Robinson Crusoe as the ‘real model of a British colonist’
“Robinson Crusoe” was composed by Daniel Defoe, an English writer, journalist and merchant. The novel was very first released on the 25th of April 1719. Defoe is often thought about one of the founding fathers of the modern-day book. In her research study of novels, Patricia Ann Meyer Spacks, a significant literary critic remarks: “because Defoe worried himself with characters in normal strolls of life and investigated their responses to their lives’ incidents, his? ction bears a comprehensible connection to later on novels likely to be familiar to modern readers. spacks 48 Surprisingly, the initial title of the book was “The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Of York, Mariner: Who lived 8 and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Coast by Shipwreck, in which all the Men died however himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver ‘d by Pyrates”. This book was a controversial topic for most critics back in the 18th century as some felt it romanticized the concept of being cast away on an island by yourself.
James Joyce, an Irish poet and writer remarked on the lead characters qualities, calling him “the true model of the British colonist”(Sussman, p. 248). In this essay I will examine Defoe’s unique thinking about Joyce’s remarks. Crusoe represents the typical English colonist in the 18th century. For instance, he is really thinking about colonising the island, economics, industrialism and is condescending towards other people’s faiths. It is these pieces of details that I have on Robinson Crusoe that I believe made Joyce refer to him as a “true prototype of the British colonist”.
If we take a look at the history of Ireland (Joyce’s house) it ends up being clear to us that it was proper of Joyce compare Crusoe to a British colonist. Ireland was under England’s guideline for centuries, and lots of attempts were made by the British to remove Ireland’s culture, language and to take control of the land. Many historians believe that the English were successful in these attempts as the plantations of Ireland in the 16th and 17th century showed to be incredibly effective as the English inhabitants were able to construct new lives on their own and their families.
English undertakers developed new towns and provided protection of these brand-new towns from unhappy Irish men and women. (Lennon, 229-230). Therefore, in the eyes of an Irishman, the English were generally viewed as the kind of individuals to attempt and colonize a location. This ends up being apparent in “Robinson Crusoe” as Crusoe certainly does colonize the island. From Crusoe’s arrival on the deserted island, he presumed complete domination of the land. Whatever that exists is his to take, or two he thinks.
Remarkably, he refers to the abundance of trees on the island, which is significant as England relied on their American nests to provide wood for their masts. Maybe this could be seen as a contrast between the American colonies and this newly found island. Crusoe sees the island as his, “I revisit my island”, with the word “my” in italics to stress that this island is his property. He likewise refers to “my nest on the island”. He truly believes that he is in charge of everyone, and everything, on the island.
Crusoe produces his own kingdom on the island, he is the king and everyone else on the island need to treat him accordingly. Joyce may also have referred to him as a “true model of the British colonist” as like lots of British colonists, Crusoe was extremely thinking about economics and wealthiness. Capitalist ideologies are also obvious in the novel. Although shipwrecked on an island, he can not avoid the wreckage in the sea and he swims back twelve times in order to take products from the ship.
Cash is of no use to him– however that does not stop him from making the journey back. He clearly has a fascination with the money. “I smil ‘d to my self at the Sight of this Cash. O drug! I stated aloud, what art thou great for? Thou art not worth to me, no not the removing of the Ground, one of those Knives is worth all this Heap, I have no way of use for thee … Nevertheless upon second Thoughts, I took it away. “(Defoe, 57) It is as though Crusoe understood that the money was of no use to him however he simply could not resist the “heap” that lay before him.
Good sense enters play when he acknowledges that a knife is worth more than money as it is more useful to him, nevertheless he proceeded to cover the “load” of cash up into a “Piece of Canvas” and transported it back to the island. This pertains to Joyce’s remark as the Industrial Revolution in England (circa 1740 to 1840) gave birth to the rise of capitalism in the United Kingdom, making the rich British guys even wealthier, and more powerful. This power might maybe mirror the kind of power that Crusoe has on the island.
Another important aspect to discuss is that of faith. “I daily checked out the word of God” (Defoe, 114) Crusoe attempts to persuade Man Friday that his religions are void and he rather presents him to mentors of the Christian faith. “And then I enter ‘d into a long Dis-course with him about the Devil, the Original of him, his Disobedience versus God, his Enmity to Male, the Reason of it, his setting himself up in the dark Parts of the World to be praise ‘d rather by God”. Defoe, 221) Crusoe’s efforts to convert Male Friday are reminiscent of the English colonist’s termination of the Catholicism in Ireland. The Penal Laws were presented in the early sixteen-hundreds in Ireland by English colonists to make Irish Catholics recognise the supremacy of the British Anglican Church. However this is not the only time in the novel that we see Crusoe be condescending towards Guy Friday. In all of the time that Crusoe understood Guy Friday, not when did he ask what his genuine name was.
All that Crusoe appreciated was that he served to him. Male Friday represents slavery. This representation of slavery matters when going over English colonists as slavery was not illegal in England till the Slavery Abolition Act was presented in 1833. In this essay I have actually analysed Daniel Defoe’s unique, “Robinson Crusoe”, taking into account James Joyce’s remark that Crusoe is the “real prototype of the British colonist” with close referral to the text and using a large range of secondary sources.
Bibliography Defoe, Daniel, Robinson Crusoe (London: Macmillan and Business, 1868) Keymer, Thomas, Intro to Robinson Crusoe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007) Lennon, Colm, Sixteenth Century Ireland– The Insufficient Conquest (Dublin: Gill & & Macmillan, 1994) Spacks, Patricia Meyer, Unique Starts, Experiments in Eighteenth-Century English Fiction (Yale: Yale University Press, 2006) Sussman, Charlotte, Eighteenth Century English Literature (London: Polity Press, 2012). p 248.