The Colonialism of Robinson Crusoe

Literature / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
An analysis of Robinson Crusoe’s attitudes to colonialism.

The paper relates that the ambiguous nature of the novel `Robinson Crusoe` allows Crusoe’s imperialism to be questioned. The paper then analyzes the novel to expose the subtleties that separate Crusoe from the traditional colonizer. The paper demonstrates how through his own isolation, rather than economic gain and empire building, our own perceptions of the issues of colonisation are questioned and the human aspect of colonialism is exposed. The paper notes that ultimately, Crusoe takes the ‘middle path’ recommended by his father; he is neither strictly exploiter nor the exploited.
“Being widely regarded as the first novel in the English language, Robinson Crusoe is a text that at its two extremes engages issues of utmost simplicity and complexity. The style in which it is written is unpretentious and gives in every respect, the feeling that it has been composed by a man of, ‘the middle state’ . However, it is in the simplicity of the narrative that many intricacies are concealed. Throughout the novel Crusoe records his experiences as they affected him in a very matter-of-fact manner. Rarely does he elaborate on wider issues that are raised by his actions and in so doing leaves his text open to endless interpretation from, and application to, changing societies. It is this ambiguous nature of the novel that allows Crusoe’s imperialism to be questioned.”


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