Repentance and Religion in Robinson Crusoe


Length: 945 words (2.7 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

Analyse the theme of repentance and religion in chapters VII-XII of
Robinson Crusoe.

At the beginning of chapter VII, Crusoe introduces himself as “poor,
miserable Robinson Crusoe,” which strikes a startling note of
self-pity that contradicts the sturdy, resourceful self-image of his
narrative. There may be some grandiose posturing in this journal.
Moreover, as many have noticed, Crusoe’s journal is false in its
dating, despite its author’s loudly trumpeted concern for absolute
accuracy. By Crusoe’s own admission, he states that he arrived on the
island on the thirtieth of September. His idea of a journal comes only
later: “After I had been there about ten or twelve days, it came into
my thoughts, that I should lose my reckoning of time for want of
books, and pen and ink. . . .” Thus he keeps no journal for the first
ten or twelve days. Yet his first journal entry is dated “September 30,
1659,” the day of his arrival. Clearly Crusoe likes the idea of using
the journal to account for all his time on the island, giving himself
an aura of completeness, even if it requires some sneaky bookkeeping
to do so. This deception suggests to us that his interest in the hard
facts may be less than objective, and may actually be more subjective
and self-serving.

The most important psychological development in these chapters is
Crusoe’s born-again conversion. Crusoe has had many religious moments,
sometimes quickly forgotten. One example of this forgetting occurs
when he first calls the sprouting corn a miracle, then later
attributes it to mere good luck. But during his illness, his turn to
religion seems profound and lasting. His hallucination of a wrathful
angel figure that threatens him for not repenting his sins is a major
event in his emotional life, which up to this point has seemed free
from such wild imaginings. When he later takes tobacco-steeped rum and
reads a verse of the Bible that tells him to call upon God in times of
trouble, he seems deeply affected. Indeed, his loss of a day from his
calendar may represent his relinquishment of total control of his life
and his acknowledgment of a higher power in charge. When he falls on
his knees to thank God for delivering him from his illness, his faith
seems sincere. This faith forces him to reevaluate the island itself,
which, he tells himself, may not be a place of captivity, but a place
of deliverance from his earlier sins. He thus redefines his whole
landscape—and his whole life—much more optimistically.

Partly as a result of Crusoe’s born-again experience, his attitude
toward the island improves dramatically.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Repentance and Religion in Robinson Crusoe." 123HelpMe.com. 30 Apr 2017
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=100727>.
Title Length Color Rating  
Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe Essay - Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe The balance between agency and the challenges to it proposed by unexplained or supernatural occurrences is of central importance in Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Additionally, the question of human control over various surroundings seemingly develops commensurate to the title character’s increased reliance on and understanding of his faith. That particular conflict is a replication of the overall theme of the narrative — Crusoe’s finding increasing discomfort the more familiar he becomes with his environment....   [tags: Daniel Defoe Robinson Crusoe Essays] 1199 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe - The First Fiction - Robinson Crusoe: The First Fiction Daniel Defoe is credited with writing the first long fiction novel in literary history. Drawing from established literary genres such as the guide and providence traditions and the spiritual biography, Defoe endeavored to illustrate the life of a man who "tempted Providence to his ruine (Defoe 13)" and the consequences of such actions. While stranded alone on an island the character of Robinson Crusoe seems to have a religious epiphany about the role of Providence in his life and resolves to live in accordance with God's will....   [tags: Defoe Robinson Crusoe Essays] 2023 words
(5.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about The Effect of God on Robinson Crusoe - It has been observed that when placed in harsh or unusual conditions, people tend to look to spiritual support to help them overcome adversity. In Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe not only depicts the struggle of a man abandoned on a deserted island, but also depicts Crusoe's repentance for past disobedience against his father and humanity as well as his acceptance of religion into his life. Crusoe's religious beliefs, however, do not remain consistent; in fact, he later uses religion as a justification for murder and other immoral acts....   [tags: European Literature] 1052 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Religion and Economics in Robinson Crusoe and Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism - Religion and Economics in Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and Max Weber's Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism            One of the most recognized and influential theories in sociology appears in Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, which links the development of capitalism to social and cultural factors, primarily religion, instead of economic factors alone. In his theory Weber concludes that the Protestant Ethic greatly influenced the development of capitalism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries....   [tags: Defoe Robinson Crusoe Essays]
:: 9 Works Cited
2790 words
(8 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Daniel Defoe and Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe was an extraordinary man. Although he never had the benefit of a university education, he spoke six languages and was able to read even more. His curriculum included having been a government spy, a shopkeeper, and a journalist. As the latter, he was employed by both major parties. Of course, serving two lord is impossible, so after he got into trouble with both of these parties, he turned to writing as another means of living. The first major difference between Defoe's work and most other books dating from this time is that Robinson Crusoe is really entertaining, quite exhilarating and at times even amusing to read....   [tags: Defoe Robinson Crusoe Essays] 1022 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Downfall of Man in Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe Essay - I would like to comment about how Crusoe lived with himself after he became the master in a heirarchy where he was once the slave. He is so unhappy with his role of slave he takes the first opportunity given to him to escape. He also takes the first opportunity given to him to become the master of those left on the boat. This is unforgivable. He throws a man over board because he does not believe he can trust him, but he knows he can trust the first boat that sails his way. Does this sound funny to anyone else....   [tags: Defoe Robinson Crusoe Essays] 1369 words
(3.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and the Virtues of Protestantism Essay - Robinson Crusoe and the Virtues of Protestantism Many people have pointed out that Robinson Crusoe's experiences on the island seem to be a reflection of the growth of civilization and society. Considering the prominent role that religion plays in the novel, it would be worthwhile to examine the progression of religious and political thought in Crusoe's "society." Through the experiences of one man, we can observe the progression of religion from the private realm to the public realm, the conflicts inherent in such a progression, and the resolution to these conflicts....   [tags: Defoe Robinson Crusoe Essays] 1634 words
(4.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Religious Dimension of Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe Essay - The Religious Dimension of Robinson Crusoe          Robinson Crusoe’s discovery of the work ethic on the small island goes hand in hand with a spiritual awakening.  Robinson Crusoe is not a very profound religious thinker, although religion is part of his education and transformation.  He claims he reads the Bible, and he is prepared to quote it from time to time.  But he doesn’t puzzle over it or even get involved in the narrative or character attractions of the stories.  The Bible for him appears to be something like a Dale Carnegie handbook of maxims to keep the work on schedule and to stifle any possible complaints or longings for a different situation.  Still, the religious dimensio...   [tags: Defoe Robinson Crusoe Essays] 1189 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Robinson Crusoe: A Man's Discovery of Himself, Civilization, and God. Essay example - Robinson Crusoe: A Man's Discovery of Himself, Civilization, and God.  Just about everyone can recite the highlights of Robinson's adventures: A man is shipwrecked without resources on a desert island, survives for years by his own wits, undergoes immeasurable anguish as a result of his isolation, discovers a footprint in the sand that belongs to Friday, and is finally rescued from his exile. Unfortunately, all of this is wrong.  But more significant than any of these details is that our overall perception of Robinson Crusoe is wrong....   [tags: Defoe Robinson Crusoe Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
2509 words
(7.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
God and Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe Essay - Robinson Crusoe and God   As Robinson Crusoe salvages anything useful for his subsistence off of the shipwreck, he alludes to his materialism. "...O Drug!.. what art thou good for, thou art not worth to me, no not the taking off of the ground, one of those knives is worth all this heap, I have no manner of use for thee, e'en remain where thou art, and go to the bottom as a creature whose life is not worth saving... However, upon second thoughts, I took it away..." (Defoe 57) It is easy to take Crusoe's statement literally and dismiss him merely as an ostentatious person; however, Crusoe sees real beauty in the saving hand of God.  The dominant theme in Robinson Crusoe  is that sin ha...   [tags: Defoe Robinson Crusoe Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
1076 words
(3.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]



No longer viewing it as a
place of punishment and misery, he starts to see it as his home.
Indeed, he now uses the word “home” explicitly in reference to his
camp. Significantly, he now notices how beautiful parts of the island
are when he explores the terrain after his recovery. He describes the
“delicious vale” that he discovers, in which he decides to build a
bower. He surveys the area “with a secret kind of pleasure . . . to
think that this was all my own, that I was king and lord of all this
country indefeasibly and had a right of possession.” This attitude
shift is extraordinary. He no longer views himself, as he does in his
first journal entry, as “poor, miserable Robinson,” but is now feeling
the pleasure of calling himself king and lord of a delicious vale. Yet
his happiness in his island life is short-lived, since only a few
pages later he refers to the “unhappy anniversary of my landing,” as
if forgetting that his landing, in a different perspective, seems
cause for rejoicing. Defoe is underscoring the extent to which
Crusoe’s sense of fate and suffering is not objective, but rather
created by his own mind.

Crusoe’s experiences constitute not simply an adventure story in which
thrilling things happen, but also a moral tale illustrating the right
and wrong ways to live one’s life. This moral and religious dimension
of the tale is indicated in the Preface, which states that Crusoe’s
story is being published to instruct others in God’s wisdom, and one
vital part of this wisdom is the importance of repenting one’s sins.
While it is important to be grateful for God’s miracles, as Crusoe is
when his grain sprouts, it is not enough simply to express gratitude
or even to pray to God, as Crusoe does several times with few results.
Crusoe needs repentance most, as he learns from the fiery angelic
figure that comes to him during a feverish hallucination and says,
“Seeing all these things have not brought thee to repentance, now thou
shalt die.” Crusoe believes that his major sin is his rebellious
behavior toward his father, which he refers to as his “original sin,”
akin to Adam and Eve’s first disobedience of God. This biblical
reference also suggests that Crusoe’s exile from civilization
represents Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Eden.

For Crusoe, repentance consists of acknowledging his wretchedness and
his absolute dependence on the Lord. This admission marks a turning
point in Crusoe’s spiritual consciousness, and is almost a born-again
experience for him. After repentance, he complains much less about his
sad fate and views the island more positively. Later, when Crusoe is
rescued and his fortune restored, he compares himself to Job, who also
regained divine favor. Ironically, this view of the necessity of
repentance ends up justifying sin: Crusoe may never have learned to
repent if he had never sinfully disobeyed his father in the first
place. Thus, as powerful as the theme of repentance is in the novel,
it is nevertheless complex and ambiguous.


Return to 123HelpMe.com