Discuss the exploration of the self in Robinson Crusoe

1820 Words Dec 1st, 2008 8 Pages
'In all the time of my solitary life, I never felt so earnest, so strong a desire after the society of my fellow-creatures, or so deep a regret at the want of it.' (Robinson Crusoe). Use this quotation as a starting point for the exploration of the self in Robinson CrusoeSelf is broadly defined as the essential qualities that make a person distinct from all others. In Defoe's words the word, "governs the whole world; the present Race of Men all come into it. 'tis the foundation of every prospect in life, the beginning and end of our Actions." It is the essence of man.

Crusoe undergoes a journey of self discovery whilst on the island. He learns things about himself that, quite probably, only years of isolation could have brought out in
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I seldom gave anything over without accomplishing it, when I once had it in my head enough to begin it.

Rousseau commends Crusoe and his mastery of nature through his existence, and indeed prosperity, on the island, as a triumph of man's individualism and the self.

His mastery of nature is not quite enough for Crusoe on the island. He still suffers in his solitary life and ultimately his confinement causes him to turn to his bible and repent his sins. This repentance becomes a mechanism of coping with solitary life and he complains much less about his fate, taking a much more positive view of the island. The self will turn to religion in times of need.

His ordeal takes on a religious implications, particularly in retrospect when, after returning to England, Crusoe compares his experience to that of Job, whose faith was tested by God through the loss of family and wealth. His positive outlook on his experience as an intricate lesson in Christian patience, shows that despite his loneliness, he has learnt more about the self than perhaps any other experience could have taught.

There can be no doubt that Crusoe becomes accustomed to life on the island. In fact he becomes so used to his isolation, that the idea of another human being, particularly on discovering the footprint in the sand, petrifies him and causes him to risk ruining all that he has built for the sake of self defence. It is a key moment in the novel and it symbolizes
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