Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Robinson Crusoe is the tale about a young man who brings shame to his family name. He is more concerned with having a life of adventure, rather than staying home and living an average life. His father had said that it is best to live an average life is best.
p.2 “…that mine was the middle state, … which he had found by long experience was the best state in the world, the most suited to human happiness, not exposed to the miseries and hardships, the labour and sufferings…of mankind…and envy of the upper part of mankind…kings have frequently lamented the miserable consequences of being born to great things, and wish’d they had been placed in the middle of the two extremes, between the mean and the great…”
An average life was not what Crusoe had in mind for himself. He decided to leave his life and go to the sea. This was the first in many of his troubles to come.
Crusoe ends up being shipwrecked on an island for many years. He is alone for much of them making for interesting observations on how well he does on such low provisions. However, it also brings some repetition to descriptions.
The way he was able to despair at what life has given him, but to create a sustainable life on a deserted island is rather impressive. There were many things I questioned because I did not believe they could be done, such as leaving food out in the sun to dry. I suppose at certain temperatures it would work, I picture food poisoning. His shelter and other projects are rather impressive as well.
The story relates everything from the events on the island as well as his personal journey and his spiritual journey. In one part of the story he reflects on how unlucky he felt for being cast on this island, but thankful that his life was spared while others perished. He had much to despair about, but even more to be thankful for.
p.131 “To day we love what to morrow we hate; to day we seek what to morrow we shun; to day we desire what to morrow we fear”
As well as learning to recognize certain signs, whether from a spiritual or inward source we know not.
p.147 “…how wonderfully we are deliver’d when we know nothing of it; how when we are in quandary, as we call it, a doubt or hesitation, whether to go this way or that way, a secret hint shall direct us this way, when we intended to go that way…yet a strange impression upon the mind, from we know not what springs, and by we know not what power, shall overrule us to go this way; and it shall afterwards appear that had we gone that way which we should have gone, and even to our imagination ought to have gone, we should have been ruin’d and lost.”
The fact that this story was written so long ago, I will give it some credit. There were many interesting facts and situations that happened in this story. However, I struggled horribly with this book. I was able to endure half of it, but had to go so far as getting the audiobook to finish the novel. That way I was able to do the things I wanted to, but still complete the book, which I had made my mission today. Being cast onto an island can be an interesting topic. However, accounting every last detail to me, and then creating a journal and retelling me these things, and then mentioning these things again and saying how you have mentioned them previously, is just a little much. I found myself to be bored at times and was tempted to give up on the novel. The ending of the novel could not come soon enough, but even then, it was a poor end to such an up hill battle. It is like climbing a mountain, only to realize someone has built a concrete wall and blocked the view. The book ends in such a way, to inform you that there are more tales to come.
Despite the fact that this is a classic novel and has received such praise, I implore you NOT to read this novel. Please save your time and read more interesting books. I have acquired many books through boxing day sales and gift cards from christmas, and now I am even more behind on my reading list. I am glad to be done with this book. I may watch the movie for this, but I don’t see myself ever picking this book up again.