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Robinson Crusoe

Theme

The theme of a novel refers to the main idea or concern in a story.



Main themes

Courage and Determination
Robinson Crusoe’s parents want him to become a lawyer but Crusoe is
determined to become a sailor. He leaves home without his parents’
blessing and works hard to become a good sailor.
He shows great courage when he escapes from his Turkish master.
He ensures he has guns and food before he escapes.
When he is shipwrecked on a deserted island, Crusoe overcomes great
obstacles to survive. He struggles alone in order to carry food, equipment
and other materials from the ship so that he can make a life for himself until
he is rescued. He builds two homes, a raft and a canoe. He is also able to
make tools and plant enough food for himself and his companions.
He shows great courage when he saves Friday, Friday’s father, the Spaniard
and the second English sea captain. He does all this
at the risk of being captured and eaten by the cannibals!

Importance of Hard Work
It is important to work hard as this makes you disciplined and successful
in life. Robinson Crusoe is a good example of a man who is fearless,
positive and hard-working. Instead of complaining about his fate,
he looks at the situation and does what is needed to make the situation
better. For example, he salvages useful items from the sinking ship,
makes a canoe and safe shelters for himself, and hunt for food.
He creates a comfortable life for himself and is able to survive on
the island for twenty-eight years.

Friendship and Loyalty
Humans need friendship and good relationships with others.
When Crusoe runs away to London, he makes friends with
a ship’s captain who grows to like and trust him. He teaches
Crusoe mathematics and navigation until Crusoe becomes a good sailor.
Crusoe is a friendly and sociable person. The captain invites
Crusoe to go with him to Guinea, thus starting Crusoe’s involvement
in business and sailing. Crusoe also makes many friends while farming in Brazil.
When Crusoe gets shipwrecked on the island, he is desolate
and miserable. Deprived of human company, he finds comfort
and companionship with two dogs he rescues from the shipwreck,
the parrot and the cats.
During his twenty-fifth year on the island, he manages to
save a savage from a group of cannibals who land on the island.
This man is so grateful that he wants to be Crusoe’s slave.
However, Crusoe prefers him to be a friend. Crusoe teaches
him to eat animal flesh, speak English and share his religious beliefs.
Friday, as Crusoe calls him, becomes his faithful companion and friend.
Crusoe also becomes a friend to the Spanish and English mutineers
who were left on the island. He solves their disputes
and helps them to form friendships with each other.

Relationship with Nature
Humans are part of Nature and, therefore, should live and work
harmony with Nature. Crusoe is a man at peace with Nature.
He loves the sea and the outdoors. So when he is marooned
on the island and finds himself alone with only Nature
as his companion, he adapts easily.
He is quick to use things from Nature to help him survive.
He uses the trees and plants to build himself a canoe and
homes, ant to provide him with food.



Sub-Themes / Minor Themes


Gratitude

Friday is dedicated to Crusoe, the man who saves
him from being eaten by the cannibals.
The second English ship’s captain is grateful
to Crusoe for rescuing him from the mutineers.

Power and Control
Crusoe lives on the deserted island for twenty-eight years.
He makes it his comfortable home. He has control over Nature there.
During his rescue of Friday, he kills a cannibal. A grateful Friday
is willing to be his slave. Crusoe teaches Friday to speak in
English and about his religious beliefs. Thus, Crusoe has power over Friday.
Crusoe is viewed as owner and lord of the island. Crusoe is also
able to bring peace between the Spanish and the English
living on the island. He divides the island between the two
groups and this proves his control over the island and its inhabitants.

Faith in God
Robinson Crusoe has great faith in God. He does not give up
hope when he is shipwrecked and finds himself all alone
on a deserted island. His faith that God will sustain him
through the many trials in life keeps him going.
Crusoe says, ‘All… God for an answer.” (p. 41, para. 3)
Crusoe’s strong belief in God is also seen when he teaches
Friday about the goodness and power that comes with having faith in God.

Good versus Evil
Robinson Crusoe shows that good triumphs over
evil when he helps Friday to escape from the cannibals.
Crusoe also teaches Friday about God’s
goodness and how it triumphs over the Devil’s evilness.
The mutineers who are disloyal to their captain are
finally overcome by the ‘good’ forces of Crusoe and Friday.

[ Glossary ]

Copyright © 2007. Latifah Yusof Embun. Sung Siew Secondary School. All Rights Reserved.