Character Transformation in Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe

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Character Transformation in Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe

"Nothing can describe the confusion of thought which I felt when I sunk into the water; for though I swam very well, yet I could not deliver myself from the waves so as to draw breath, till that wave having driven me, or rather carried me, a vast way on towards the shore and, having spent itself, went back, and left me upon the land almost dry, but half dead with the water I took in" (48). These are the words of a man for whom Mother Nature has the greatest affection. His name and the story of his life is Robinson Crusoe, a creation of Daniel Defoe published between 1718 and 1723. Crusoe appears to the reader first, as a carefree youth, of the city of York, in the year 1632. He pays little heed to his father's advice not to go to sea or even the foretelling of his future if he chooses that path and instead sets sail seeking adventure. Crusoe is set upon by countless perils, and only by the deliverance afforded from a combination of determination, luck, and as he quotes throughout his life, "the will of god," does he survive. As each of the battles Crusoe faces is resolved, the reader realizes that he is changing, albeit slowly, into a danger hardened, wise man. Crusoe is transformed from an overconfident youth, unaware of his own vulnerability, to a literally "weathered" and spiritual man, who has few weaknesses because he has analyzed and overcome them.

In order for Crusoe to begin changing as a youth he had to realize his susceptibility. His first sea voyage illustrates a little of this defenselessness for him as he grasps the power of the ocean, to do with him as it would. In his own words he describes this frightening concept, "The ship was no sooner gotten ou...

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...ard to make his island a comfortable place. He no longer did what he felt like at the moment, but thought long and hard on each decision he had to make. When he was rescued from his Island he returned to Brazil, settled his affairs there, was more than fair to all those involved, and left to avoid the inquisition. He married and raised his children with care seeking to give them the wisdom it took him a lifetime to realize. All those who met him appreciated him, and those who knew him before marveled that such a kind, strong yet cautious, God-fearing man, who now possessed such wisdom could have been what he was twenty-four years ago; a foolish, arrogant, youth with dreams of sailing the ocean blue.

Works Cited

Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe, the Signet Classic edition, originally published 1718-1723, New York, New American Library of World Literature., 1961

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