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MonkeyNotes-Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
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Chapter 25: My Island Was Now Peopled

After rescuing the prisoners, Crusoe sets about making them comfortable and preparing a good meal for them. The next day he makes Friday bury all the bodies of the slain men and remove all the signs of the cannibal feast from the shore. Friday's father dispels Crusoe's fear of the savages returning with more of their members. He says he heard the fleeing ones, terrified by the guns, say that Crusoe and Friday had come down from heaven to destroy them. He is of the opinion that they will entirely avoid the island in the future.

The Spaniard speaks about the condition of the other sixteen of his comrades shipwrecked on the mainland. Crusoe fears that if they join them, the group of Spaniards will turn treacherous on him and hand him over to the authorities in New Spain. Crusoe thinks that fate would be worse than falling into the hands of the savages.

The Spaniard dispels Crusoe's fears, reaffirms his loyalty to the Britisher, and promises that he would make all his countrymen loyal to Crusoe. He assures the master that they would return only to a country where Crusoe's safety would be assured. Convinced by the Spaniards words, Crusoe wants to sail to the mainland immediately and bring the Spaniards to the island, away from the savages. The Spaniard is more practical; he delays the trip until they have plowed and sowed enough land to produce crops that will last several months. Since their numbers are going to dramatically increase, they also catch more young goats and domesticate them. When there is enough food in storage for everybody, Crusoe sends the Spaniard and Friday's father over to the mainland to get the Spaniards.


Notes

With two white men now on the island, Defoe adds an extra dimension to the tale. One is a British Protestant, and the other a Spanish Catholic; historically, they are avowed enemies. The knowledge that there are sixteen more white men on the mainland, all of whom are Spanish Catholics, fills Crusoe with worry. He is afraid that the Spaniards will betray him and turn him over to the authorities in New Spain.

It is ironic that it is not the savages on the mainland, but the white men, whom Crusoe distrusts. It is also ironic that the usually practical Crusoe wants to sail to the mainland immediately. The Spaniard insists that the trip be delayed until there is enough food for the newcomers. As a result, the four men work diligently planting crops and domesticating more goats. When there are enough provisions for all, Crusoe sends Friday's father and the Spaniard to the mainland. It is ironic that Crusoe, who has always sought adventure, chooses to stay behind. He also keeps his good friend Friday on the island with him.

The Spaniard is successfully in allaying Crusoe's fears by swearing that his first loyalty is to Crusoe, and not to his countrymen. This again shows the triumph of British imperialism; Defoe has a Spaniard swearing allegiance indirectly to the British crown, by submitting to the British "governor" of an island colony.

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