Analysis Of Daniel Defoe 's Robinson Crusoe Essay

Analysis Of Daniel Defoe 's Robinson Crusoe Essay

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Daniel Defoe’s early novel Robinson Crusoe was first published in 1719, and its notions reflects on the key issues of the day; namely the enlightenment period. Although its full title reflects on the aspect of his adventures, there are much deeper meanings seen in the novel that echo the sentiments of the enlightenment. Defoe illustrates the blending of rationalism, empiricism, and religion within the novel to demonstrate how these ideas can collaborate, as Crusoe is able to not only survive on the island, but thrive.
Rationalism has been a long rival with its counterpart of empiricism. Rationalism is defined as being “the view that regards reason as the chief source and test of knowledge” and that the “rationalist asserts that a class of truths exists that the intellect can grasp directly” (Britannica). The early stages of Robinson exercising this notion can be seen from the beginning of the story. The title character is the youngest in his family and he carves out a life for himself that is completely different than what is expected of him by going to sea. This early action demonstrates Robinson’s independence. As soon as Crusoe is deserted on the island, is in in his mind the only human being there, and he is relatively limited in supplies and knowledge in surviving on his own. However, he is able to use cognitive thought processing to retrieve items from the wrecked ship and means of transporting them. This is seen as he says “It was in vain to sit still and wish for what was not to be had; and this extremity roused my application” (Defoe p. 31). This take charge attitude is necessary for his survival. Robinson also uses reason as he ponders his situation as he “began to consider seriously my condition, and the circumstances...


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... to the parable of the prodigal son.
In conclusion, besides being revolutionary as a literary work in its day, Robinson Crusoe reflects on the important issues that arose in that era. Daniel Defoe seamlessly blends the enlightenment ideas of rationalism, empiricism, and religion in his novel. As a result of Crusoe’s being is stranded on the island, he has to reinvent his own culture and society. He is able to do this through reason and intellect; both as in a sense of rationalism which enables him to solve problems. Crusoe understands the value of learning through his mistakes and trial and error through empiricism which enables him create a life for himself. Finally, Crusoe is spiritually delivered, which gives him hope and comfort. By demonstrating these enlightenment ideas, Defoe is able to show how all of these ideas can be entwined and all benefit each other.

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