Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders are two of the most famous works of Defoe.
You might remember Robinson Crusoe thanks to the movie called “Cast Away” starring Tom Hanks as the main character.
Let’s star with a little summary, shall we?
Robinson Crusoe was a seaman who was put ashore on a desert island in the Pacific Ocean and later on he will be rescued. He belonged to the middle class, the perfect class, where he could live happily without the need of luxury or without the hardwork of poor people. He was restless, in fact he searched for his own identity during his lifetime.
He sought God’s providence, he fought to be saved and tried to demonstrate how he deserved being saved, so that is what he did. On the island he organised a primitive empire, similar to the one in England, he was the coloniser. He tried to exploit nature and dominate it.
He was a self-made man, he had to find a way to survive and save himself, against hunger, against wilderness and what he did not know. He kept even a journal, a log (like this one – kind of I mean), where he wrote day after day what he met and what he did. How nature was against him, how everything he built was destroyed because of rains, for example. In every line of the books, he emphasises how strong he is, how miserable he is and how everything seems to be against him.
Until he met Friday.
Friday is the first person Crusoe introduces into the social order of the island. Crusoe gave him the name Friday because he met him that day, after he saved him from cannibals. Crusoe also teaches Friday to speak English, encourages him to eat goat (you know, instead of human flesh), and aids in his conversion to Christianity. All his actions are done to let people know he is a good Christian. We find the description of this poor man through the eyes of Crusoe, a white colonizer who traded slaves. Even after the conversion, Crusoe will see Friday as not his equal, as an inferior.