The Exploration of the Self in Robinson Crusoe Essay

‘In all the time of my solitary life, I never ever felt so earnest, so strong a desire after the society of my fellow-creatures, approximately deep a regret at the want of it.’ (Robinson Crusoe). Use this quote as a beginning point for the expedition of the self in Robinson CrusoeSelf is broadly specified as the necessary qualities that make an individual unique from all others. In Defoe’s words the word, “governs the whole world; today Race of Male all come into it.

‘t is the structure of every prospect in life, the start and end of our Actions.” It is the essence of male.

Crusoe goes through a journey of self discovery whilst on the island. He finds out aspects of himself that, quite most likely, only years of seclusion could have highlighted in him. Defoe’s novel was the first of a long pattern of story writing in which the hero undergoes an enormous devlopment and maturation. Initial lack of knowledge enables Crusoe to obtain knowledge whereby in Richetti’s words, “the self can gradually discover outside itself that which it brings within.”Defoe’s exploration of the self depends on Crusoe’s journey of self-discovery and his achievements in isolation vs. the inescapable loneliness that his life of solitude entails.

The story explores how an individual can make it through without society in the state of nature that the deserted island offers. Crusoe adapts to island life exceptionally well, exploiting his limited resources and becoming totally self-reliant. It is a stirring account of the individual development and devlopment of the self that happens whilst stranded in privacy. Crusoe withdraws from the external social world and turns inward. In his ‘singular life’ Crusoe is in truth able to explore himself and acquires a sense of self-awareness by the end of the book.

We see that self-awareness is incredibly important to Crusoe in his regular day-to-day activities and his keeping of a calendar described as, “a sort of awkward or autobiographical calendar with him at its centre.” Similarly, Crusoe is compulsive about keeping a journal and accounting for every minute information that happens on the island. Being self-aware is a coping mechanism for Crusoe exemplified in his teaching his parrot to state, “Poor Robin Crusoe … Where have you been?” Crusoe might not appear a man to express his feelings well, but he voices his inner feelings here through the parrot. The taming of the parrot, wild goats and the land in basic, all signify Crusoe’s need to feel master of his fate in some method. He requires the sense of control in a life, which he might feel he has actually had little control of given that being banished on the island. By ending up being a master over nature he feels he is more a master of his own fate and self.

Becoming a master of the self is a crucial aspect of Defoe’s supreme survival. At the start of the unique Crusoe describes his ‘initial sin’ for disobeying his father and heading off to sea, and regularly blames himself for his fate as a castaway. By mastering nature on the island he acquires a sense of self-determination instead of seeing himself as a passive victim. He finds success regardless of his challenging fate.

It is just through his tough fate of confinement that Crusoe develops and improves. He discovers that by working with his environments and taking advantage of what has been offered him, he has the ability to find enough to perform life. Whilst he can not get away the island he can not run away from his problems so he must face his fears. By farming, producing and making a house of the island, Crusoe gets a sense of place that might also help him establish a sense of self.

The removal of all restrictions, though not objects, of the civilised world produces a paradox as it is with all ideas of civility and society got rid of that we can actually observe the genuine self, the genuine human impulse and behaviour that forms society and civilization.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau in his book, Émile ou De l’éducation( 1762) analyzes the island as a vehicle for education on how to live ‘effectively human life.’ He applauds Crusoe’s participation with nature and his eagerness to always be establishing his resources.

I hardly ever offered anything over without achieving it, when I once had it in my head enough to start it.

Rousseau commends Crusoe and his mastery of nature through his existence, and certainly success, on the island, as an accomplishment of man’s individualism and the self.

His mastery of nature is not rather sufficient for Crusoe on the island. He still suffers in his solitary life and ultimately his confinement causes him to rely on his bible and repent his sins. This repentance becomes a mechanism of coping with solitary life and he complains much less about his fate, taking a lot more favorable view of the island. The self will turn to religion in times of requirement.

His ordeal takes on a religious implications, especially in retrospection when, after going back to England, Crusoe compares his experience to that of Task, whose faith was evaluated by God through the loss of family and wealth. His positive outlook on his experience as a complex lesson in Christian persistence, reveals that despite his loneliness, he has learnt more about the self than possibly any other experience might have taught.

There can be no doubt that Crusoe ends up being familiar with life on the island. In fact he becomes so utilized to his seclusion, that the idea of another person, especially on finding the footprint in the sand, petrifies him and causes him to run the risk of ruining all that he has actually constructed for the sake of self defence. It is a key moment in the novel and it signifies Crusoe’s conflicted feelings about the need for human companionship. Crusoe’s desire after ‘the society of his fellow-creatures’ is tossed aside as the proof of a man on his island sends him into a panic. His immediate unfavorable and fearful mindset towards the possibility of human company makes the reader doubt he might ever be re-inserted into society again, but this was not Defoe’s intention. His representation of the self shows a requirement for society and business, even if the idea of it after being coming so acustomed to solitariness is a scary one.

Another essential concept in the book in an expedition of the self is Crusoe’s mixed feelings of ridicule and desire for cash, O drug!” said I aloud, “what art thou helpful for? Thou art not worth to me, no, not the removing of the ground; one of those knives is worth all this load; I have no manner of usage for thee; e’en stay where thou art and go to the bottom as a creature whose life is not worth conserving. Nevertheless, upon second thoughts, I took it awayThis shows his nostalgia for human society.

He appears the epitomy of the practical guy on the island and confesses to himself the money is worthless to him, and yet he keeps it. It has just a social worth, and hence reminds us that Crusoe can not escape the fact he is a social animal still. We should be reminded of this in order to appreciate that Crusoe neevr submits to becoming a savage. He constantly has society in mind and so constantly craves it. In Defoe’s words, Guy is a creature so formed for society, that it might not only be stated that it is not good for him to be alone, however’t is truly difficult he ought to be alone.

Talking about Crusoe’s mindset on the ilsand, Defoe explains his “invincible patience suggested under the worst misery.”This highlights the idea of the self as a social being for whom solitude was the worst condition and singular island life, the cruellest of circumstances. Through solitude Crusoe experiences a consistent fear of intrusion. Crusoe’s knowledge of living among society makes the absence of it so much more of a burden to bear. He is an informed man, separated from mankind to combat for survival among nature.

His isolation,”identifies him with the state of nature that precedes society, a condition in which guy might not live alone not since he was godlike, however because he was bestial.”Defoe’s remarks here on the moral ramifications of the self are derived from Aristotle’s view that male who might live alone should be a God or a monster. It is no wonder that Crusoe felt such a desire after the society of his fellow animals on the sighting of a ship after so long without business.

This expresses Crusoe’s dilemma in the title, he is torn in between his new-found self that has actually outgrown his solitary island life and the business of society that he so desperately longs for.

The exploration of the self is a consider Defoe’s appeal as it addresses the whole mankind. James Sutherland said,”To check out Robinson Crusoe is to be obliged to confront all sorts of physical problems that civilised male has long given that forgotten. It remains in some sense to retrace the history of the
human race; it is certainly to look again with the unspoilt eye of youth on many things that a person had long considering that ceased to see at all.”There is a guaranteed profundity in Robinson’s journey of self-discovery, which might describe the success of the unique even now. As a reader we understand the importance of his journey as that of the self.

Crusoe himself need to be aware of the extreme nature of his experience because, despite sensations of ardent loneliness, he still regrets the want of the society of his fellow animals. Crusoe has actually lived on the island for twenty-three years. He has actually had to produce brand-new values and essentially had to find a factor for living. It is human nature to battle for life, however, after twenty-three years, Crusoe needs to find mental and spiritual meaning in his singular life. Ian Watt explains the success of the story as an exploration of the self as the readers, rejoice to discover that seclusion can be the start of a brand-new awareness of the potentialities of the person … They envision themselves to be sharing each representative action in his conquest of the environment, and carry out with him a heartening recapitulation of humankind’s success story.

The power of the story may originate from the bare facts of his survival in solitude but Defoe’s representation of the self and our consequent admiration for Crusoe, is for what he attains despite his solitude. This in recognition of human beings as social beings, for whom human business is not simply a pleasure, but a need.


PrimaryNovak, Maximillian.E. Defoe & & the Nature of Male. London: Oxford University Press, 1963.

Richetti, John.J. Defoe’s Stories: Situations and Structures. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975.

Rogers, Pat. Robinson Crusoe. London: G. Allen & & Unwin, 1979.

Seidel, Michael. Robinson Crusoe: island myths and the book. Boston: Twayne, c1991.

Watt, Ian. “Robinson Crusoe as a misconception. An Essay in Criticism.”
1951SecondaryFlorman, Ben and Henriksen, John. SparkNote on Robinson Crusoe. 30 Nov. 2007

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