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MonkeyNotes-Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
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Chapter 19: The Case Of My Safety

Crusoe becomes careful about how he does things since he realizes that he is no longer alone on the island. He does not make any loud noises and is even uneasy about making a fire, for fear that the smoke will attract notice. When he is cutting down wood to make charcoal, he discovers a small cave. He decides it will be a perfect hiding place in which to keep all his gunpowder and all his spare arms. As he begins to clear the cave, he sees two shining eyes and is scared out of his wits; he then discovers an old billy-goat that Crusoe keeps as his own. When the goat dies later, Crusoe buries it.

During the month of December, in his twenty-third year on the island, Crusoe has his first sight of humans. He notices a fire upon the shore and then finds nine naked savages dancing around it. They all indulge in a feast and leave behind a number of human bones. Crusoe notices that they use canoes to travel to and from the island.

When the cannibals depart, Crusoe runs to the hill and sees the canoes going towards the mainland. He now begins to live in constant fear that the savages will some take him by surprise and eat him. However, it is more than fifteen months before he sees them on the island again. Then one day, as a violent storm blows, Crusoe is sitting and reading his Bible when he hears a gunshot. Fear again strikes his heart.


Notes

There is a renewed tension in the novel. From a sedate, happy feeling, the mood changes to fear after Crusoe sees the footprint. The shining eyes of a goat in a cave terrify him. His fear then turns to horror at the sight of the remains of a cannibal feast. Crusoe now rarely comes out of his cave, is afraid to make noises, and does not like building a fire. In time he tames his fears into wary watchfulness.

Two years later, Crusoe sees the cannibals in person. This time they land on his side of the island, much too close for comfort. As he watches them dance naked around the fire, he is a bag of nerves. Crusoe feels that sooner or later he is going to be drawn into a conflict because of them. Then one day, as he sits and reads the Bible, he hears a gunshot; it provides a new twist to the tale.

Defoe is at his descriptive best as he describes the new cave through Crusoe's eyes. "The walls reflected 100 thousand lights to me from my two candles; what it was in the rock, whether diamonds, or any other precious stones, or gold, which I rather supposed it to be, I knew not." His subsequent comparison of himself inside the cave to "one of the ancient giants" is an allusion to the giants in Homer's Iliad and Virgil's Aeneid.

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MonkeyNotes-Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
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