Robinson Crusoe is more than just a book or a story. It is a small encyclopedia in a manner of speaking. It tells us things about the era and the people of the time period in which it was written. Defoe introduces to us, the readers, the importance of the protestant work ethic to the European world in his time. He goes into great detail about religion, and demonstrates to us the gripping effect that it has on the person who places their faith in it. Robinson Crusoe is a story of a man that ran from God until he could run no longer. The question rings out loudly; was Crusoe changed forever because of his spiritual experience or was he just frightened into a fearful respect for God? The man Crusoe is when he steps back into the world and out of the comfortable isolation he was used to on the island makes Crusoe’s faith in God seem flaky to most, but I do not doubt the truthfulness of his conversion because God changed his heart.
Robinson Crusoe didn’t really have a choice about the way his parents believed. They pushed their ideals him, or so they tried. His father’s counsel about staying in his native country and “raising fortunes by application and industry, with a life of ease and pleasure”(p.4) was our first sign of the religious ideology of DeFoe’s time. This Protestant work ethic revealed to us here by Crusoe’s father is “a code of morals based on the principles of thrift, discipline, hard work, and individualism”(Westby). Young Crusoe would not fall victim to this conformity that his parents desired for him. He was determined to not stick around home and work for the rest of his existence. Crusoe wanted to sail and that did not change even after his first few sailing mishaps.
The work ethic Defoe brought to our attention seems to consume Crusoe later in the story, only after he refrains from sailing for a while and tries to settle. During his time in the Brasils, on his plantation, he is devoted to doing well for himself, but his adventuresome spirit soon returns and he wants to set sail again. When Crusoe is shipwrecked he is overcome by a chronic desire to modify and upgrade his “castle.” He spends months building a wall for his humble abode; “all this time I work’d very hard, the rains hindering me many days”(p.71). His appetite for improvement also drives him to better his living conditions on the island. He plants corn and ra...
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...st people in the world today Crusoe, when returned to the world, became so wrapped up in all his affairs that his relationship with God began to falter a bit. When all you have is isolation, a companion, and lots of time to waste it is easy to be conscious of God. When faced with the situations and temptations that the world has to offer it becomes much harder to do the right thing all of the time.
Crusoe becomes a man of God in this story. Why then does he waiver so much throughout his whole life we speculate? Crusoe is a man and men are prone to err. God forgave Crusoe for his mistakes and he was able to carry on with life. Why did it take Crusoe being shipwrecked and isolated from everything of the world for God to get his attention? Christians believe that God is sovereign and that He knows what is best for his children. Therefore, I believe that Crusoe needed complete isolation for God to grab his attention, and keep it long enough to change him. His change was sincere although he made it harder and harder to see after being rescued. He went from being an immoral sailor to a kind-hearted man of God. Crusoe’s transformation was exactly that, a complete and real change.
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