Literary Criticism Of Colonialism In Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe

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Robinson Crusoe Literary Criticism
Essay
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe is a tale based of the real survival of a Scottish merchant marooned on a Caribbean island during the early 1700s. In Expanding Empires, Expanding Selves : Colonialism, the novel and Robinson Crusoe by, Brett C. McInelly (2003 John Hopkins University Press). Brett C. McInelly, talks about British and European colonialism of the era, religious conversion, expansion of trade, and the mastering of oneself and destiny In the novel. Robinson Crusoe is a great example of literature, culture and european ideology of the 18th century. I agree with with McInelly (2003) on how the book makes colonialism and religious conversion a main theme of Robinson Crusoe. Furthermore how
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This continued colonialism is an important theme for the 18th century. “In Robinson Crusoe, Defoe transforms colonialism through the power of fictional representation into the adventures of a single man, who masters an island, his native companion and himself” (McInelly). I agree that Robinson Crusoe is a representation of colonial ideas and european ideology exaggerated. McInelly’s literary criticism of Robinson Crusoe is very accurate to the ideas and themes of the book and the era. This book is a good example of how far the world has come in ideas and morals since then. Defoe represents the power of european colonialism and the impact it had to the americas. A good example of this is “My island was now peopled, and I thought myself very rich in subjects; and it was a merry reflection, which I frequently made, how like a king I looked. First of all, the whole country was my own mere property, Baso that I had an undoubted right of dominion. Secondly, my people were perfectly subjected. I was absolute lord and lawgiver, they all owed their lives to me, and were ready to lay down their lives, if there had been occasion of it, for me” (Defoe 234). Cursoe towards the end of the book has mastered the island to the point where he calls himself a “king”. This is a mixture of the idea that he has …show more content…
Daniel Defoe was a man of adventure and doing what he wanted to do. Defoe was a writer, political journalist, merchant, spy, and was evan part of a failed revolution to over through the king of England in the late 1600s. Defoe himself was a believer in mastering oneself and dystany. One example of Crusoe becoming a master of himself is “I learned to look more upon the bright side of my condition, and less upon the dark side, and to consider what I enjoyed, rather than what I wanted : and this gave me sometimes such secret comforts, that I cannot express them ; and which I take notice of here, to put those discontented people in mind of it, who cannot enjoy comfortably what God has given them, because they see and covet something that he has not given them. All our discontents about what we want appeared to me to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have.” (Defoe 135). Crusoe struggles with being completely taken of of society, people are social animals but here Crusoe recognizes the beauty of his so called “prison” and how it helped him find what was really important to himself. Furthermore as his time progresses on the island he begins to take more control of himself and his wild surroundings treating it like he is setting up a life long home there. One example of this is, “Let’s first make it! I’ll warrant i’ll find some was or other to get it anong when ‘tis

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