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terça-feira, 18 de dezembro de 2012

Summary on the novel "Robinson Crusoe"


                                            The writer: Daniel Defoe

                                                                                        Pedro Samuel de Moura Torres
The writer Daniel Defoe was born in 1660, in London, and was originally named Daniel Foe, changing his name around the age of thirty-five to sound more aristocratic. Like his character Robinson Crusoe, Defoe was a third child. His mother and father, James and Mary Foe, were Presbyterian dissenters. His father James Foe was a middle-class wax and candle merchant. As a boy, Daniel witnessed two of the greatest disasters of the seventeenth century: a recurrence of the plague and the Great Fire of London in 1666. These events may have shaped his fascination with catastrophes and survival in his writing.
Defoe attended a respected school in Dorking, where he was an excellent student, but as a Presbyterian, he was forbidden to attend Oxford or Cambridge. He entered a dissenting institution called Morton’s Academy and considered becoming a Presbyterian minister. Though he abandoned this plan, his Protestant values endured throughout his life despite discrimination and persecution, and these values are expressed in Robinson Crusoe. In 1683, Defoe became a traveling hosiery salesman. Visiting Holland, France, and Spain on business, Defoe developed a taste for travel that lasted throughout his life. His fiction reflects this interest; his characters Moll Flanders and Robinson Crusoe both change their lives by voyaging far from their native England. Defoe began writing fiction late in life, around the age of sixty. He published his first novel, Robinson Crusoe, in 1719, attracting a large middle-class readership. Robinson Crusoe was based on the true story of a shipwrecked seaman named Alexander Selkirk and was passed off as history.
Stylistically, Defoe was a great innovator. Dispensing with the ornate style associated with the upper classes, Defoe used the simple, direct, fact-based style of the middle classes, which became the new standard for the English novel. With Robinson Crusoe’s theme of solitary human existence, Defoe paved the way for the central modern theme of alienation and isolation. Defoe died in London on April 24, 1731, of a fatal “lethargy”—an unclear diagnosis that may refer to a stroke.
Robinson Crusoe – he is the novel’s protagonist and narrator. Crusoe begins the novel as a young middle-class man in New York in search of a career. His father recommends him to study law, but Crusoe wants to have a life at sea, and his subsequent rebellion and decision to become a merchant is the starting point for the whole adventure. His feeling of guilt over his disobedience is present in most part of the story and it shows us how deep Crusoe’s religious fear and devotion are. Crusoe is firm and cautious in everything he does, and his perseverance ensures his survival through storms, enslavement, and a twenty-eight-year isolation on a desert island.
Friday - A twenty-six-year-old Caribbean native and cannibal who converts to Protestantism under Crusoe’s guidance. Friday becomes Crusoe’s servant after Crusoe saves his life when Friday is about to be eaten by other cannibals. Friday never appears to resist or resent his new servitude, and he may sincerely view it as appropriate compensation for having his life saved. But whatever Friday’s response may be, his servitude has become a symbol of imperialist oppression throughout the modern world.
The Portuguese captain - The sea captain who picks up Crusoe and the slave boy Xury from their boat after they escape from their Moorish kidnapper and float down the African coast. The Portuguese captain takes Crusoe to Brazil and thus inaugurates Crusoe’s new life as plantation owner. The Portuguese captain is never named—unlike Xury, for example—and his anonymity suggests a certain uninteresting blandness in his role in the novel. He is polite, personable, and extremely generous to Crusoe, buying the animal skins and the slave boy from Crusoe at over market value. He is loyal as well, taking care of Crusoe’s Brazilian investments even after a twenty-eight-year absence. His role in Crusoe’s life is crucial, because he arranges for Crusoe’s new career as a plantation owner.
The Spaniard - One of the men from the Spanish ship that is wrecked off Crusoe’s island, and whose crew is rescued by the cannibals and taken to a neighboring island. The Spaniard is condemned to be eaten as a ritual victim of the cannibals, but Crusoe saves him. In exchange, he becomes a new servant of Crusoe’s.
Xury -  A nonwhite (Arab or black) slave boy only briefly introduced during the period of Crusoe’s enslavement in Sallee. When Crusoe escapes with two other slaves in a boat, he forces one to swim to shore but keeps Xury on board, showing a certain trust toward that boy. Xury never betrays that trust. Nevertheless, when the Portuguese captain finally picks them up, Crusoe sells Xury to the captain. Xury’s sale shows us the racist and the feeling of superiority sometimes apparent in Crusoe’s behavior.
The widow -  She Appears very briefly, but on two separate occasions in the novel, the widow keeps Crusoe’s 200 pounds safe in England throughout all his thirty-five years of journeying. She returns the money to Crusoe when he comes back to England and like the Portuguese captain and Friday, she also reminds us of the goodwill and trustworthiness that which human can have.
                                                                     Plot Overview
                                                       Robinson Crusoe
Robinson Crusoe is an Englishman from the town of York in the seventeenth century; he is the youngest son of a merchant of German origin. Robinson Crusoe was encouraged by his father to study law; however Crusoe expresses his wish to go to sea. His family is against Crusoe going out to sea, and his father explains that it is better to seek a modest, secure life for oneself. In the beginning, Robinson is committed to obeying his father, but he eventually succumbs to temptation and embarks with a friend on a ship bound for London. When a storm almost provoked Crusoe`s and his friend`s death, Crusoe`s friend was discouraged from sea travel, but Robinson Crusoe still goes on to set himself up as merchant on a ship leaving London.
This trip is financially successful, and Crusoe plans another, leaving his early profits in the care of a friendly widow. Nevertheless, the second voyage is not that lucky: the ship is seized by Moorish pirates, and Crusoe is made a slave to an emperor in the North African town of Sallee. While on a fishing expedition, he and a slave boy break free and sail down the African coast. A kindly Portuguese captain picks them up, buys the slave boy from Crusoe, and takes Crusoe to Brazil. In Brazil, Crusoe establishes himself as a plantation owner and soon becomes successful. Crusoe was excited to deal with slave labor and its economic advantages; he embarks on a slave-gathering expedition to West Africa but the ship ends up sank off the coast of Trinidad. He realized that he is the only survivor of that expedition and seeks shelter and food. He returns to the wreck´s remains twelve times in order to rescue the guns, powder, food and other items. Onshore Crusoe finds goats he can graze for meat and he built himself a shelter. He erects a cross in which he inscribes with the date of his arrival, September 1, 1659, and makes a notch every day in order never to lose track of time.
In June 1660, he gets sick and hallucinates that an angel comes to visit him, warning him to repent. Drinking tobacco-steeped rum, Crusoe experiences a religious illumination and realizes that God has delivered him from his earlier sins. After recovering, Crusoe makes a survey of the area and discovers that he is on an island. One day Crusoe is shocked to discover a man’s footprint on the beach. He first assumes that footprint is the devil’s, then he argues it must belong to one of the cannibals who live in the region. Later Crusoe catches sight of thirty cannibals heading for shore with their victims. One of the victims is killed. Another one, waiting to be slaughtered, suddenly breaks free and runs toward Crusoe’s dwelling. Crusoe protects him, killing one of the pursuers and injuring the other, whom the victim finally kills. Well-armed, Crusoe defeats most of the cannibals onshore. The victim vows total submission to Crusoe in gratitude for his liberation. Crusoe names him Friday, to commemorate the day on which his life was saved, and takes him as his servant. Finding Friday cheerful and intelligent, Crusoe teaches him some English words and some elementary Christian concepts. Friday, in turn, explains that the cannibals are divided into distinct nations and that they only eat their enemies. Friday also informs Crusoe that the cannibals saved the men from the shipwreck Crusoe witnessed earlier, and that those men, Spaniards, are living nearby. Friday expresses a longing to return to his people, and Crusoe is upset at the possibility of losing Friday.
Crusoe and Friday build a boat to visit the cannibals’ land together. Before they have a chance to leave, they are surprised by the arrival of twenty-one cannibals in canoes. Friday and Crusoe kill most of the cannibals and release the European, a Spaniard. Friday is overjoyed to discover that another of the rescued victims is his father. On December 19, 1686, Crusoe boards the ship to return to England. There, he finds his family is dead except his two sisters. He marries, and his wife dies. Crusoe finally departs for the East Indies as a trader in 1694. He revisits his island, finding that the Spaniards are governing it well and that it has become a prosperous colony.
                                                                                      Pedro Samuel de Moura Torres
Robinson Crusoe questions
  1 - Who is the author of the novel “Robinson Crusoe”?
(    ) F. Scott Fitzgerald      (    ) George Orwell          (    ) Daniel Defoe
  2 - Which kind of novel is it?
(     ) political fiction                (       ) Adventure           (       ) Crime novel
3 - In which year this novel was published?
(       ) 1716                    ) 1719              (      ) 1723
4 -  The main setting of Robinson Crusoe was:
(      ) The Coast of Trinidad           (      ) Australia                (       ) The north of Africa
5 -  The place of publication was:
(      ) Netherlands        (      ) Germany         (       ) England
6 - The main themes of Robinson Crusoe novel was:
(      ) colonialism, isolation and religion faith            
(      ) sexual repression, prudish society and morality
(      ) ambition, honor and power 
7 -  What is the name of Crusoe`s main friend?
(      ) Saturday                  (       ) Friday            (       ) Thursday
8 - What would you do if you passed through the same experience as Crusoe?