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7/17/2019

The theme of colonialism in "Robinson Crusoe" by Daniel Defoe.



The novel Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe deals with various kinds of theme. The theme of colonialism is one of them. Some critics like Earnest A. Baker think that Colonialism is the ultimate theme of this novel. Daniel Defoe was born in the year 1660 and his protagonist Robinson Crusoe was born in 1632. The seventeenth century Europe was crazy of discovering new lands across the sea to make them the colonies of European Countries. The
people of Europe were not happy with the prosperity they had because of their development in the field of science and technology. They wanted to capture the earth and rule the people of the whole world. We see at the beginning of the novel, Robinson Crusoe fighting against his parents to go to the sea for a life of adventure and unlimited riches. His father was a middle class business man and he was quite content with his middle state of life. He wanted his son to be a lawyer and become satisfied with the income of his profession. But Crusoe was a young man with the spirit of his time. He could not think himself happy with the life his father and mother lived. On the one hand Crusoe wanted a life of adventure and on the other hand he wanted to be very rich man. So his father could not bridle him to live.at home and do as his father desired.

Rescued by the captain of a Portuguese ship Robinson Crusoe
came to Brazil and wanted to settle there as a businessman. He started his business of plantation in Brazil with some other partners. He did well in producing sugar and tobacco and made a remarkable progress in the trade of plantation. He pledged again and again never to go to sea. But he could not keep his oath. Crusoe, instigated by some of his partners, planned to go to New Guinea to buy slaves and make trade of Gold. Actually the colonial spirit of Crusoe could not let him settle in Brazil. The sea called him to sail and to find out any new place to colonize.

When Crusoe's ship was perished by furious storm and he was thrown alone on the desolate island he felt himself quite helpless. But he was thankful to God that he was saved when all his companions were perished in the sea. Crusoe was all alone in the unknown island, but he was not totally disappointed. His colonial spirit kept him burning even in that strange island where he was the only man to live. He made an abode at a safe place to protect himself from any danger. His colonial spirit did not sink at any adversity. Sometimes he was dismayed to think of his loneliness in a desolate island, but very soon he was delighted to think himself the unchallenged
emperor of a land enriched with lot of wealths.

Robinson Crusoe was in the desolate island more than twenty eight years. Day by day he was used with any adverse situation of the island. He began to think that all things of the island were his personal property. When he saw the footprint on the sand of the seashore he was ned. He thought that at any moment he can
be attacked by the savages living somewhere near about him. At the
same time he was afraid of losing the ownership of the island. The colonial mind of Crusoe was terribly shaken by the sight of the footprint on the seashore. His peace of mind was totally perturbed as he saw the cannibals feasting upon the human flesh on the seashore of the island. He wanted to kill all the cannibals though he did not do so. He saved Friday from the cannibals and called him 'my man' from the belief that Friday was his personal property. Then he saved a Spaniard and Friday's father and thought them his subjects. He sent Fridays father and the Spaniard to the nearby island to bring the other European from there with the view to increase the number of his subjects in his island. He helped the captain of the English ship to capture the mutineers and was successful to do so. He left his island leaving behind the three sailors and instructed them to treat well with the white men who were supposed to reach from the nearly
island with the Spaniard and Fridays father.

At the last pages of the book we see Crusoe going again to a voyage to the East Indies. On the way, he visited his island. He was happy to see the island dominated by the Spaniards. Later on he sent them some workmen like carpenters and blacksmiths. He sent some English women to increase the white men in his island. Thus Crusoe established a new colony in the island where he happened to be left by a bad chance.

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