The Central Characteristics of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe Essays

The Central Characteristics of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe Essays

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Detail and consider those characteristics of the novel that you think are most central to the form. Your answer must deal with "Robinson Crusoe". The central characteristics of a novel are essential to keeping the story alive and the reader interested. A pervasive illusion of reality, individualized and believable characters and a plausible plot are the main characteristics that are most central to the novel form (Taormina, 2005). These three things are evident in Defoe’s 1719 novel Robinson Crusoe. In the early eighteenth century, when Robinson Crusoe was written, there were no set rules to follow in relation to the novel form. Critics have long argued over the authorship of the first novel with Ian Watt stating that in fact “Robinson Crusoe is certainly the first novel in the sense that it is the first fictional narrative in which an ordinary person’s daily activities are the centre of continuous literary attention” (1965, 74). Others like Peter Childs have a different view and claim that “It may be seen as the first realist novel, and its beginning is a useful example of the features of the genre” (2001).
To create an illusion of reality throughout the novel Defoe uses different narrative techniques such as epistolary and the use of lists. An example of this is by Defoe interweaving Crusoe’s personal diary entries into the story. Written by him during his time on the island they help give the reader a sense of how he felt and what he was thinking of. This style is typical of early eighteenth century novels “early eighteenth-centur...


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...Heitman, Danny. Fiction as Authentic as Fact. The Wall Street Journal. Jan 2013.
(http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323936804578227971298012486)

London, April. The Cambridge Introduction to the Eighteenth-century Novel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

McCrum, Robert. The 100 best novels. The Guardian. September 2013.
(http://www.theguardian.com/books/poll/2013/sep/30/100-best-books-robinson-crusoe)

Taormina, Agatha. Novels. 2005
(http://www.nvcc.edu/home/ataormina/novels/history/define.htm)

Van Ghent, Dorothy. The English novel: Form and function. New York: Harper & Row, 1961.

Verschoyle, Derek. The English novelists: a survey of the novel by twenty contemporary novelists. London: Chatto & Windus, 1936.

Watt, Ian P. The rise of the novel: studies in Defoe, Richardson and Fielding. London: Chatto & Windus, 1957

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