Saturday 8 December 2012


An illustration from an 1885 version of Robinson Crusoe
Born in 1632 in the city of York, Robinson Crusoe was the youngest of three sons of a mid-high class family. 
Being the third son, Robinson Crusoe had did not specialize in a particular trade and has always sought to sail as an alternative.  However, adventures such as sailing were forbidden by his father and so Robinson Crusoe eventually snuck off to with his friend who was sailing to London. Despite having experienced a terrifying first sailing experience, Crusoe’s pride prevents him from returning home and he continues to sail in hopes of making his own fortune until he is captured and enslaved by pirates on a journey.
After his escape from the pirates, he is rescued by a Portuguese captain and then brought to Brazil. In Brazil, Crusoe makes a living through plantations for a few years until he decides to go on another journey. This journey becomes his last in a long time as he gets shipwrecked off the on the way to Barbados. He is the only member of the crew to survive. He feels insecure in his new surroundings and spends his first night up in a thorny tree with a branch for protection. When he wakes up in the morning he sees that the ship was beached extremely close to shore and spends the first twelve days salvaging tools and materials from the ship. 
From the ship, Crusoe manages to takeaway a range of items from clothes to carpenter tools to gunpowder. During these twelve days, he also makes a hut out of crates and boards taken from the boat and constructs a tent within the hut. The tent is made from tarps and canvas salvaged from the sails. 
Finding a need for a view of the ocean and for freshwater, Crusoe relocates his shelter to the side of a hill. This new shelter starts off as a wall of stakes and cables built in a semi-circle around a tent and later becomes a complex series of chambers and fortifications. 
During his time on the island, Crusoe also invests time into taming goats, making raisins and building a canoe. After a survey of the whole island, Crusoe takes a liking to a lush valley he finds in the middle of the island and decides to construct a country house. The country house also becomes Crusoe’s main farmland.  
Just as Crusoe starts to become familiar with the whole island, he finds a footprint in the sand and frightened by the possibility of the footprint, barricades himself within his first shelter for two years while constructing an even stronger fence outside of it. 
Ultimately, Crusoe discovers that cannibals from a nearby island occasionally visit his island in order to have their feast and he decides to rescue one of the natives who was about to be eaten. Crusoe names the rescued native Friday and takes him as a slave. Crusoe and Friday fight back against the cannibals to rescue an imprisoned Spaniard. In return for rescuing them and helping them defeat the mutineers of their crew, Crusoe asks that they take him back to England in return. After twenty-eight years away, Crusoe finally returns back to England. 

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