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Chapter 23: Some Hopes That I Might Escape
Friday has learned to converse reasonably well in English, and Crusoe enjoys his company. In fact, he has become a different man because of this companionship. Crusoe tells Friday all about Europe and England. Friday explains the location of their island, and Crusoe understand he is in the Caribbean. Friday also indicates that he was formerly among the savages who regularly visit the island
After Friday is culturally civilized, Crusoe embarks on the mission of making him a Christian. He explains to Friday how God created everything and how the devil was cast out of heaven after his rebellion. He also teaches him the gospel of Jesus Christ, explaining how man is forgiven of his sins. After three years together, Crusoe says of Friday, "The savage was now a good Christian, a much better (one) than I."
When Friday sees the mainland from the island, he is greatly excited. Crusoe is much disturbed and fears that if he returns to his people, Friday may go back to his old ways and even return to capture him. Friday insists that he wants to go back to "civilize" his people, as he has been civilized. Additionally, he makes it perfectly clear that he would never dream of going back alone or leaving Crusoe.
Friday tells Crusoe how there are seventeen white men who were shipwrecked and washed ashore on the mainland; they live peacefully among the natives. The news of white men nearby rekindles Crusoe's hope for escaping the island. He begins to think he may again reach civilization. The first step is to get to the mainland, and Crusoe knows it will take a sturdy sailboat. He and Friday spend three months of hard labor building and outfitting the large boat, which could have easily carried twenty men. Although Friday has never seen a sailboat, he quickly becomes an expert in handling it.
The native has been culturally civilized and now speaks the language of his master; therefore, in true imperialist fashion, Crusoe can begin converting the native to Christianity. According to the master, Friday becomes a better Christian than he is.
Although Crusoe genuinely enjoys his company and praises Friday's goodness and faithfulness, it is ironic that when Friday shows joy at the sight of the mainland, Crusoe's first fear is that Friday will return home, revert to his old ways, and even come back to capture him. This fear really stems from Crusoe's own nature, for he has continuously reverted to his old ways throughout most of narrative.
When Friday mentions that there are white men on the island, Crusoe's view quickly changes. He again has hopes of being rescued and seeing civilization again. The practical Crusoe knows that the first step is to get to the mainland. To accomplish this, he and Friday spend three months building a large sailing boat.