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Prose In Defoe's Robinson Crusoe

Decent Essays
When Robinson Crusoe was first published in 1719, it was as an autobiography. Defoe had omitted his name from the work, and instead titled it as the writings of Crusoe himself. And people believed him. They believed in this outrageous, extraordinary adventure because it was written in such an ordinary manner. Defoe’s style of writing is of the everyday man; a man simply trying to get all his thoughts down in one place. Prose is not what makes Robinson Crusoe such a literary masterpiece – the real genius of the novel is Defoe’s ability to captivate his audience and fool them into believing that what they are reading is reality.
There is no real structure, no logical end to Robinson Crusoe. In the words of Terry Eagleton, it is merely a case of “accumulating narrative.”(Eagleton, 55) Defoe wrote rapidly; Robinson Crusoe is a result of the white heat of creativity. He did not return to edit
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Crusoe’s outlook is very much that of the everyday Englishman. He does not fully describe his “emotional reaction to some terrifying event,”(Novak, 5) because he lives in a society wherein to show one’s feelings is to show weakness. Such soliloquies are reserved for the stage. Moreover, Robinson Crusoe is not Shakespeare – it contains no “Immortal longings.”(Shakespeare, 171) Crusoe is ambitious, yes, but even his most lofty ambitions reside within the confines of his society’s ideology. Crusoe is a flawed character, but his flaws are not only the fatal hamartia of a Greek tragedy. He is greedy and selfish, but such “propensity of nature”(Defoe, 3) is portrayed in such a way that makes it seem acceptable because it was. Robinson Crusoe represents the zenith of western civilisation; he is the quintessential economic man. Any “evil influence”(Defoe, 17) which followed him was one society could not fault him for, as it most likely resided in them as
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