Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe. 241 Pages.
Robinson Crusoe is introduced as a young man from York, England, born in the year 1632 to a well-off family. His father wanted to see him become a lawyer, but Robinson yearned instead to become a sailor. In short, even after his father attempts to persuade him against it, Robinson runs away and secures passage on a ship. Soon after this, his troubles at sea begin, and after several mishaps he ends up shipwrecked on an island in the Caribbean “on the coast of [South] America, near the mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque” (Defoe, extended title of the book).
Thinking back on this time, Crusoe comments:
But my ill fate push’d me on now with an obstinacy that nothing could resist; and tho’ I had several times loud calls from my reason and my more composed judgement to go home, yet I had no power to do it. I know not what to call this, nor will I urge, that it is a secret over-ruling decree that hurries us on to be the instruments of our own destruction, even tho’ it be before us, and that we rush upon it with our eyes open (Defoe, pg. 13).
The things I liked about this book are as follows:
Firstly, I like how relatable Crusoe is because of the hopes and fears he has. We are privy to the very pensive nature of Crusoe. In reality, the book is Comprised almost entirely of Crusoe’s thoughts; Crusoe thinks deeply about any course of action before he undertakes it, even though this course of action might end up being fruitless. Because of this, it helps us to see Crusoe as a very real person because his thoughts and fears are laid out so plainly and recognizably. This helps the story become alive and real for the reader. This is something that I’m likely to try in my own writing.
Defoe also does a very good job of writing clearly and concisely that we might understand him better. Even though the language of this novel, being written in 1710, is 300 years old, I rarely found that I couldn’t understand what Defoe was trying to explain. Some of the subjects of Crusoe’s thoughts and feelings are a bit hard to put into words, but Defoe has a very clear way of writing that makes these things understandable, and through this, more powerful to the effect they are trying to achieve in the reader.
What I didn’t like about the book:
The only thing I didn’t like about the book is that after all of the hardship that Crusoe endures, I think some of the sources of help Crusoe comes into seemed a bit too convenient. It almost seemed as if the book had to be wrapped up quickly.
My overall impression of this book is that it is a story of ingenuity and perseverance in the face of adversity, and overall, I liked it quite a lot. As said before, the writing in this story is clear and concise, and situations and ideas are presented in an interesting and engaging way to keep the reader invested in the story.