Robinson Crusoe: Novel Summary: 19. "The rainy Season."
19. "The rainy Season."
"The rainy Season." through ".six Months in the Ground in the Country" (pages 166-178)
One day, Friday reports to Crusoe that three canoes of "savages" have come ashore on the island. He fears he is being hunted down. Crusoe and Friday resolve to kill the newcomers. Upon entering the wood where the "savages" are, however, Crusoe is startled to see a European prisoner bound to a tree. Crusoe and Friday shoot many of the "wretches" and free the "poor Christian" captive, who is one of the Europeans of whose presence on the mainland Friday had previously told Crusoe. Crusoe frees the Spaniard. By the end of the adventure, the three men have killed 16 (and possibly 17) of 21 "savages."
A further surprise awaits Crusoe when he discovers a "savage" bound as was the Spaniard. This individual Friday recognizes as his father. Crusoe provides for everyone's physical needs of shelter and hunger. Crusoe learns from the Spaniard that 16 others are on the mainland, "very sore put to it for Necessaries, and indeed for Life." Crusoe proposes freeing the other Europeans from the hands of the "savages," on the condition that the Spaniard and his fellows swear loyalty to him. "Upon these Assurances, I resolv'd to venture to relieve them." Crusoe plans to send the Spaniard and Friday's father by canoe to the mainland to negotiate with the Europeans.
Although this section contains some evidence of Friday's common humanity-his emotional reunion with his father-Friday's reaction to the threat of his former enemies pursuing him (or, more accurately, Crusoe's depiction if it) further paints him as a loyal servant/slave: for example, "He said, Me die, when you bid die, Master." This section thus shows the extreme end to which Crusoe's "civilizing" of Friday has led: Crusoe convinces Friday to use lethal force against his own people. (Indeed, the text states that Friday inflicts more damage upon them than does Crusoe!) Again, Friday is dehumanized in Crusoe's eyes. And the "dehumanization" of Crusoe himself may be seen as continuing. For instance, the second thoughts and moral-theological reflections in which Crusoe formerly engaged when faced with the prospect of violence against the "savages" are much more cursorily covered in this section than previously; it is almost as though Crusoe is making a perfunctory nod to his former scruples and to his faith, but these issues truly no longer weigh heavily upon him. Thus, for both Friday and Crusoe, the result of "civilization" is, in fact, a new kind of "savagery." Whether Defoe is making an intentional statement about the consequences of colonialism and imperialism, readers must judge for themselves.