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MonkeyNotes-Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
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Chapter 24: I Dip My Hand in Blood

While Crusoe and Friday get ready for the trip to the mainland, twenty-one savages land on the island. Crusoe is enraged that they have three prisoners to kill for meat for their feast; his fury increases when he sees that one of the prisoners is a white man. Friday, who is initially frightened at seeing the savages, listens to Crusoe's advice and agrees that they should attack the cannibals.

When Crusoe and Friday attack, they shoot at the savages repeatedly. Many are killed, and others run screaming in fear. Crusoe rescues the white man from the fighting and finds that he is a Spaniard. After Crusoe revives him with a little drink and bread, the Spaniard joins in the fight, killing two of the savages. Soon the remaining savages flee in two canoes. When Crusoe jumps into the third canoe, he finds another prisoner in it. Friday's happiness knows no bounds when he sees the prisoner, for it is his own old father. The pursuit of the remaining savages is forgotten. Instead, they safely stow away the boats and bring the Spaniard and Friday's father back to camp, where Friday and Crusoe prepare a tent and beds for them.


Notes

As the pace of the action dramatically increases, the mood in this chapter turns to excitement. Before the planned trip to the mainland, twenty-one cannibals land on the island with more prisoners. Crusoe decides he must attack the savages and try to save the prisoners. With Friday's help, they fire at the natives, killing several of them. Crusoe manages to save the white prisoner; he is a Spaniard who eagerly joins in the fight against the savages, killing two of them. Before long the remaining savages flee in canoes. In order to pursue them, Crusoe jumps in one of the canoes left behind. He quickly discovers another prisoner, who turns out to be Friday's aged father. Both the rescued men are taken back to camp, where beds and a tent are prepared for them.

The pace of this chapter is a sharp contrast to Crusoe's usual narrative of daily chores and philosophical reflections. Crusoe does, however, take some time to reflect on the savages before the battle begins. He reaches the conclusion that he will not judge them, for God must be the judge. Instead, he will act only as God's agent of justice. He naively hopes he will not be forced to intervene or become involved. However, when he sees the white man, a poor "Christian" as he calls him, he knows he must act.

At the end of the fight, there are four men on the island. The first newcomer is a Spaniard, the avowed enemy of the English; therefore, the Spaniard must also submit to the English colonizer. The second newcomer is Friday's father; the native is overjoyed at seeing his aged parent, and his exuberance and conversation is replete with an appealing "native" innocence. There is not doubt, however, that Friday's father will also submit to Crusoe. The imperialist theme, therefore, is furthered in this chapter, with Crusoe becoming a real British master over other human beings.

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MonkeyNotes-Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
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