Top positive review
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Always Worth Reading
on 19 August 2016
As a literary pioneer Daniel Defoe was one of those people who actually helped to create a form of writing, the novel to grow and become more popular in this country, and so with him and those early others we do owe him a debt of gratitude. Of course this was not the only thing that Defoe helped to create and contribute to but the fact that he was so very influential in the novel form means that he also helped to start the process of what we expect a modern novel to look like and read like.
I personally always enjoy reading this particular novel, although I would never get on a boat if the name Robinson Crusoe was to appear on the passenger or crew lists. If you wonder why because you have not read this before, then I think in the first few chapters you will get some idea, because although the most famous part of the story is his adventures as a castaway, he also before then gets taken as a slave and has ships that he sails on floundering into trouble.
On first publication this was certainly well received, and it is quite realistic. Written in the first person we read of how Crusoe grew up and wanted a bit of adventure, and even later in the story when we can see that he can clearly settle and take up life running his plantation he does not do so, still craving other experiences.
Although nowadays most people think there is only one influence on this book being written, that of the tale of Alexander Selkirk, if you actually look at the period you will find that there were many tales of very real castaways, along with other sources that were just as likely to be major influences on this tale. Although we read of the trials and tribulations of living what is at the start a very isolated existence there is also a strong undercurrent that runs through this that takes in both religious and philosophical elements. After all as Crusoe points out himself, he has money with him on the island, but of what use is it, as there is no one to buy things from? Such things are raised, which gives this a much greater depth than probably most people realise.
Some have seen in this story the attitude of the Colonists that left these shores to live in for instance America, but on a larger scale than that you can also see how us living in the Western World changed from hunting, to add agriculture and then settling and having to organise more complex matters, after all Crusoe has to divide his time in the right way, with the correct amount of time exerted on different issues, such as growing food as well as hunting for it, and building and maintaining shelter and other such items.
In all this is a well written book that has definitely stood the test of time, and at the basic level we have not altered from when this was first written, thus this still calls to us all, giving us a powerful and thoughtful read.