Capitalism and Individualism in Robinson Crusoe Essay

...Start of the Capitalism and Individualism in Robinson Crusoe Essay...

In popular imagination Daniel Defoe’s . Robinson Crusoe . has become an adventure story for children, for which the original novel is not responsible, but the abridged and bowdlerized versions must be blamed. A close reading of the original text reveals a novel of enormous significance. In many ways the novel can be said to be defining the modern citizen of capitalistic society. It is also widely regarded as being the first modern novel. In fact this latter claim is not unrelated to the previous proposition. The modern novel is not only a mirror to the modern psyche, but also bears an organic relationship to it.

...Middle of the Capitalism and Individualism in Robinson Crusoe Essay...

In one guarded moment, while ambling through a scenic valley, he rejoices in his sense of possession: “I was king and lord of all this country indefensibly, and had a right of possession; and if I could convey it, I might have it in inheritance as completely as any lord of a manor in England” (Defoe 92) This is indeed a novel conception of right, and one that was overtaking the feudal and aristocratic rights of old, rooted in primogeniture. Only through his pious diligence has Crusoe come to possess this piece of land. The example of Crusoe is a microcosm of capitalism staking its right over the commodity products of capitalistic diligence. This sense of mastery and possession eventually extends to people too. He saves a prisoner of the cannibals, who occasionally visit the island to ritually consume their captives. He enslaves him in turn, calls him Friday, converts him to Christianity, and more importantly, teaches him awe towards European civilization, and thereby establishes between them the colonial master-slave relationship. Most modern commentators find this aspect of the novel hard to stomach. James Joyce said of Robinson Crusoe, “He is the true prototype of the British colonist… The whole Anglo-Saxon spirit is in Crusoe: the manly independence, the unconscious cruelty, the persistence, the slow yet efficient intelligence, the sexual apathy, the calculating taciturnity” (qtd. in Phillips 33).

...End of the Capitalism and Individualism in Robinson Crusoe Essay...

New York: Penguin Classics, 2002. . Introductory Lectures on Political Economy . ; London, 1855. . Zaleski, Philip. “The Strange Shipwreck of . Robinson Crusoe . First Things: A Journal of Religion, Culture, and Public Life . 53 (May 1995): 38-44. .

Hire Writer Login and Download 3995 words (10.0 pages)

Did not find what you were looking for?

We will write for you an essay on any given topic for 3 hours

Order now!

Our Services

Add Your Comment

Related essays

Moral Economy in Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Locke’s Second Treatise of Government

Liu, Lydia H. “Robinson Crusoe’s Earthenware Pot.” Critical Inquiry Summer 1999: 728-745.Robinson Crusoe.Because European economies had not yet experienced a true form of capitalism, Locke’s ideas on property and ownership were forward-looking.Crusoe takes the money from the wrecked ships because there was no one else who could benefit from it.Readers in the revolutionary era were also deeply interested in issues of spirituality and independence and read Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe .

3074 words (7.7 pages)
The exploration of the self in Robinson Crusoe Essay

James Sutherland said,”To read Robinson Crusoe is to be compelled to face up to all sorts of physical problems that civilised man has long since forgotten.Being self-aware is a coping mechanism for Crusoe exemplified in his teaching his parrot to say, “Poor Robin Crusoe.Rousseau commends Crusoe and his mastery of nature through his existence, and indeed prosperity, on the island, as a triumph of man’s individualism and the self.‘In all the time of my solitary life, I never felt so earnest, so strong a desire after the society of my fellow-creatures, or so deep a regret at the want of it.’ (Robinson Crusoe).SparkNote on Robinson Crusoe.

1923 words (4.8 pages)
A Look At Daniel Defoes Robinson Crusoe English Literature Essay

Robinson Crusoe’s life as a dynamic trader arises out of his arrival in Lisbon after having spent more than twenty-eight years on the island.Robinson has the personality of a well-bred dealer whom setback or hardship does not break but whose perseverance and composure are magnified.In the following paragraph Crusoe goes on to observe: “…we did not know by what Light and Law these should be condemned; but that as God was necessarily, and by the Nature of His Being, infinitely holy and just, so it could not be, but that if these Creatures were all sentenced to Absence from himself; it was on Account of sinning against the Light…”.Halfway through the novel, Robinson, after a long rumination on whether religion allowed him to murder with...

2343 words (5.9 pages)
× We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Login with Social Media