Robinson Crusoe - Interpretations - Religious

Religious

According to J.P. Hunter, Robinson is not a hero but an everyman. He begins as a wanderer, aimless on a sea he does not understand and ends as a pilgrim, crossing a final mountain to enter the promised land. The book tells the story of how Robinson becomes closer to God, not through listening to sermons in a church but through spending time alone amongst nature with only a Bible to read.

Robinson Crusoe is filled with religious aspects. Defoe was a Puritan moralist and normally worked in the guide tradition, writing books on how to be a good Puritan Christian, such as The New Family Instructor (1727) and Religious Courtship (1722). While Robinson Crusoe is far more than a guide, it shares many of the themes and theological and moral points of view. "Crusoe" may have been taken from Timothy Cruso, a classmate of Defoe's who had written guide books, including God the Guide of Youth (1695), before dying at an early age – just eight years before Defoe wrote Robinson Crusoe. Cruso would have been remembered by contemporaries and the association with guide books is clear. It has even been speculated that God the Guide of Youth inspired Robinson Crusoe because of a number of passages in that work that are closely tied to the novel.

The Biblical story of Jonah is alluded to in the first part of the novel. Like Jonah, Crusoe neglects his 'duty' and is punished at sea.

A leitmotif of the novel is the Christian notion of Providence, penitence and redemption. Crusoe comes to repent of the follies of his youth. He learns to pray to God, first by randomly opening his Bible. He reads the words of Psalm 50 where he reads, "Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” Crusoe often feels guided by a divinely ordained fate, thus explaining his robust optimism in the face of apparent hopelessness. His various fortunate intuitions are taken as evidence of a benign spirit world. Defoe also foregrounds this theme by arranging highly significant events in the novel to occur on Crusoe's birthday. The denouement culminates not only in Crusoe's deliverance from the island, but his spiritual deliverance, his acceptance of Christian doctrine, and in his intuition of his own salvation.

Read more about this topic:  Robinson Crusoe, Interpretations

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Famous quotes containing the word religious:

    After coming into contact with a religious man I always feel I must wash my hands.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)

    In an age robbed of religious symbols, going to the shops replaces going to the church.... We have a free choice, but at a price. We can win experience, but never achieve innocence. Marx knew that the epic activities of the modern world involve not lance and sword but dry goods.
    Stephen Bayley (b. 1951)

    All the philosophy, therefore, in the world, and all the religion, which is nothing but a species of philosophy, will never be able to carry us beyond the usual course of experience, or give us measures of conduct and behaviour different from those which are furnished by reflections on common life. No new fact can ever be inferred from the religious hypothesis; no event foreseen or foretold; no reward or punishment expected or dreaded, beyond what is already known by practice and observation.
    David Hume (1711–1776)