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Lamis Alkhatib English 10 Robinson Crusoe Project Essay

February 14, 2011. Ms. Beatriz Ramirez

In Daniel Defoes novel, Robinson Crusoe, we can see how much philosophy and religion influenced it. Robinson Crusoe demonstrates that John Locke's principle of tolerance actually entails exclusions, for Crusoe ultimately destroys the cannibals to protect his supposedly liberal order. As for religion, Crusoe uses religious language, imagery, and Biblical references throughout the novel. Not to mention that he converts Friday to Christianity. As mentioned earlier, Crusoe uses religious language, imagery, and Biblical references throughout the novel. From the beginning of his life story, Crusoe presents events both from his point of view and from a Christian perspective. When he tells the story of his past, he looks at it as if from the eyes of the convert who now constantly sees the workings of Providence. For example, when he narrates his first shipwreck, he says ... Providence, as in such cases generally it does, resolved to leave me entirely without excuse. For if I would not take this for a deliverance, the next was to be such a one as the worst and most hardened wretch among us would confess both the danger and the mercy"; other than just his first shipwreck, Crusoe is also telling of what he ignored then as what he understands now as Gods warning. Regardless of all his bad experience at sea, Crusoe persists in trying to make a sea voyage. As his other encounters with the sea demonstrate, this is not a good idea. This time, he seems to actually pay attention to the warning when he draws the boat ashore without having completed a lap of the island. The island has truly become his home, and hes afraid of leaving it and never seeing it again. Its important to consider that the idea of escape is mentioned very

briefly and without much enthusiasm. The minute the idea crosses his mind, misfortune almost takes place. Thus Robinson's devotion to Providence becomes even stricter, and does not plan on escaping any time soon. The anniversary of his shipwreck becomes sort of a holiday to honor Providence. Crusoe is learning to accept life as it comes, without trying to interfere and take too much control over his fate. In other words, Crusoe is learning to let fate take its course. The conversation Robinson Crusoe had with his father about leaving home can be portrayed from a religious point of view. Crusoe keeps referring to leaving home without his father's permission as his "original sin". Not only does he associate God and his father but overlooks his sin against his father as a sin against God as well. On his first voyage, Crusoe says: "...my conscience, which was not yet come to the pitch of hardness to which it has been since, reproached me with the contempt of advice and the breach of my duty to God and my Father". In the Puritan family structure, the father was regarded as God's assistant, or deputy. Rejecting his father's advice, Crusoe is committing Adam and Eve's sin of disobedience. For Crusoe, as for Adam and Eve, disobedience grows out of restlessness and discontent with the station God assigned. When Crusoe is cast ashore on a deserted island, he sees his situation as the fulfillment of what his father had said; that if Crusoe did not follow his advice, Crusoe would find himself alone with no help of any kind. John Locke was a providential philosopher who mainly believed that the right to defend oneself or ones state was in the hands of that particular person.; he believed that people control their own destiny and choose their own path (this belief is also known as The Hand of God). Lockes ideals compare to Robinson Crusoes situation based on Robinsons realization of the fact that he should stop trying to take control of everything and as mentioned before, let fate take its course. As well as Lockes transition of beliefs from predetermination to providential.

However, Hobbes beliefs opposed Lockes beliefs, for he was more of a Calvinistic thinker. He believed in central authority over all aspects of life. This ties into Crusoes situation because, originally, Crusoe questions Gods master plan as well as the authority figures of good nature. Another way Hobbes ideas influenced Defoes novel is that he basically modeled the island after the monarchal views of Hobbes. Finally, George Berkeley was more of a Lutheran philosopher. He stated that any knowledge of the world is gained through the perception of the individual. We can see this in the way Crusoe describes his ordeal; the way he describes it is our only way of knowing what happened. This idea is also most important when related to the novel because of the way Crusoe perceives Gods actions. In the novel, Crusoe begins to develop sort of a more optimistic outlook towards all the unfortunate events hes had to experience and, thus, creates a physical and mental utopia for himself. By doing this, he broke through the mold in which both the English society and his parents had set out for him whilst he was stranded with nothing but his thoughts and fears. So, basically, Defoe is really criticizing the society in which he lived in saying that the only truly peaceful and loving society is that which contains on person (as in Robinson Crusoe); maybe this is not the society in which humans are capable of living in. Just as Crusoe eventually saw his situation optimistically, the author is saying that a society which is thinks less critically of itself is one that is closer to what is known as utopia.