Comment On Daniel Defoe Essay

Daniel Defoe’s “The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe”, just as his second and no less of a name amongst classic novels – “Moll Flanders”, was mounted borderline between journalism and fiction, being based on the true story of Alexander Selkirk ” a shipwrecked seaman. With his (Defoe’s) childhood marked by two amongst the most tragic of occurrences of the seventeenth century: a recurrence of the plague, which at the time took about 70,000 lives, dubbed the Great Plague of London and the Great Fire of London – Defoe’s fascination with tragedy and survival is one of undoubted consequence.

Wherein this consequence shaped the resonance between Defoe, or originally Daniel Foe, with the story of Selkirk, and/or the protagonist Crusoe, is a matter of faith’s subtle ways – it should be noted that a few traits Of the authors own respond vividly to those Of the protagonist. Daniel Defoe was a third child in a family of Presbyterian Dissenters; he was strongly political and also very active in Dissenter affairs and wrote much that promoted that position. He was educated in a Dissenter-friendly school and his father hoped that he would become a priest, but he became a merchant nstead, much like Robinson himself.

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The sociological concept of Protestant Work Ethic is strongly visible along the lines of the novel. A German philosopher cited amongst Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx as the founders of sociology- Max Weber – develops that concept in 1 904/05 suggesting that the Protestant way conjured a code of everyday practices that as a result put Protestant countries ahead of Catholic ones in the matter of gathering and making use of capital. Northern European countries, who stuck to Protestant beliefs, are considered to have obtained capital through hard work and made se of it by investment and thriftiness.

Whereas Catholic countries accumulated great wealth through gold and silver, mainly taken from South America, but showed no hesitation to waste it all away on wars and other brief material matters, not long after to find themselves in debt. In that line of thought it should be no surprise that the Industrial Revolution began in Northern European countries. Given that Protestants are considered to value their fruits of labor greatly, but no more less than they did their labor ” a sort of audit on the role of ‘fi. rk” in protestant life would be in order. Protestants believe that the foremost way to please God is to fulfill their worldly obligations. This line of productive task-hell-bendiness combined with the concept of religion suggests concept of asceticism, which by definition is “rigorous self-discipline, severe abstinence, austerity” (O. E. D. ). Taking all this into account we can, without so much effort of thought, deduce a number of major characteristics of Protestantism – serious, rational, ordered self- controlled individualism.

Certainly a number of these traits are entwined long the lines Of Robinson’s tale of tragedy and survival. In spite Of Crusoe’s bemoaning and regrets of his ascetic outcome on ‘the island of dead people” which are observed on more than a couple of occasions – the concept of the Protestant Work Ethic is perhaps among the foremost of reasons for the protagonist’s survival and self-preserving rational behavior. The concept of Loneliness and Individualism is one well known to the contemporary person – but rather known as one to be feared and avoided at any given chance.

Of course it is not just contemporary times that have led to this matter, Loneliness and Asceticism are matters well observed through the ages in a lot more than many philosophical, historical, religious and other fields. Aristotle himself is well known for his thought: “Man is a social animal”. Hence it could be safely assumed that when deprived of a social environment the borders of ethics, behavior and moral are dimmed by the boundless freedom of judgment, or in the (questionably) worst outcome – insanity.

In his book “Reading Marx writing: melodrama, the market, and the “Grundrisse. ” Thomas M. Kemple points out that” in spite of his boundlessness of nature, Crusoe udgets his time, rations his resources, and keeps a strict account of the tools he has been able to save from the shipwreck in a way that does not exemplify but only prefigures the logic of investment and savings which will later drive the expansion of capitalism. “. One Of Robinson’s primary Concerns is the ability to be aware of time.

In the first twelve days of his new life as the shipwrecked island master Crusoe uses a square post, depicted as a Cross in the movie: “upon the sides of this square post I cut every day a notch with my nife, and every seventh notch was as long again as the rest, and every first day of the month as long again as that long one; and thus kept my calendar, or weekly, monthly, and yearly reckoning of time” (59). This serves both as a methodical system to the shipwrecked seaman, and as a demonstration, to the reader, of the encompassed orderliness and rational of Protestant Work Ethic.

Besides this primary example of symbols of both spiritual and earthly nature, Crusoe makes use of his time, rather respectfully, by investing it in hard work, and not idle depression. On more than one occasion the castaway notes in his dairy that he had spent this day, month or simply period of’ time” in which” I fond much employment (and very suitable also to the time), for I found great occasion of many things which I had no way to furnish myself with but by hard labor and constant application” (93).

Such is the majority of the noted time of Robinson Cruso‚s time spent alone on the island which undeniably points to the fact that he had strongly adopted the characteristics of the Protestant Ethic. Crusoe makes borderline mathematical calculations n his use of corn, which he decides to invest in sowing, instead of using it to please his primitive hunger.

Another matter on to which the protagonist applies stunning sagacity is his usage of gunpowder, which he needs to kill goats; this leads to the development of his framers inclinations, because when he figures out that he would run out of gun powder at that rate of usage, he decides to trap the goats in a field, where he’d have a sort of “easier access”. Onwards more Robinson figures he can milk the goats to make cheese and butter, use their skins for clothes and the tallow for candles. What a table was here spread for me in the wilderness, where I saw nothing at first butto perish for hunger! he marvels, for through his hard work and rationality he is able to feast off his Protestant Ethic ways. Despite his strongly acquired, possibly in youth, Protestant Ethic – Crusoe’s religious passion fluctuates throughout the novel. There is both times when he seldom references God and times when he questions the Divine Will in its act of forsaking him on the island. Also when he meets his to-be companion, who he calls “Friday”, he is often reluctant to his firm beliefs when they are in fact he reason for their frictions.

When Martin Luther translated the Holy Bible in German he made use of the term “beruf”, which translates into English as “calling’. And it is exactly the reluctance of Robinson Crusoe to accept his calling, as he was unwilling to head the advice of his father, which put him in the tragic fight for survival in the first place. Although the Protestant Work Ethic’s roots in the protagonist’s character is the foremost key to his survival – the aspect in which Robinson has fulfilled his own calling is one that remains in question.