Honors English 12
3 May 2009
Literary Criticism: Robinson Crusoe
Throughout the novel, Crusoe is worried about different types of things, but one of his more important tasks was keeping up with the time. In order to do so, he brilliantly thought of the idea to mark down the days that passed onto a piece of wood. Ironically, Crusoe laid the wood into the shape of a cross. Defoe makes the cross a symbol of a newborn Christianity, since Crusoe was just shipwrecked and thus serving as his baptism. Bringing religion into a novel by symbolism was very common during the 18th century literature. Defoe seemed to master this trade as well as anyone. Also, Crusoe marks the days in capital letters on the cross, possibly as a symbol of importance. One of the main reasons critics point out the cross symbolism is because the building of a type of calendar or watch lets the reader know that Crusoe still has faith and is not giving up on being rescued.
In chapter XII, Crusoe finds the most beautiful of valleys and decides to build a retreat or “bower” there. This bower he makes is in direct view of the sea and is truly a getaway to his own nirvana. “It is clear that the effect of this scene is symbolic. Crusoe could not have found the fruitful part of the island until he had made peace with God; once he realized he is no longer a prisoner the bars are open and he is ready to be led into green pastures. He builds the “bower” in the lotus land, and eventually sets up a little farm there, but significantly enough he never abandons he first home on the barren side of the island, telling himself that his rescue must come from that direction.” (MacDonald 4) AsCrusoe battles within himself to survive, the “bower” which he built helps him to pass the time. Many critics point out that he did not build the retreat for protection or even shelter but for his own personal enjoyment and pleasure. This safe haven tells the reader that he feels safe...