Thursday, February 24, 2011

Motifs, Themes, and Symbols

The footprint that Robinson Crusoe finds on the island is a symbol of human companionship and just how much we all desire for others.  The footprint brings all kinds of thoughts back to Crusoe that he has not experienced in a very long time since being on the island.  For themes it can be said that perseverance or mastery are well used in this book.  It is also obvious that the importance of self awareness is a theme in this book because Crusoe stays conscious of himself the whole time and is always aware of what he needs to live.  We can use this in our own lives by taking care of our own responsiblities just as Crusoe did on the island. For motifs Crusoe uses lots of numbers and great details on what he does.  He is very clear on how large things are and gets down to the very details of these numbers.  This use with numbers shows how hands on he was with all parts of his life and took great notice of simple things.  It was this type of detailing of the little things that was able to keep him alive on the island.  This video outlines the major events of Robinson Crusoe's life.

The Escape

Eight days later, the sight of an approaching English ship alarms Friday.  Crusoe and Friday eventually take over this ship and strike fear in the men aboard by holding hostages.  On December 19, 1686, Crusoe boards the ship to return to England, where he eventually finds that his family is deceased except 2 of his sisters.  His father had left no money to him in his will because he thought he was deceased already, but Crusoe has great fortune when he finds out that his plantations that he had bought after being a slave in Brazil had been greatly profitable.  After all the crazy events that had happen to him at sea, he travels back to his homeland of England by land.  Crusoe finally departs for the East Indies as a trader in 1694, and from there he goes on to revisit his island, finding that the Spaniards are governing it well and that it has become a prosperous colony. 

Crusoe's Big Discovery

One day while on the island he notices a large footprint in the sand.  Crusoe knew there were possible cannibals that lived in the region, and he became very scared and set up safe havens and made weapons and under ground dwellings to hide in from the cannibals.  One particular day he sees the cannibals on the island bringing ashore 2 men from a ship that had wrecked on his island the night before.  One the cannibals was already killed, but the other was able to get free and ran towards Crusoe's dwelling where he was able to save him.  Crusoe named him Friday because of the day that he rescued him.  They lived together and helped each other, until one day a group of 21 cannibals came to where they were living.  Crusoe and Friday manage to kill most of the natives and save two of the prisoners. One is Friday's father and the other is a Spaniard, who informs Crusoe that there are other Spaniards shipwrecked on the mainland. A plan is devised where the Spaniard would return with Friday's father to the mainland and bring back the others, build a ship and sail to a Spanish port.

Crusoe's Life at Sea

Crusoe's second trip out to sea went almost as  bad as his first time out.  His ship was seized by pirates and he became a slave for almost 2 years.  He eventually works his way out of slavery and is on an expedition that is bringing slaves to Africa when that ship is shipwrecked by a storm.  He is the lone survivor and he is stuck on an island which he calls the "Island of Despair".  He goes back and forth between the ship and the island 12 times before the ship goes down to save items such as guns, gun powder, food, and other valuable items. He uses a wooden cross to keep track of the dates and he keeps a journal of his daily task.  At one point he becomes very ill and hallucinates thinking he is seeing an angel that tells him to repent, and from there he goes on to experience a spiritual change.  He cut down a large tree and made a huge canoe only to find out that the canoe was too big too move on his own.  He also makes a smaller boat to sail around the island with, and he is still almost swept out to sea for good on this small voyage.

Crusoe's Beginning

Robinson Crusoe knew what he wanted to do all along with his life.  His parents did not want him to go off to sea, but instead to stay at home and live a safe life as a lawyer.  In the beginning Crusoe listens to his parents, but it is not long before his love for the sea took over.  On Crusoe's first trip out on the sea he and his sail mate were almost killed.  A storm came up and almost took their lives.  This storm took his friend's love for the sea away, but Robinson was just beginning his sailing experience.