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MonkeyNotes-Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
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Chapter 5: The Terror of the Storm

Crusoe sets out in a ship that carries six guns and fourteen men, as well as the master, his boy, and Crusoe himself. The cargo consists of trinkets they intend to trade with the natives. After twelve days at sea, the ship is hit by a hurricane, and for the next twelve days, they are completely at its mercy. One man dies, while another man and the cabin boy are thrown overboard. When the weather improves, the master of the ship wants to sail directly back to Brazil because the ship is in bad shape. Crusoe, however, refuses, and they continue. The next storm that hits them is even worse. The ship strikes a sandbar, and the sea breaks over it. One of the ship's boats is lost. They let down the other boat, and all of the remaining men get into it hoping to reach land. Unfortunately, a huge wave overturns the boat, and everyone is thrown into the water. Luckily for Crusoe, the furious waves carry him towards the shore, and with great difficulty he manages to clamber up to safety.


Notes

Crusoe has been given several chances to lead a quiet, peaceful life, but he rejects each of them to find more adventure. This willful disobedience of God's Providence provokes disaster. When he decides to become an immoral slave trader, he is severely punished. As he sails forth in search of natives, a storm literally and figuratively hits his ship, but they manage to survive, losing only three men.

After the first storm, the master of the ship insists that they return to safety in Brazil, but he is overruled by Crusoe. In reality, what Crusoe is rejecting is a return to a settled life. The price of his disobedience is costly, for they soon encounter another storm, which kills all the men except Crusoe. With great effort, he manages to swim to an island, where he will be forced to live a lonely and isolated existence for the next twenty-eight years.

Throughout this first part of the novel, Defoe has deftly shown the process of cause and effect. Crusoe disobeys and, as a result, he is punished. Now stranded on an uninhabited island with no provisions, Crusoe, although alive, is at the lowest point of his life.

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