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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How does Robinson Crusoe survive on the island?

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Robinson Crusoe survives on the island by building a shelter to keep him safe and by hunting goats on the island so that he can eat.

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To survive on the island, Robinson Crusoe determines that he needs a shelter to protect him "from the heat of the sun" and from "ravenous creatures." To this end, he finds a hollow in a hill and he pitches his tent there. He makes his shelter on the northwest side...

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of the hill so that he is protected from the heat of the sun during the day. He also creates a semicircular fence around his shelter to protect him from any wild animals. To protect himself from the heavy rain that falls on the island at one time in the year, Crusoe builds two tents, one inside the other, and covers both with "a large tarpaulin."

In order to feed himself, Crusoe at first hunts goats. He initially finds this difficult, because the goats are "subtle, and so swift of foot," but eventually, he becomes a much more proficient hunter. Later on, he decides to keep and tame some of the goats, so that he can still kill goats when he has run out of ammunition for his gun. In this way, Crusoe ensures that he will always have enough food to eat. As well as eating the flesh of the goats, he also makes broth from their bones.

Also crucial to Crusoe's survival on the island are the provisions that he is able to retrieve from the ship, which, very fortunately, is carried close to the shore by the tide. Crusoe ventures out to the ship several times, and each time, he retrieves items which help him to survive on the island, such as nails, hatchets, a grindstone, muskets, bullets, and clothes.

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How did Robinson Crusoe leave for London?

Robinson Crusoe journeys from Hull, in the north of England, to London, in the south, by joining one of his friends on a ship. The ship belongs to Crusoe's friend's father. Crusoe's friend invites him to travel to London with him and makes the invitation all the more attractive by insisting that Crusoe will not have to pay for the journey.

Crusoe does not ask permission to leave from either his mother or his father. He is so eager to leave for London that, by his own retrospective admission, he did not give "any consideration [to] circumstances or consequences." In hindsight, Crusoe understands that he acted rashly and thoughtlessly when he accepted the invitation from his friend. He comments on how the journey to London, from the very beginning, was full of "misfortune" and difficulty. He recalls that he became "most inexpressibly sick in body and terrified in mind."

Crusoe also feels in hindsight that he was wrong to leave for London without getting permission from his parents. He says that his decision was "wicked" and that he was recklessly abandoning his "duty" to his mother and father. However, Crusoe also reflects on how the decision to leave for London was motivated by a burning desire for travel and adventure. He says that as a young man, he "would be satisfied with nothing but going to sea." His desire for travel and adventure was evidently so strong as to overwhelm his better judgement and his duty towards his parents.

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How did Robinson Crusoe reach the island?

This question had been answered in a previous question about plot.  Please see the link below (first paragraph), and thank you for using eNotes.

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