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Comparison Of Swift's Robinson Defooe And Robinson Crusoe

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Defoe’s “Robinson Crusoe” and Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” are both novels which focus on the nature of the middle-man, whether this refers to social position, severity of feeling, or even geographic location. One of the major points at which Swift most directly satirizes Defoe’s work concerns the underlying conventions of the these values, and their capacity to improve the lives and the minds of those who hold them. Throughout Robinson Crusoe, the novel’s protagonist learns of the truth of the importance of holding to moderation; something which he learns through suffering the consequences of his own rash actions. Crucial to this is the idea of pre-destination, providence, and of a rational order to the universe—an order that only the middle-class is able to discover. If one considers Swift's work alongside the vision that is presented in “Robinson Crusoe,” then it is clear that the former presents a satire of the very idea, central to Defoe's work, that such events can be made comprehensible according to a schema of divine providence and conventional morality. To understand Swift’s satire, we must first understand how “Gulliver’s Travels” and “Robinson Crusoe” are similar, yet inherently different. The opening chapters of “Robinson Crusoe” place the novel within the context of a providential moderation and a desire to refuse the natural constraints of duty and familial obligation. This is made clear in the opening speech given to the narrator by Crusoe’s father, in
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