Robinson Crusoe: Novel Summary: 20. "Having now Society enough."

Average Overall Rating: 2.5
Total Votes: 714

This section is also notable because it presents-and somewhat abruptly, given the tone of the narrative since the introduction of Friday-a moment in which European "civilization" and native "savagery" are again compared and equalized. Friday believes that the European captors are preparing to eat their captives. Crusoe rebuts this theory-"I am afraid they will [murder] them indeed, but you may be sure they will not eat them"-as if the end result, the prisoners' death, is any different. The irony is clearly lost on Crusoe; readers may wonder whether Defoe recognized it or not.
One final aspect of interest in this section is the continuing way in which Crusoe sees himself as a savior-figure. The ambush to free the three prisoners is a rousing adventure story, but at a deeper level it affords modern readers further glimpses into Crusoe's psyche. For example, the detailed way in which Crusoe narrates one prisoner's reaction to him-"Am I talking to God, or Man!"-begs the question of whether Crusoe is able to tell the difference himself at this point. We have already seen that he views himself as an agent of God, and this section serves to confirm that impression. Interestingly, the incident may allude to instances in the Bible of mortals being wrongly worshiped as angels or gods (see, e.g., Acts 14:8-18); and while Crusoe reassures the ex-prisoner that he is no angel, one can almost hear the pleasure in Crusoe's voice as he recalls the incident for us. Furthermore, the conditions he places upon the victims of the mutiny before he will help them further suggest that he rather unduly enjoys his newfound identity of "Deliverer"-an ironic development for one delivered himself twenty-seven years prior! Crusoe, who has spent so long reflecting on the ways of providence, may have come to the conclusion that he was delivered in order that he might deliver others: a conclusion not wholly at odds with classic Christian theology, but playing itself out in the crucible of Crusoe's island in a potentially disturbing and destructive way, as it tends to dehumanize everyone-not only Friday: it reduces them to mere objects upon whom Crusoe acts, and who are totally dependent upon him.

 

Quotes: Search by Author

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z