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MonkeyNotes-Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
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Chapter 12: A More Perfect Discovery Of The Island

After being on the island for ten months, Crusoe grows brave enough to survey it thoroughly. In his explorations, he finds green meadows and wooded areas, as well as tobacco and sugarcane growing wild. He discovers melons in abundance growing on the ground and clusters of grapes on vines. He comes to a beautiful little valley with an abundance of cocoa and citron trees, as well as citron trees.

Crusoe decides to build a "country house" in these lush surroundings of the valley. He creates a kind of bower encircled by a strong fence and stays for awhile, until it begins to rain heavily forcing him to seek protection in the cave. The rains last for two months, and Crusoe busies himself by enlarging the cave. He also keeps himself occupied by making baskets.

When the rains pass, he continues his exploration of the island. He catches a parrot, whom he later teaches to speak. On the other side of the island, he finds an abundance of turtles, a large number of fowl, and many goats. His dog catches a young kid, whom Crusoe saves from death. He makes a collar for the young goat with a string of rope and leads it to the bower. Soon the animal is tame and follows Crusoe around.


Notes

It is interesting to note that Crusoe, who has always been drawn to traveling and adventure, waits ten months before he begins to really explore his island. It is the first indication that Crusoe is a changed man, mellowed by his experiences. Further proof of his altered state comes with the solemn manner in which he observes the anniversary of his landing on the island; he fasts and pray in appreciation of deliverance, a practice he continues for all the years he is there.

After his redemption, it seems Providence provides Crusoe with bounty. As he explores the island, he discovers all kings of good things to eat. There are all kinds of fruit trees, grapes, and melons. He also discovers the valley where he builds his "country house" so he can occasionally escape from his cave, his "castle." Greatly separated by distance and amenities from the native country from which he fled, Crusoe ironically plays the role of an English lord on a deserted island. Through this image, Defoe begins to develop his theme of imperialism that will continue to develop during the stay on the island. Crusoe becomes the explorer, establishing a colony, building a fort, and making himself master. For the present time, Crusoe's subjects are the animals, but later, when the cannibals arrive, a new dimension is added to his dominion.

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