The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (of York, Mariner Who lived Eight and Twenty Years all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, where in all the Men perished but Himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver'd by Pyrates) is a novel by Daniel Defoe, first published in 1719 and sometimes regarded as the first novel in English. The book is a fictional autobiography of the title character, an English castaway who spends 28 years on a remote tropical island near Venezuela, encountering Native Americans, captives, and mutineers before being rescued. This device, presenting an account of supposedly factual events, is known as a "false document" and gives a realistic frame story. (From feedbooks.com)
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Chapter 1 - Start in Life
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Can you believe that this novel was originally published around 300 years ago? When the story first came out, people thought it was an autobiography. This story has inspired many other works of fiction, television, and film. As you read, think of other books you've read that have a similar storyline and might have been inspired by this great work of literature. (This annotation contains an image)
There are two types of conflict, or problems, that the main character might have in a story. The first is called internal conflict. Internal conflict is when a character has an internal, or emotional, struggle that he or she must resolve through the course of the novel. Another type of conflict is external conflict. This is when the character has a problem with an outside force such as nature, society, or another person. Look for both types of conflict as you read this story. (This annotation contains a video)
Robinson's hesitation to disobey his father and explore the sea is an example of which type of conflict?
In addition to being an adventure story, Crusoe can be viewed as a cautionary tale from a religious perspective. The highlighted text underscores this aspect of the story by focusing on the guilt Crusoe feels for disobeying his father and God.
Based on the highlighted excerpt, what can the reader infer about Crusoe's feelings about the sea?
The author uses hyperbole, or extreme exaggeration, to describe Crusoe's reaction to the news that the ship had sprung a leak. Why does the author use this type of figurative language to characterize Crusoe?
You will notice that the narrator, Robinson Crusoe, uses a lot of figurative language in his descriptions. One type of figurative language that he will use is called a hyperbole. A hyperbole is an exaggeration used to make a point. Watch the video below to learn more about this type of figurative language. (This annotation contains a video)
Once again, the author describes Crusoe's heart as dead. He does this to illustrate the dire predicament of the ship sinking.
Chapter 2 - Slavery and Escape
Take note of the chapter titles within this novel. They will provide you with important clues as to what will happen next.
By blaming an evil influence for his decision to abandon his father's house, Crusoe is in essence doing what?
What does Crusoe imply when he describes the pirates?
The religious or spiritual advice in this narrative once again appears when Crusoe refers to his father's advice as prophetic. There also seems to be a resemblance between Rusoe's journey and that of the Prodigal Son (Biblical story).
Use the define feature to derive the meaning of the word contrivance, which of the words below would be a synonym of that word?
The term "Moors" has been used in Europe in a broader sense to refer to Muslims, especially those of Arab or Berber descent, whether living in Spain or North Africa (Wikipedia).
According to Crusoe's calculations, who or what currently inhabits the country he is visiting?
Tenerife is the largest and most populous island of the seven Canary Islands; it is also the most populated island of Spain (Wikipedia).
Chapter 3 - Wrecked on a Desert Island
The narrator, Crusoe, tells his story openly and honestly as if he is addressing the reader like a ______________.
Even though Crusoe has experienced difficult times at sea, he still seems more at home while on the water than when he is on land. The calmness of the sea contrasts with the unease that he feels when he is not traveling.
From which point of view is this story told?
Some of the narration in this story resembles the literary style, stream of consciousness, where the narrator rambles on and on about his every thought, and the author uses long convoluted sentences uninterrupted by dialogue.
According to the text, what is the first thing that Crusoe buys with his profits?
It's interesting that Crusoe would select the Portuguese captain as his heir and not someone from his family. He obviously owes the captain a debt of gratitude, but to name him sole heir seems extreme and shows that Crusoe does not have close relationships with people or family from his home.
In the highlighted phrase, the author uses personification to describe the wind; what is the intended effect of this literary device?
Although it is not explicitly stated, how does Crusoe almost meet his demise?
Once again the author uses personification to describe a phenomena and give an aspect of the sea its own body as if the sea itself is a character in the story. See the video clip below for a more detailed explanation of personification. (This annotation contains a video)
What does Crusoe mean when he uses the expression (idiom) "with a heavy heart"?
Chapter 4 - First Weeks on the Island
A dram is a unit for measuring liquid. (This annotation contains an image)
What does the author indirectly show about Crusoe's personality through the highlighted text?
Crusoe is successfully managing hostile conditions and environments. This demonstrates which of the following themes?
A grindstone is a round sharpening stone used for grinding or sharpening pointed tools. They are usually made from sandstone. Grindstone machines usually have pedals in which to speed and slow the stone to sharpen metal to the point of perfection according to Wikipedia. (This annotation contains an image)
As previously stated, many people thought that Robinson Crusoe was an autobiography. Which characteristics of this text might make people believe that the novel is a true story?
It seems like Crusoe seeks companionship when he tries to domesticate the kid, but then he is very matter-of-fact about killing it and eating it. (This annotation contains an image)
Apart from being an account of a man's adventures on a deserted island, explain how the book, Robinson Crusoe, seems to have spiritual significance. Support your answer with textual evidence.
Defoe uses the exchange back and forth between Good and Evil to illustrate Crusoe's internal conflict.
Crusoe creates a shelter to protect himself from beasts of prey; this is an example of which type of conflict?
Chapter 5 - Build a House - The Journal
In this chapter, the author has Crusoe record his thoughts and activities in a journal. There are plenty of specifics and exact details, so the text reads like a true account (nonfiction) rather than a piece of fiction.
Why did Crusoe not work on his chair on Sunday?
It is interesting that Crusoe spends so much time collecting items from the ship and creating a larger cave to accommodate them, especially since he thinks God has caused his shipwreck as punishment for his materialism.
What does Crusoe do with the lame goat?
The highlighted text again makes reference to spirituality or religion. He credits Providence for providing grains of corn. Conversely, he attributes the loss of all his wealth to God.
Crusoe's experiences on the island illustrate which of the following themes?
If Crusoe is stranded on a deserted island, why would he search for more gun powder?
Chapter 6 - Ill and Conscience-stricken
The author's use of maritime termonology is another reason that this tale resembles nonfiction.
Which type of literary device does the author use in the highlighted text?
The highlighted text clearly depicts Crusoe's inner conflict. On the one hand, he seems to be destined to travel the sea, but on the other hand, he feels like God has punished him for his selfishness.
What does Crusoe specifically ask for in his first prayer in many years?
When Crusoe states that he has found a cure for soul and body, what item can the reader assume will cure his soul?
Crusoe does not appear to believe that he deserves God's grace, but he prays for deliverance anyway.
When Crusoe prays for deliverance from captivity, he compares the island to ________.
Chapter 7 - Agricultural Experiment
By describing the island as unhappy, the author uses personification to treat the island almost as if it's a character in his story and not just the setting.
How does Crusoe preserve the grapes that he finds?
It's interesting how Crusoe describes what must be a very difficult and emotional trying experience with no emotion. He describes his confinement as nonchalantly as someone might describe a typical day at the office.
Crusoe's decision to only sow two-thirds of his grain shows what about his character?
Chapter 8 - Surveys his Position
The highlighted text illustrates the kind of propaganda that Europeans devised to justify their inhumane treatment of natives.
The highlighted text appears to be evidence of which of the following themes?
It's interesting to note the contradictions in Crusoe's character. Most of the time he seems totally void of emotion, but then occasionally, there are these extreme outcries of emotion like in the highlighted text.
Based on the detailed description of Crusoe's daily activities, what is a central idea in this text?
When Crusoe describes enemies attacking his crops, who are the enemies?
According to Wikipedia, a spade is a tool with a sharp-edge, typically rectangular, metal blade and a long handle, used for digging or cutting earth, sand, turf, etc. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 9 - A Boat
What material does Crusoe use to make pots?
The image below is very similar to what Crusoe would have created to make bread out of corn. (This annotation contains an image)
According to the text, why does Crusoe wish for Xury?
The highlighted text is more evidence that Crusoe's journey is like religious allegory. Solomon built the Temple of Jerusalem for God, and Crusoe builds a boat for his own deliverance.
How has the island cured Crusoe's desire to covet? Support your answer with textual evidence.
The author uses imagery and figurative language to describe what it would have been like for Crusoe without tools. The reader can picture in his mind Crusoe trying in vain to gnaw at his prey like a beast.
Based on the highlighted paragraph, the reader can deduce that Crusoe is _________.
Chapter 10 - Tames Goats
It seems that Crusoe now sees the island differently. Instead of viewing it as a prison, he thinks of it as his home.
Author's use irony to highlight an unexpected or humorous outcome within a story. Watch the video clip below about irony and see if you can identify examples of irony within this novel. (This annotation contains a video)
Crusoe tries desperately to get off the island, but once he ventures away, he wants to return. This is an example of which literary device?
Crusoe calls the island his “bower” which is a reference that would be used by the elite or upper class.
The highlighted text has examples of which type of figurative language?
This is one of the few occasions in the text where Crusoe shows compassion for life, and makes a decision based more on emotion rather than just rational logic.
In the highlighted text, the author seems to be hinting at a future event involving the old goat. Which literary technique is this an example of?
Chapter 11 - Finds Print of Man's Foot on the Sand
The reader may wonder about Crusoe's _______ after he refers to his pets as servants and describes his dog as the only one allowed to talk to him.
Crusoe continuously considers his dress, wealth, and appearance throughout his stay on the island. Maybe if he was not such a narcissist, he would have not done so well for himself.
Which details from the text allude to Crusoe's fascination with materialism?
The author uses a series of questions to convey Crusoe's fright and confusion. The religious connotations emerge again when Crusoe thinks the footprint may belong to the devil.
Why does Crusoe assume that the people who visit the island would "devour" him? Support your response with textual evidence.
It is apparent throughout the text that Crusoe is a thoughtful man, but there are several instances where his thoughtfulness becomes obsessive.
According to the text, why does Crusoe go to such great lengths to build an impassable dwelling?
Chapter 12 - A Cave Retreat
It's ironic that Crusoe fears human contact so much since he has been starved of it and seeking it since being stranded on the island.
After discovering the beach filled with human carnage, how does Crusoe refer to the cannibals?
Crusoe thinks about different ways to kill the cannibals for their sinful nature. This is interesting because he is now passing judgement; a role usually reserved for God.
Why does Crusoe change his mind about killing the cannibals?
It's interesting how Crusoe's mood seems to determine how he refers to his habitations. Sometimes it is a castle or plantation; other times, he refers to them as a prison or cell.
What does Crusoe believe put an end to his invention and contrivance?
Chapter 13 - Wreck of a Spanish Ship
Which one of Crusoe's domesticated animals does he seem to prefer?
Crusoe seems to be especially offended by the savages' nakedness; he makes reference to it several times and after his second observation he makes plans to kill them.
What is Crusoe doing when he hears a gun shot?
How can we surmise that Crusoe is feeling tremendous conviction when Crusoe states, "Oh that it had been but one!"
Crusoe's treatment and description of the dog demonstrates which of the following personality traits?
Crusoe's thoughts show that he has not given up hope for rescue or given up his lust for wealth.
Chapter 14 - A Dream Realized
What was Crusoe's original sin?
Defoe speaks directly to the reader through Crusoe's character. This literary technique was very unusual for the time period.
According to Crusoe, what is the only way to attempt an escape?
This is yet another example of Crusoe showing that he possesses the patience of Job. Job is a biblical figure that had his patience and faith tested.
What can we infer about the author based on Crusoe's description of the savage? Support your answer with details from the text.
What can the reader infer is the purpose of the creek?
It is strange that Crusoe can view natives or Friday's people with such disdain, and still have such affection for Friday.
Chapter 15 - Friday's Education
It's interesting how white Europeans, even ones trapped on deserted islands in isolation, still feel the need to "civilize" the natives.
Although Crusoe does not specifically state how he feels about Friday on this page, what can the reader deduce based on Crusoe's description of him making bread.
Through his communications with Friday, what does Crusoe figure out?
One of the ways that Europeans justified their persecution of natives was to think of them as pagan savages.
The way that the author depicts Friday is very unusual for the time period it was written in. White Europeans simply did not describe native populations in a positive light. Describe the way Defoe characterizes Friday using specific details from the text.
It seems likely that Crusoe and Friday's relationship is based primarily on their circumstances. If they were not stuck on an island together, they would never have had any type of interaction.
It seems evident that with the introduction of Friday's character, __________ is now an important theme in the story.
Chapter 16 - Rescue of Prisoners from Cannibals
This exchange between Crusoe and Friday almost sounds like propaganda. Defoe is writing this to Europeans to show them that native savages would be grateful if we civilized them.
Crusoe helps Friday become an expert sailor except ___________.
It's obvious that in a very short period of time Friday has become completely loyal to Crusoe even willing to die for him. This is similar to the loyalty that Crusoe feels towards the Portuguese captain.
How does Crusoe justify intervening in the cannibals affairs?
What can the reader infer about how Crusoe views himself when he describes himself as a deliverer?
Even though Crusoe describes Friday with great affection, he still refers to him as a ________ after watching him greet his father.
Papist is a (usually disparaging) term or an anti-Catholic slur, referring to the Roman Catholic Church, its teachings, practices, or adherents. The term was coined during the English Reformation to denote a person whose loyalties were to the Pope, rather than to the Church of England. Over time, however, the term came to mean one who supported Papal authority over all Christians; it thus entered widespread use, especially among Anglicans and Presbyterians. The word, dating from 1534, derives (through Middle French) from Latin papa, meaning "Pope" (Wikipedia).
Although the author describes Friday in a positive light, the reader can infer that he views Friday's character as _________ based on the language that he uses such as "ordered" and "fetched."
Chapter 17 - Visit of Mutineers
Why is Crusoe hesitant to help the other Spaniards and Portigues?
The description from Exodus might be foreshadowing a future rebellion. This is evident when you consider the title of this chapter is "Visit of Mutineers."
When Crusoe provides for the Spaniard, this act can be interpreted as the author's attempt to positively portray the relationship between the mother country and its __________.
What type of conflict is illustrated in the highlighted text?
It appears from Crusoe's perspective that it is perfectly acceptable to murder someone, but completely immoral to eat someone.
It appears that after 27 years Crusoe may actually get off the island with the help of the English captain. This event is near the _________ or highest point of suspense in the novel.
It's ironic that Crusoe did not trust the Spaniards when it was the English sailors that staged a mutiny against their captain.
Chapter 18 - The Ship Recovered
What do the men in the approaching boat possess?
This appears to be a test. If the men do not try to escape, they are trustworthy and their lives will be spared.
What do the men think when they return to the boat and find their two comrades missing?
According to Wikipedia, parley is a conference between opposing sides in a dispute, especially a discussion of terms for an armistice. Not to be confused with how it was used in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean where a person would ask to not be harmed before speaking to the captain.
Based on the context clues, the reader can deduce the meaning of the word parley to be what?
Look up the definition of the word victuals. Which of the following items would qualify as a victual?
It's interesting that the captain would refer to Crusoe as "Governor" when he lied to his men that they were on a Royal Colony and, therefore, knows full well that Crusoe is not a governor. This is yet another example of how Crusoe views himself as more than a castaway. He is a king, a general or in this case a governor.
Explain why Crusoe becomes angry with the captain. Support your answer with details from the text.
It almost sounds like the men that are being left on the island are Crusoe's legacy. They will continue the colony that he started.
Chapter 19 - Return to England
If Crusoe had not returned to claim his plantation, it was to be expended to ___________.
The old captain is characterized as ancient in part to show the length of time Crusoe has been away and stranded on the island. Also it looks like finances are now a major concern for Crusoe. Will materialism interfere with his devotion to God?
Which Biblical figure does Crusoe compare himself to after gaining so much wealth?
It's ironic that Crusoe wants nothing more than to escape the island, but once he reaches his goal, he does not know what to do with himself.
What type of conflict is taking place when Crusoe cannot decide where to go next?
By mentioning the need to bring arms to ward off wild beasts, especially wolves, the author seems to be hinting at a future confrontation. What type of literary technique is the author using?
It seems clear that Crusoe is _______ Friday for shooting the wolf in the head.
Crusoe seems to be handed a life of ease after escaping the island, especially with the wealth that he inherits, but he continues to confront obstacles such as the harsh weather and wolves in Europe.
Chapter 20 - Fight Between Friday and a Bear
Why does Defoe have Friday's character tease the bear and entertain Crusoe and the other members of his party instead of just killing the bear?
Sometimes stories contain multiple high points of action. The reader might assume that the events right before escaping the island would be the climax or highest point of action or suspense, but Crusoe's encounters with the wolves is equally suspenseful. (This annotation contains an image)
Trying to escape the wolves appears to be another high point of action and suspense in the story; where would this event fall along a plot diagram?
Robinson Crusoe appears to be more than an account of an adventurous life; it is a collection of religious teachings (similar to parables). This is evident when Crusoe disobeys his father and when he becomes too consumed with wealth. In both cases, God punishes him while he is at sea, but Crusoe is able to overcome these hardships through prayer, repentance, and hard work.