Robinson Crusoe and Friday finally have a ship and a way off the island. Crusoe relates his journey home and how he resolves the outstanding issues he left behind in his life. He meets with one final harrowing adventure on his journey home and uses it to lead into the final thoughts of his great tale. So ends one of the greatest adventures ever written and so began the great art of the English novel. Daniel Defoe created a character that has influenced every writer and every reader’s imagination since he wrote this incredible book.
It has been an uncommon pleasure to read this difficult book and to make my way through the unusual language of Mr. Defoe. Perhaps by reading him, one can learn to think a bit like him. With great language comes great subtlety of thought.
By the way, Defoe did write a sequel to this book. It’s called ‘The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.’ Perhaps a podcast of that book should be…
Crusoe and Friday see what looks like an English ship. But what does this ship bring? This is an action-packed section of the book. Crusoe uses every bit of his cunning and skill to defend himself and Friday while never ceasing to maintain his hope of rescue.
Robinson Crusoe and Friday get many surprises as they battle cannibals. The action explodes as they are forced to think and act quickly to save lives. Crusoe continues to be amazed at the strength of Friday’s character and his incredible loyalty.
Crusoe builds his friendship with Friday, teaching him English, Christianity, hunting with a gun, and working with tools. The two men develop a deep and trusting bond once Crusoe gets over his struggles with suspicion and doubts about Friday’s intentions. We find ourselves at that part of the novel that best illustrates what many critics of Defoe’s novel say is a glorification of English colonialism and empire. To be sure, that is part of what is going on in the book. However, there is more to it than that. Defoe, at times, seems close to sowing seeds of doubt about the English world he lived in and its beliefs about its place in the world. Pay very close attention to the conversations between Friday and Crusoe. They move in directions entirely unanticipated by Crusoe. He is constantly surprised by how loyal, intelligent, and civilized Friday turns out to be in his very deepest nature.
Cannibals come to Crusoe’s island and make him believe there is a possibility of confrontation. But in this section of the book Crusoe meets his companion, Friday. He considers this man to be his servant and slave. An odd assumption since it is actually he, Robinson Crusoe, who is the intruder in Friday’s part of the world. This must have something to do with the way certain nations operated in those days and, in some cases, still do.
At any rate, Crusoe begins to teach Friday English and becomes more assured of their friendship.