Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe

It’s a while since I read this. It does differ from the adaptations which appear on TV, film and radio… the life described is far removed from today’s, much rougher and far shorter. The lives of others are far less respected too. It seems to be a natural thing to expect to kill or be killed.

There is a religious trend that I don’t recall from previous readings. A huge swing of Crusoe from being fairly normal to being totally God-focused. Maybe it is a reflection of the times, it was written in 1719 when I guess there was more religion about. It may be slightly preachy, accept your lot however tough. Odd that I missed it earlier. It did rather spoil the read, as did the conversion of Friday to Christianity, the arguments Crusoe used to debunk the religion of Friday certainly could be applied to Christianity.  An odd thing about the book is the treatment of Friday…he is assumed to naturally be a servant rather than a companion, especially when they are rescued, at that point Friday becomes merely a side issue in the story. Crusoe leaves the island but also leaves some of the mutineers there, and there are Spaniards due to sail there to. In the wrapping up of the tale, Crusoe arranges for women to be sent to the island for the men… how outrageous is that? Women as mere chattels… that never reaches the modern adaptations.The end of the book is odd too, again an author unsure of how to end the tale.  A large part of the end is taken with a cross Alps journey where they are attacked by wolves and bears, dreadful mistreatment of a bear by Friday. I didn’t realise that wolves were so much a problem in those times…maybe they were…but the whole story just peters out. A disappointment.

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