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Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Book Review: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

"Robinson Crusoe" is a novel by the British writer Daniel Defoe. The book was first published on April 25, 1719. 

This novel is considered to be the first novel written in English in the form of a diary and enjoys the title of Britain's first realistic novel. 

The main structure is: the protagonist overcomes difficulties with wisdom and bravery through personal efforts, which shows the social atmosphere of pursuing adventure and advocating personal struggle at that time.

The work mainly tells the story that the protagonist Robinson Crusoe (Robinson Crusoe) was born into a middle-class family and aspired to travel all over the world in his life. 

Once encountered a storm on the way to sail in Africa, he drifted to an uninhabited desert island alone and began a life isolated from the world. 

With his strong will and unremitting efforts, he survived tenaciously on the desert island. After living on the island for 28 years, 2 months, and 19 days, he was finally able to return to his hometown. 

This novel was created by Defoe and inspired by a true story at that time. In September 1704, a Scottish sailor named Alexander Selkirk had a quarrel with the captain and was abandoned by the captain in the Atlantic Ocean. 

After living on a desert island for 4 years and 4 months, he was rescued by Captain Woods Rogers. 

Defoe took the legendary story of Selkirk as the blueprint, devoted his years of sea experience and experience to the characters, and made full use of his rich imagination for literary processing, making "Robinson" not only a primary and secondary school at that time. 

He is a hero in the eyes of the bourgeoisie and has become the first idealized emerging bourgeois in Western literature. 

Years after the novel was published, it has been translated into many languages and widely circulated all over the world, and has been adapted into movies and TV series many times.


About the AuthorDaniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe (Daniel Defoe 1660-1731), the father of English novels, is a groundbreaking legendary master in English literature.

Born into a wealthy merchant family in London. He is the third among three brothers and sisters, and his father ran a slaughtering business. 

Defoe received a secondary education and believed in a Presbyterian denomination that was not part of the Anglican Church. 

Due to family influence and Protestant school education, he had become a respectable small businessman at the age of twenty.

At the age of five or six, he experienced three major disasters in London: the plague, the fire, and the Dutch-British War. When he was about ten years old, his mother died. During school, that is a lot of reading and learning to write.

As an adult, he engaged in business activities and went bankrupt several times. 

He built all his hopes in his business. He has been in the cigarette business, a middleman in underwear making, and a factory. 

British capitalism, which was in the stage of primitive accumulation, brought him many benefits, carriages, housing, and a "joyful life". 

However, because he believed in Protestantism, opposed the rule and oppression of the Anglican Church, published pamphlets to sting the government, and engaged in political activities, he was arrested and imprisoned in 1702. 

Later, he was arrested several times, all because of his remarks, the newspapers and periodicals he ran, and the political and economic pamphlets he published. 

Therefore, his life was spent in prison and bankruptcy, and he still failed to realize his ideal of becoming a big businessman and a rich man.

He paid attention to the current situation and wrote a large number of political satires and political articles. 

He was convicted of writing and was imprisoned for a time. Later, he founded the "Review", which became the pioneer of the British newspaper industry.

At the age of 59, he published his first novel "Robinson Crusoe". 

For the first time, with shocking realism and wonderful stories of ups and downs, the novel created a classic character in the history of world literature-adventurous, the eternal "Robinson Robinson" who is uncompromising, loves traveling, has a deep love for the sea, is devout to faith, and is extremely shrewd in business and practical affairs.

In the following 12 years, Defoe successively published many novels, poems, biographies, and other works, establishing his status as a literary master and being welcomed by readers. 

In the end, he died in the hostel where he was staying because of avoiding debts.

Contents Introduction: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe 

"Robinson Crusoe," tells the story of a British sailor Robinson Crusoe in the 17th century who was not satisfied with the mediocre and comfortable life of the middle class, and went to sea many times to operate. 

On a trip to Africa to traffic black slaves, he was killed at sea and fell to a deserted island. 

With his indomitable tenacious will, relying on his personal wisdom and hard work, he earns food and builds houses, makes utensils and raises animals, opens up wasteland and farms, overcomes all kinds of difficulties, and finally returns to civilized society.

With an Introduction and Notes by Doreen Roberts, Rutherford College, University of Kent at Canterbury From its first publication in 1719, Robinson Crusoe has been printed in over 700 editions. 

It has inspired almost every conceivable kind of imitation and variation and has been the subject of plays, operas, cartoons, and computer games. 

The character of Crusoe has entered the consciousness of each succeeding generation as readers add their own interpretation to the adventures so thrillingly 'recorded' by Defoe. 

Praised by eminent figures and such as Coleridge, Rousse Wordsworth, this perennially popular book was cited by Karl Marx in Das Kapital to illustrate economic theory. 

However, it is readers of all ages over the last 280 years who have given Robinson Crusoe its abiding position as a classic tale of adventure.

Character Introduction: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe


In the mid-17th century, Robinson Crusoe was born in a middle-class family in England. According to his father's arrangement, he could have lived a peaceful and affluent life relying on his wealthy family property. 

However. Robinson, who wanted to go out for a living, became a sailor full of adventure and excitement, sailing on the rough and dangerous sea. Later, he suffered a shipwreck and was exiled to a deserted island. 

In an extremely isolated situation, Robinson, an exiled British aristocrat, used the geographical orientation marks, astronomical human observations, sun shift and tidal change calculation methods, etc, and mysteries trained in the sailor era. 

On the same day, he recorded his life on a deserted island and waited for the opportunity to escape from the desperate situation at any time. 

Robinson rescued the cannibal boy Friday on the self-made calendar Friday. Friday was taken to the deserted island by the cannibals as a sacrificial sacrifice, and he could not return to his tribe. 

As the two get along day and night, Robinson slowly changes himself into the face of a person of a different race, religion, and culture from his own, and the two develop a friendship that is both father and friend. 

This friendship, which was lacking in the civilized world, became the spiritual pillar for Robinson to live on a desert island for more than 20 years.


Friday is a savage who was almost eaten by a savage from another tribe on the beach, but Robinson finally saved him. It happened to be Friday, so Robinson named him "Friday". 

It is also because of the sincere friendship between them that he survived and returned to his hometown. 

Friday is a simple, loyal friend and a wise brave man. He knows how to repay his kindness, is loyal and responsible, and has strong adaptability. 

He and Robinson have cooperated and used different skills to spend many years on the island. Friday’s arrival made Robinson realize his dream of returning home, and he himself became Robinson's assistant. 

Friday asks to be motivated and quickly integrate into the life of civilized people. He is an optimistic and lovely person.

Excerpts from the original text

Especially young people, as a rule, should follow the guidance of reason at such moments. However, they are not ashamed of sin, but of repenting; they are not ashamed of doing stupid things, but of reforming them. In fact, if they are enlightened, others will regard them as smart people. 

If a person is really enlightened, he must realize that true happiness is not being saved by God from suffering but being saved from the abyss of sin.

In human emotions, there is often a mysterious driving force. Once this driving force is attracted by a certain goal, it will prompt our soul to rush towards that goal with a kind of enthusiasm and impulsiveness, no matter if it is a visible goal. It is still an invisible goal in our own mind's imagination; if we don't reach the goal, we will suffer endlessly. ---Quoted from page 26 

How frequently, in the course of our lives, the evil which in itself the most dreadful to us, is often the very means or door of our deliverance, by which alone we can be raised again from the affliction we are fallen into. ---Quoted from Page 201 Wreck of a Spanish Ship

Robinson Crusoe's Book Summary

"Robinson Crusoe" is the first foreign novel I read in my memory. When I was a child, I was fascinated by it: alone! island! Adventures! 

That day, I accidentally chatted about this novel with a friend, and suddenly thought, hey, why not read it again? Time has passed, maybe you can read something new?

Sure enough, reading it now, I feel that this is not only an adventure story but also a notebook of political economy in the 17th century. 

Robinson went to sea in 1659 when his accident happened, and he left the isolated island in the Caribbean in 1687, which happened to be the period when the British Empire began to rise, but it had not yet fully emerged from competitors such as Spain, the Netherlands, and France.

How did Britain stand out from the crowd of colonialist countries? This is the question that another book, Empire (Naill Ferguson), tries to answer. 

"At the end of the day, it's just a remote island in Northwest Europe." 

His analysis: the British are better pirates than the Spaniards; they took over the Netherlands through the Glorious Revolution—Prince William of the Netherlands and Queen Mary of England co-ruled in 1689 Britain, in his view, was a reorganization of British and Dutch assets; squeezed out France through the Seven Years War-why can it beat France? Because Britain used the modern financial system earlier than France, borrowed money to fight wars, and created a new world.

These are just macro-analysis, so Robinson, who pioneered on desert islands, farmed, domesticated wild animals, and made his own production tools, what does Robinson have to do with all of this?

Max Weber has thought about this more directly than Naill Ferguson. "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism" is essentially a rectification of the four words "capitalism" that have been stigmatized by Marx. 

In his view, the driving force of the spirit of early capitalism is not—at least not only—greed, fraud, and exploitation, but the spirit of hard work, enterprise, self-denial, and these qualities, according to Weber, is rooted in Protestant ethics.

Robinson keeps reminding me of the "new man of capitalism" described by Weber. In the contemporary politically correct discourse system, the image of colonialists is often extremely evil, and the pioneering side of early colonists is often forgotten. 

However, in the 17th and 18th centuries, transportation, communication, medical care, and means of production were extremely underdeveloped. 

Under the current situation, those who are willing to risk their lives and leave their hometowns to make a living in wild and backward Canada, the Caribbean, and Africa are often the most industrious and brave people. 

Robinson Robinson is a typical example of this group of people. When he was first exiled to an isolated island, he was poor and white, and he might die of starvation or illness at any time. 

Twenty-eight years later, with his own hands, he built two "houses" and Two boats, raising a group of goats, planting cornfields, and owning their own vineyards, the hardships can be imagined. 

If at the beginning readers can't help but sympathize with Robinson's doom, by the second half of the book, sympathy has gradually turned into respect-to be exact, not only a respect for him personally but also a respect for the human species. tribute.

Interestingly, Robinson's "mental journey" also fits with Weber's capitalist newcomers. Before living on an isolated island, he was mentally a libertine, but with a high fever that almost killed him, he suddenly saw God: 

"Why should God save me? How can I repay his intention?" 

On the isolated island The longer he stayed, the more pious his faith became, and in the end, faith became the most powerful driving force for his survival. 

In this way, the encounter turned into a call, and the abandonment became saved. God closed one door for him but also opened another door. In 28 years, what he created on the isolated island was not only a house, farmland, and livestock but also a temple for pilgrimage.

In Weber's view, the reason why the spirit of capitalism emerged in Protestant countries, rather than in traditionally Catholic countries or Eastern countries, is essential because Protestant ethics first realized the unity of "righteousness and profit" in the discourse system: 

"Traditionalism" shames In terms of profit, those who only seek huge profits love wealth rather than creation itself." 

It is the Protestant ethics that combines hard work and wealth creation, making "self-denial and compound interest" a road to heaven. 

When Robinson stayed on the island for 23 years, there was still no sign of leaving, but by then he "wouldn't mind spending the rest of his life on the island at all", because by then he had opened up a wilderness with hard work. 

Island, he felt that he had lived up to God's good intentions, and he could go to heaven leisurely and whistling.

Robinson Crusoe's Book Reviews

More than 20 years ago, when I read "Robinson Crusoe", I felt that it was really fun. One person can be a king on a deserted island; now that I have re-read this book, my perception is completely different, and I appreciate it more when people are in adversity. The spirit and strength that burst forth.

The story of "Robinson Crusoe" is simple, simple, and very touching. A sailor, Robinson Crusoe, was exiled to an uninhabited desert island for 28 years because of the sinking of his ship. With nowhere to go, he began to think of ways to save himself-making rafts, building houses, growing food, raising livestock, and trying his best to fight against nature. 

Relying on his own hands and wisdom, he spent decades turning this deserted island into a "Xanadu". He also bravely rescued an aboriginal "Friday" and lived with him. But when he was ready to live on a deserted island, he got an opportunity by chance and finally returned to England.

Reading this book, we can easily be moved by Robinson's spirit of self-improvement, hard work, and courage to create. But why can Robinson have this spirit? Why can a person stick to it? Today, I would like to share with you Robinson's mental journey and his own insights through some fragments in the book.

 1. The psychological monologue just after the shipwreck

  It is true that you are alone and alone, this is a fact. But, don't you think about it, where are your companions? where did they go Were there not eleven of you when you boarded together? So where did the other ten go? Why are they dead and you are the only one left alive? Should we be strong on this isolated island, or should we go to them?

  2. Mental balance after the exile

  I compare the current disasters and disadvantages one by one to make myself content and safe. According to the format of business bookkeeping, I divided it into "debits" and "credits", and listed my luck and misfortune, advantages, and disadvantages fairly.

  Misfortune: I am stranded on a deserted island, and it is hopeless to get out of this predicament; Fortune: I am the only child, and all the companions on the boat are buried in the sea;

  Misfortune: I have no clothes to wear; Fortune: I am in the tropics, even if I have clothes, I can’t wear them. . .

  3. Start to believe in faith

  I don’t believe in religion, and I never restrict my behavior to religious precepts. I think everything is accidental, or simply attributed to God’s will, and I never ask for the will of the Creator and the principles governing all things in the world. But when I saw barley grow here, though the climate was unsuitable for corn, and I knew nothing about how it grew, I was naturally amazed, and it occurred to me that this could only be a miracle of God. --No one sows a seed and it produces a crop. I also thought that this is what God did to allow me to survive on this deserted island.

  4. Feelings when I was sick

  But now, I am sick, and the tragic situation of death is gradually presented in front of me. I have sinned so badly that I have offended God, so now God has come to punish me, to deal me with an extraordinary blow, to treat me with this kind of vengeance.

  Thinking of this, I yelled again: "God, save me! I have nowhere to go!"

  5. After the illness

  I always thought of this sentence in the "Bible": "I will save you "But I deeply feel that rescue is absolutely impossible, so I dare not have any extravagant hopes for it. Just when I felt discouraged and disappointed by this kind of thought, I suddenly realized: I only wanted God to save me from the current predicament, but I didn't think that I had already been saved. So, I asked myself: Am I not saved from the disease? Isn't this a miracle?

  6. The feeling of the first anniversary

  From September 13th to today, I just came to the desert island for the first anniversary. This is an unfortunate day. I counted the notches on the post and found that I had been ashore for 365 days. I set this day as a day of fasting and held a religious ceremony. I knelt down on the ground with extreme piety and humility, asking God to repent of my crimes, accept his just punishment for me, and ask him to have mercy on me and forgive me through Jesus Christ. I.

  7. Thoughts on wealth

  Facts and experience have taught me that all things in the world are only useful and are the most precious. Anything that has accumulated too much should be given to others; what we can enjoy is at most what we can use, and it is useless to have too much.

  8. Thoughts on Gratitude

  I have learned to look more at the bright side of my life and less at the dark side; to think more about the enjoyment I have and less about the lack. It is hard to express the comfort I felt in this attitude. Here, I write these words, hoping that those who are not satisfied will be awakened: the reason why they cannot enjoy God's gifts comfortably is that they are always expecting and coveting what they have not yet got. I feel that our constant dissatisfaction with the lack of something comes from a lack of gratitude for what we have.

  9. Thinking about reality

  I began to blame myself for my temper of being unaware of happiness in the midst of blessings, blaming myself for not complaining about my lonely life. Now, I'd give anything to get me back on shore! However, ordinary mortals will never see the superiority of our original environment if we don’t personally experience a worse environment;

  10. After saving Friday

  God's arrangement for the world has its own will. In his governance of all things he created, on the one hand, he deprived many creatures of the world of talent and conscience, on the other hand, he still endowed They have the same abilities, the same rationality, the same emotions, the same benevolence and sense of responsibility as our civilized people, and they also endow them with the same hatred and hatred;

  11. Discuss God and the devil with Friday

  Asked, "Since God is stronger and more powerful than the devil, why doesn't God kill the devil so that he won't do evil again?" 

      I replied: God will punish the devil severely, and the devil must be punished. Judgment, and will be thrown into the bottomless abyss, endure the tempering of hellfire, and never turn over. "

  He asked me again: "Finally, definitely, I don't understand. But why not kill the devil now? Why not kill the devil long ago? "

  I answer:" If you ask me like this, it is tantamount to asking why God didn't kill you and me, because we also sinned against God. God keeps us to give us the opportunity to repent and to be forgiven.

  Robinson's twenty-eight years of life on the desert island were actually thinking about the meaning of his own life and God's arrangement for his life. In the past 28 years, he has established a belief, and it is this belief that allows him to sustain and live a more fulfilling and happier life.

  I personally don't believe in religion, but I think people need faith. Faith is not to believe in God or the Lord in a narrow sense, but to set a goal for one's own life and life, and to find a destination for one's heart.

  Most people live hard not because they have too little material, but because they have no pursuit and no ideals and get confused. Perhaps the solution is to start with small things, find out our pursuit of life little by little, explore the meaning of life, and gradually build up our beliefs.

  Read "Robinson Crusoe" to find the power of faith.

Theme Analysis: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Struggle for Survival

The island in the work is actually England in the author’s mind. Before the Renaissance, the environment on the British Isle was so free and fascinating, but after the emergence of industry, the tranquility of the island was broken, followed by It was the chugging of machines and the din of humans. 

So in addition to Robinson's enterprising spirit, another factor that attracts readers to this novel is the free environment of the island—an independent space far away from the hustle and bustle and industrial civilization.

Robinson's experience on the island represents the dream in people's hearts - with their own hands, people can also create their ideal paradise on earth. 

The author not only makes a gripping description of Robinson's adventures and tribulations but more importantly, as a writer with typical emerging bourgeois consciousness, the author brings people's diligence, bravery, wisdom, and creativity to the fore in his works. 

It has reached an unprecedented height, affirming the value of people. He firmly believes that human beings, as the spirit of all things, have the ability to overcome difficulties, conquer nature, and finally reach the shore of victory. 

Colonial Perspective

From the perspective of post-colonial criticism, the interpretation of colonial literature on the extraterritorial world is often narrated through the identity of colonizers and explorers. Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe" is a typical example. 

"Robinson Crusoe" reproduces the process of early British colonialism and imperialism expanding overseas for colonial development and building a colonial empire in the form of fables. 

It is an early imperial text of European colonialism engaged in colonial practice. It reads between the lines It is full of colonialist discourse and strong imperial and colonial consciousness.

"Robinson Crusoe" is a classic text that adapts to the new trend of western historical and cultural development. 

From the creative labor of human beings, it further sees the great role of human ability, so as to promote human intelligence and labor creative ability and deny The absurd theory of God being omnipotent and that God created everything. 

Through Robinson Robinson's 28 years of arduous experience on the desert island, the work symbolically shows the basic trajectory of human development, thus proposing the theme of the times that labor creates history. 

On the surface, this is an adventure novel, and the storyline is simple and straightforward. However, if interpreted by post-colonial critical theory, "Robinson Crusoe" reflects the idea of colonialism. 

The protagonist of this novel is a typical bourgeois colonialist who settles on the desert island and colonizes the desert island. 

He not only controls the entire desert island but also conquers his companions. This novel calls for the study of colonial content, and in fact, the tendency of colonialism can be seen in every aspect of this novel.

Muhiuddin Alam is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of He serves as a consistent contributor to various websites and publications, including Medium, Quora, Reddit, Linkedin, Substack, Vocal, Flipboard, and Amazon KDP. Alam personally read numerous books and, for the past 10 years, has been providing book recommendations and reviews. Find Me: About Me & Google Knowledge Panel.

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