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3.7 out of 5 stars141
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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on May 13, 2003
The book 'Robinson Crusoe' is one of my all time favorite books. I was turned onto classics recently when I started to look into the classics section of the books store. I wanted to know what all the hype was about books and stories such as this one. Being a classic tends to give way to the idea that the book has a lot to offer, and that is no different for 'Robinson Crusoe', a remarkable story of remarkable circumstances that present themselves to the main character. Although the story, often dubbed 'the story of a man stranded on an island for 26 years', sounds dull and uneventful, nothing could be further from the truth. Those who've never read it refer to it as that, a story of a man stranded on an island for 26 years. Those of us who have read it understand that it's much more than that. This may be the best story ever composed. The swift current of the novel is quick-paced and could include nothing more to keep a reader entertained.
Regarding the moral implications such as those of slavery, the novel heavily disfavors the ideas we have in society today by condoning and thinking only once about slavery. I believe this further treats us in a piece of literature that also acts as a diary of times. What better way to tell a story, than to simply tell the truth? And in those times the truth was that slavery was a part of society and nothing more shameful than modern day coffee drinking. It was a business and although unfavorable today, it was the truth of the times. I have the same feeling about the references to religion. Those times were different and act today as a time capsule for readers to understand what things may have been like only 300 years ago.
Literally, the novel uses (by modern standards) odd English and can be difficult for novice readers. However, even for a novice reader the novel can be a challenge to learn about how the writers of our past wrote novels. As the reader proceeds through the story, more is understood and eventually the story flows as freely as a morning newspaper. I would encourage users to read this knowing that it is almost three hundred years old, and that the slang is thick and different from ours.
The storytelling is nothing short of a masterpiece. The story itself touches down on many aspects of the human condition; hatred, happiness, courage, perseverance, loyalty, love, treachery and friendship. We can all relate at one point or another with Robinson Crusoe.
Regarded as possibly the first English novel ever, this tells the story of a man who's found himself alone and shipwrecked on a deserted island; the many years he spends making a new home for himself, the many times he tries to escape his paradise dungeon and the thick courage it took to outlast the immeasurable feat of solitude. This is the story of a man who finds one footprint on a deserted island.
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on February 26, 2003
Written like a narrative biography, this popular Defoe tale has been abridged to appeal to younger reader. It is set in the mid-1600s in England, as young Robinson considers his future. His father warns him about the perils of sailing. Robinson, undeterred, finds his way to a ship leaving from London.
Various adventures ensue, including being captured as a slave by a wealthy Turk. When he breaks for his escape, he manages to board a ship with a kind captain who assists him.
The real adventure begins soon thereafter, eight years after he first left home. He is shipwrecked:
"Nothing can describe the panic I felt when I hit the water... I looked up and saw an island before me." That island becomes his home for many years. His only book is his Bible which he reads daily. He makes what he needs from items he finds of the island, and later, meets Friday, whom he saves from death.
The illustration by N. C. Wyeth are beautiful, and have been seen in many earlier editions and versions of "Robinson Crusoe."
Few books hold the charm and swagger that "Robinson Crusoe" does, and lesser still tell it so well. The abridgment retains the excitement, and hopefully, as your child or student grows older, they will want to read the original version.
I fully recommend "Robinson Crusoe," by Daniel Defoe.
Anthony Trendl
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