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Chapter 13: I Began My Third Year
Crusoe begins his third year of exile as lonely as ever. He often reflects back on his past life and is grateful to God for opening his eyes and leading him to repentance. Crusoe describes his daily life, saying he is rarely idle. He sets apart some time for reading the scriptures each day, goes out with his gun for three hours every morning and then spends time attending to what he kills or catches in order to always have food. In the middle of the day when the sun is hot, he stays indoors and then works again for four hours in the evening.
Crusoe finds that his corn is growing, but that it is in danger of being taken away by the "enemies." The fence around his cornfield keeps the goats out, but not the birds. He shoots and kills three birds and hangs them up as a warning, which succeeds in keeping other birds away. At the end of December, Crusoe harvests the corn. He threshes it with his hands and makes a wooden spade to prepare the ground for the next crop. His next task is to make some crude pots out of clay. He also makes a pestle and mortar from hardwood in order to grind his corn. He finally makes a sieve, using some calico and muslin cloth, so he can separate the meal from the bran and the husk. At last, he succeeds in baking his own bread on tiles that he has created. These tasks keep him occupied for most of the third year. At the end of his third year, his crop has been so plentiful that he has to think of building bigger storehouses.
The account of his third year is almost a lesson on how hard work and enterprise bring prosperity. Crusoe stays busy on the island planting and harvesting crops and creating new "tools." His successful crafting of the clay pots is a case study of the triumph of patience and persistent effort. His work is relieved by reading the scriptures, and his newly strengthened religion gives him strength in his loneliness. This mature and patient Crusoe is a sharp contrast to the impetuous young man who ran away from home.
It is interesting to note that, in the course of his moral progress, Crusoe has reached a point where he is able to recognize the chain of events that brought him to the island. He sees God's hand in the order of things that led him back to his Maker. Crusoe, in his Creator's hands, is like a pot, which God is shaping with infinite patience until the form desired is achieved.
Although far from England and all that is English, Crusoe still remains English to the core. He goes to great lengths to make the pestle, mortar, and the sieve until he can finally make his own bread, like he enjoyed back home. It seems Englishmen, even in faraway places, can never change their way of life; instead, they make the surroundings conform to their needs. It is one of several negative imperialistic traits that Defoe presents in the novel.