sign of human habitation in case hostile people come on the island (which, he hints, happens at a later date). He finds a bag of seeds that has been destroyed by rats and throws it out on the ground so he can use the bag. He is surprised when stalks of barley begin to grow as well as some rice. At first he believes it is a direct act of God, but he soon realizes there must have been some good seeds in what he threw out. He believes Providence blessed him with some surviving seeds, and he works over several years to grow enough to have both seed to plant and grain for food.

An earthquake strikes the island, which cause Crusoe to fear living in his cave. He decides he must build a separate dwelling that is safe from future quakes. He finds that the remains of the ship were shifted in the earthquake, so now he can walk to the wreckage at low tide. He intends to remove as many planks from the ship as possible before it is completely destroyed by the waves. He finds some gunpowder and food, but they have been ruined by water and sand. He manages to retrieve some sheet lead (for bullets) that has been undamaged. He also captures a sea turtle, which provides a welcome change from goat and fowl for meat.

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