on June 8, 2004
Not only is Robinson Crusoe an extremely well written, entertaining novel, but it was the first of its kind. Defoe's novel is fresh and intriguing today just as it was when written.
Defoe's language reveals classic appreciation of the English language that really appealed to me as a reader. His narrative accounts of adventure, shipwrecks and survival are precise and captivating. this book is made up of many short stories tied together in following the main character. The character grows and matures through his trials and becomes a man worthy of emulation.
Defoe shows brilliant insight into humanity through his writing as his main character challenges nature, savages, and his inner darkness. I enjoyed the spiritual aspects of the book. Any close look at a character such as Crusoe would be lacking if it did not follow his spiritual transformation as well as his physical changes.
There are some brief slow parts interspersed in the book that are more like speedbumps in a great tale that many have tried to imitate but failed.
on May 8, 2004
By now you know that Robinson Crusoe is a tale of a man shipwrecked on a deserted island. He lives off the land for 20-some years and develops all sorts of survival skills. With that said, here is my review:
My assignment in English class was to choose a book from the Romantic period. There was an abundance of girly stories, so I chose a book that I would feel comfortable reading--Robinson Crusoe.
The book is not terribly long, like other books in this era (Three Musketeers), though it is not a quick read. The book is enjoyable, but it took a lot of sitting down and trying to focus. It was easy to read, probably suitable for 8th graders, but I had trouble getting through the book, especially during the slow parts, and I'm a fast reader.
Robinson Crusoe is filled with religion, which put me off a bit. While I don't want to spoil anything, he allows freedom of religion on his island, but tries to make his Protestant buddy Friday convert to Christianity.
This story is definitely worth reading, especially because at some point you'll probably need to read it for school. It's a fun book, however it has dark moments, and some questionable incidents, such as selling a comrade into slavery. It is one of the better school-books I've read, having suffered through Scarlet Letter and other Puritan literature.
This book has been popular since it was published in the 1700s, an impressive feat. It is clearly a classic novel, and the sketchy scenes were normal back in the Romantic period. Slavery, racism, and no PETA means that this book was written without the limits we see today. Go ahead and read it if you like adventure or the movie Castaway. Four stars for good plot, good character development, bad slow parts, and overkill religious devotion.
on November 6, 2003
This critique is on Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. The story is about a young man, Robinson Crusoe, and his journey from a rich life in England to being a mariner and eventually being stranded on a remote island for twenty-eight years. The book is based on the true story of a mariner named Andrew Selkirk, who was also stranded on a remote island for five years. This book is a great example of the realism movement. Defoe talks about real life and its hardships, instead of writing fiction, in which everything is made up and is manipulated at the author's discretion. Defoe is also telling us to believe in ourselves, to have strong willpower, and listen to our parents. I think the novel gives a great insight on reality, and how hard real life is. It makes us think about the hardships of life and gives us the notion that we should explore our talents and have faith; that way we will succeed.
Robinson Crusoe is the son of and English merchant who chooses the life of a mariner rather than become a lawyer as his parents wanted. After going against his parent's whishes and becoming a mariner, Crusoe suffers a number of misfortunes at the hands of Barbary pirates and the elements. Finally Crusoe is shipwrecked off South America. He salvages needful things from the ship, and manages to survive in the island. During his twenty-eight year two months and nineteen days stay, Crusoe finds out the many qualities he possesses. With the help of his innovativeness Crusoe adapts into his alien environment. After several lone years he sees a strange footprint in the sand. The footprint turns out to be that of cannibals and their prisoners. One of the prisoners manages to escape. Crusoe meets the frightened man names Man Friday. Finally an English ship bound to England rescues them.
"Robinson Crusoe" is an expressive piece of writing. It is written using an English dialect. The narration of the novel is simple and is in the first and third person since Crusoe is telling only what he experienced. The tone is serious. There are no places in the novel where Crusoe is joking or laughing. The theme of the novel is most probably that we should believe in our capabilities and ourselves. We should never underestimate the powers that we possess. This is best portrayed when Crusoe learns how good he is at carpentry, pottery, construction, and baking. Crusoe never knew he had those capabilities. It was only after he tried and kept on trying that he succeeded in cultivating himself. He wanted to survive, and had the willpower to do so. Defoe also tries to tell us that we should listen to what our parents say. If Crusoe had listened to his parents, and become a lawyer, then he would not have to go through the harsh ordeal. When Crusoe is first shipwrecked, he is mad at himself for not listening to his parents.
I totally agree with Defoe and the things he addresses in the book. We should believe in ourselves, because if not, then we cannot survive. People who do not believe in themselves, who think they are low and cannot do anything, never make it. They are the ones who fail in life because if you do not believe in yourself then who will? It is not easy to live in today's world. One has to fight for his or herself. No self-confidence means no success but all out failure. If Crusoe did not believe in himself, then he would have died within days of being stranded on the island. We should have the willpower. If a person just does something without taking any interest, then are they going to do that thing right? Are they going to get anything out of it? The answer is no. But Crusoe had the willpower to survive. He used that strong willpower to learn how make his own furniture, bake bread, hunt, build a house, make clay jars. One of the most important ideas discussed is listening to our parents. Throughout the novel, Crusoe repents and asks himself why he did not listen to his parents. He knows that if he had, then his situation would not be what it was. Nowadays, some people tend to disregard what their parents say, thinking that they know what is best. But we have to remember that our parents are more experienced and they know what they are talking about. I strongly believe in this point. I have at times not listened to my parents, and suffered the consequences. Defoe's novel is a great example of one's life can take a turn for the worst. We must keep that in mind. This novel has allowed me to explore my own capabilities and inner strength. After reading the novel, I think anyone will gain more self-awareness, and give heed to what Defoe is trying to say.
"Robinson Crusoe" is novel about the realities of life, and how we should counter them. Defoe vividly describes the positive and great impact of self-belief and strong willpower on our lives, and also the negative impact of not heeding to our parents advice. I totally agree with Defoe on his generalizations of life. This book makes me more self-aware of myself, and has allowed me to explore the talents and capabilities I possess as well as my inner strengths. Defoe has written a masterpiece which will have a great impact on generations to come.
on July 3, 2002
I can't believe this book is considered one of the best books of all time. Forget the fact that it is poorly written with Daniel Defoe repeating himself several times throughout the first half of the book (an example would be that he retells the first three years of his life on the island at least three times in different forms), but that the character of Robinson Crusoe is such a despicable person.
How do I even begin. You have a spoiled rich kid who doesn't listen to his father's advise and sets out to see the world. He is taken prisoner and made a slave. When he finally does escape you would think that he would have learned from this experience how wrong it is to enslave others, but he doesn't. He sets up a tobacco plantation in Brazil and sets out on a voyage to Africa to enslave men to work on his plantation, when he is shipwrecked. All others on the boat are drown.
How am I supposed to feel bad for this individual? He says he has no companionship, but he doesn't deserve any. It isn't until he is on the island for several chapters that he even mentions the fact that a dog survived from the shipwreck. He had listed every last essential object he had saved from the ship several times in the earlier chapters, but since a dog means nothing to him, it is an afterthought. He has cats, but drowns the kittens. I understand he needed to eat, but this character has no morals. The island he is on is one of the few that turtles breed on, and he kills them readily. He kills a dolphin, (I'm not sure how exactly he did this, when he was on land). He kills goats while they are with their kids, and then when the kids follow him home he kills them as well. If there had been any baby seals on the island I have not doubts he would have clubbed them all to death.
When he finally meets the savage Friday he is happier to have a servant than to have a companion. I find it humorous that the man giving this savage religious counsel has no Christian morals himself. Crusoe thinks he is a good Christian, but he only looks to God when his life is in peril, and then he quickly forgets his teachings during all other fazes of his everyday world. He thinks God has cursed him. I think it is probably more that He is trying to protect the rest of the world from him.
The character Friday is one of the few things I liked about the book, when he forces Crusoe to question his own beliefs. Crusoe however takes everything about the savage for granted. How can you blame Friday for wanting to be in his own country. When Friday comes upon his Father in need, and is taking care of him, Crusoe is like a little baby that is upset because Friday isn't spending enough time serving him. Crusoe even puts down Friday's religion, when he doesn't even understand his own. Then when he converts Friday over to Christianity and Friday asks Crusoe to come over to his island and to help and teach his people, all Crusoe can think of is himself.
Later Crusoe becomes aware of some Spaniards shipwrecked on the mainland. While he is waiting for them to return, he himself is rescued. Instead of having his rescuers who become indebted to him, go over to the mainland to assist the Spaniards, he just leaves them. From one who knows what is it like to be shipwrecked himself, and that they are in danger over there, this is unacceptable. I can't believe Friday just leaves without inquiring about his father either.
Then in the end Crusoe returns, obtains money and goes back to the island and enslaves many of the savages. I kept hoping when the savages came to his island that they would have tracking skills like the Indians in the "Last of the Mohicans" and that they'd find him out and killed him. Or that Friday would be more like the savage Queequeg in "Moby Dick" who stayed true to his own religious beliefs. Alas they were not.
on February 20, 2002
As a boy growing up in 17th Century England, all Robinson Crusoe wanted to do was be a sailor. His parents tried to dissuade him -- it was a dangerous occupation, and certainly a middle class child like him could find a calling much safer and more comfortable. Naturally, he didn't listen, and essentially ran away from home, finding opportunities to sail on a few ships and encountering a few dangers until he finally reached Brazil, bought a plantation, and looked forward to that comfortable life of prosperity his parents said would be his if he'd only use his head.
But Crusoe is one to push fate. He embarks on a ship bound for Africa to collect slaves, and during a storm in the Caribbean Sea, the ship is wrecked and the crew drowned except for Crusoe, who manages to swim to the shore of a deserted island. Unable to get back to civilization, he salvages as many goods as he can from the wrecked ship and resolves to survive as long as possible in this new, unwelcome habitat.
Crusoe's resourcefulness is astounding. He builds a sophisticated hut/tent/cave complex to live in, hunts goats and fowl, harvests fruit, and figures out how to grow barley, rice, and corn, bake bread, and make earthenware vessels. After living this way for nearly two peaceful decades, Crusoe discovers that savages from a distant island are using his island for their cannibal feasts. He manages to save the life of one of their potential victims, a savage he names Friday, who becomes his faithful servant. With Friday's help, Crusoe realizes he now has a chance to escape the island once and for all and get back to civilization, although his plans don't proceed quite as he envisioned them.
"Robinson Crusoe" is a neatly woven adventure yarn, but under the surface there are several themes. The most apparent is that the novel seems like a morality tale -- i.e., hard work and faith in God will see you through bad times; virtue is rewarded and arrogance is punished. Another theme is that although nature can be a cruel foe, man is better off learning to work in harmony with it than struggling against it. Most interesting to me, though, is that reading about Crusoe's self-education in the art of survival is like witnessing the anthropological process of how civilization developed from savagery.
on January 3, 2013
This is one of my all time favourite books and was looking forward to having it in hardcover.
My low rating is that this book is misprinted!!!! Example - bottom of page 83 "....perhaps, as was never heard of...." and then there is a list of "Evil" vs. "Good" - this list should not appear for at least another 10 pages. Never mind the fact it is plopped in the middle of a paragraph that makes no sense.
If you didn't like this book because it seemed disjointed, that's because it was.
Returning it for a better copy.
on July 19, 2004
This seventeenth century classic chronicles the story of Robinson Crusoe, an Englishman who leaves his family for a sea career. Shipwrecked and abandoned on a tropical island, Crusoe must find a way to survive. During his castaway adventures, Crusoe wrestles with God's fate and is challenged to answer the haunting question: is there somebody else on the island, or is he just going crazy?
Despite the exciting premise, Robinson Crusoe is not really an "exciting" novel. Indeed, each chapter title gives away the chapters' events. Moreover, Crusoe, who narrates his journey, is more concerned with describing the shape of the tigers' teeth, the nature of his growl, and various other details instead of building up any excitement about the encounter. Crusoe takes great pains describing how he counted all his objects and divided them up into equal segments.
Another theme about the book is Crusoe's preoccupation with mastery. Crusoe is determined to dominate everything he comes in contact with. In fact, when teaching Friday English, he teaches him to call him "Master" before teaching him "yes" and "no." In fact, Crusoe never refers to any other character by their name-very odd.
Despite these peculiarities, Daniel Defoe has created a wonderful story and portrayed it with utmost detail. Defoe really thought about every aspect of human survival, and provides an uncanny amount of realism. If you like adventures, and don't mind long descriptions, then this book is perfect.
on April 7, 2004
Robinson Crusoe is one of the most famous stories that we all know. What most don't know is that the story is about much more than simply being shipwrecked. It's about man's view on God and his place in the universe and his faith in himself. RC is a good book, though I think a bit laborious. I think that the movie "Castaway" with Tom Hanks has conditioned us to think of shipwreck stories lasting only a few years. This story lasts 26 years and is, as a result, very elaborate. I found it interesting to see how the author delved so deeply in the main character's religious beliefs and how they so strongly impacted his thoughts and actions. The book did have a bit too much of a feel good aspect to it in that things were either going very well or very poorly for the castaway, though I think that is somewhat symptomatic of the time it was written in. The work is perhaps more impressive when you consider that it was basically illegal to write this kind of story back then. It had to be written from the first person perspective, almost as an historical or autobiographical piece in order for Defoe to get it published. To that end, this was truly one of the first of the novels in the historical genre that was later followed by Sir Walter Scott who wrote Ivanhoe and Rob Roy, among others.
on July 18, 2003
This is not a novel for those who like quick action and a lot of dialogue. Robinson Crusoe is superbly written, and tends to draw out the events, with a great deal of imagery provided in order to describe everything with minute details. Seeing as to how this is one of my favorite novels, I have read Robinson Crusoe probably about six times, in more than one language. My favorite aspect of this novel is the language in which it is written. Defoe's ability to make every word worth reading is enough to captivate and ignite the imagination. I do not think that if you like fast-paced novels that you would enjoy this masterpiece, but it is a matter of personal preference. If you enjoy well-developed character, then Robinson Crusoe's character is one worth devoting your time to. Defoe creates a human being, with faults and flaws, as well as dignified qualities. Robinson Crusoe is truly worthy of emulation, and is one of the greatest-developed characters in a work of literature. I recommend this novel to anyone who is willing to take the time to read every sentence and who is not so impatient as to expect action to appear on every page of the novel.
on June 28, 2003
In the literary world it is perhaps blasphemy to say a bad word against Daniel Defoe's most acclaimed novel. So here goes. The fact that the book was originally titled The Life And Strange Surprising Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe illustrates the major flaw in Defoe's literary form. Put simply, this would be a far more interesting and gripping story were it not so superfluously lengthy. The author makes a habit of repeating himself, especially when it comes to the act of dispatching kittens, which seems to be more of an obsession here than octogenarian ladies are to MatronsApron. It is difficult, you may think, to keep the subject matter fresh when describing the daily tribulations of a fellow stranded on an island for thirty years, without occasionally repeating yourself. True, but perhaps a straightforward solution to this diminutive quandary would be to simply truncate the duration of the story. There are some wonderfully intriguing and suspenseful moments, and some juicy action to boot, but sadly these are gratuitously diluted by lengthy descriptions of the unremarkable everyday goings on in Crusoe's life, and rather than serving to build up the suspense, they merely obstruct the reader's relationship with the more exciting parts of the story.
However, those with more patience than my ignorant self will find in Robinson Crusoe a delightful tale, which as well as being a fictional documentary of the most unusual thirty years of Mr. Crusoe's life, also has time to ponder upon philosophical and theological ideas, in a style that makes the reader feel as if they are involved in the conflicts between the functionalist and cynical thoughts going on in Crusoe's mind. It may not be a gripping white-knuckle adventure, being rather more leisurely and acquiescent, but it is still rather easy to see why Robinson Crusoe is regarded by some as one of the greatest novels of all time.