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Information for Students in Joe Lumsden's Classes


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Robinson Crusoe Revision Check List

The Robinson Crusoe Revision Sheet

The following are the ideas raised by the novel and discussed in class.  The purpose of literature courses is to encourage students to think about the world in whatever way the text leads them and to come to their own conclusions.  Daniel Defoes Robinson Crusoe raised the following points, all of which students should understand and be able to argue about.  For each point, one should think about (a) what does Defoe say, and (b) do I agree with him.

  • To what extent does the economic situation of a individual affect his lifestyle?
  • Why would a writer seriously argue in favor of staying at home and being satisfied with ones position in life?  What is the connection with religion and Protestantism?
  • How does Defoe portray Africa?  Is this deliberate?  Why would Post-Colonialist writers take Robinson Crusoe as a main target to attack?
  • How does Defoe deal with the subjects of fate and free will?  How does the plot work? 
  • What is the purpose of placing one man on a desert island?  What is Defoe attempting to do by using this plot?
  • Robinson Crusoe is often portrayed as a capitalist text?  Why would Robinson Crusoe be seen as a model capitalist?
  • How does Defoe deal with the subject of God and religious belief?
  • How does Defoe attempt to persuade readers of the reality and truthfulness of his story?
  • Novels usually focus on the development of particular characters.  How does Crusoe develop as a human being during the novel?
  • How does Defoe feel about solitude?  Does it lead to contemplation and spiritual development, or loneliness and depression?
  • How is humanity in general portrayed? 
  • How does Crusoe feel towards the actions of the savages?  Does he feel that it is his duty to instruct them?
  • How does the relationship between Crusoe and Friday develop?  Is such a relationship natural?  Does Friday develop as a person with Crusoes help?  Does Crusoe develop?
  • How do Crusoes observations of the savages lead to a contemplation of the behavior of humanity, or Catholics, in general?
  • God helps those who help themselves.  Is this a good motto for the novel?  Why?
  • Is Crusoe a typical colonialist?  How?
  • What problems does Crusoe face on his return to Europe?  What has he learned on the island?

The Rise and Development of the English Novel

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