Filippo Volodin Robinson Crusoe And The New Middle Class Before analyzing Robinson Crusoe it is important to give a short background of the author of such an incredible novel. Daniel Defoe was born in 1660 and died in 1731 after a life of adventures and incredible experiences. He was raised to be very religious and his parents were strongly attached to the puritanism tendency that was spreading around Europe. These aspects and the strong education imposed by his parents will strongly influence Robinson Crusoe’s psychology.
Furthermore, Defoe worked as a Merchant, Insurer and during his entire live he has been sent in prison several times for either small or serious issues. Having such an experience, Defoe strongly felt to be part of the New Middle class that was flourishing due to the new colonies and the economic boom of that period. In this way we can say that his personal experience, family education and the influence of the growing Middle class strongly gave to Defoe the impulse to create a character such as Robinson Crusoe, who represents the typical New Middle Class person who can, using his brain and his talent, always succeed in life.
Robinson Crusoe represents the prototype of the typical English Merchant, heartless and unceasingly looking for a profitable business to lead. This new type of figure continuously changes because of the unsatisfactory position it has in the society and always strives to find new ways to make profit. In fact, Robinson Crusoe reveals these characteristics, and his strong attachment to the religion, when he sells Xury to the Captain. He offer'd me also 60 Pieces of Eight more for my Boy Xury, which I was loath to take, not that I was not willing to let the Captain have him, but I was very loath to sell the poor Boy's Liberty, who had assisted me so faithfully in procuring my own. However when I let him know my Reason, he own’d it to be just, and offer’d me this Medium, that he would give the Boy an Obligation to set him free in ten Years, if he turn’s Christian; upon this, and Xury saying he was willing to go to him, I let the Captain have him. ” From this quotation powerfully comes out the strong education gave to Robinson Crusoe.
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Crusoe does not really care about Xury, even though he has served him loyally. This passage highlights the new situation of the Middle Class represented by Robinson Crusoe that championed individualism, seizing every single opportunity to have a personal profit, relying just on own powers and talents. Furthermore, agreeing on converting Xury into a Christian let us explicitly understand the importance of the Puritan education imposed to Defoe by his family with the consequent reflection of this approach on Robinson Crusoe, who just agrees after making sure that the Captain have to turn Xury into a “Good Christian”.
Robinson Crusoe demonstrates to be the “new bourgeois-man” during his long stay at the isle. The island becomes the perfect field to completely release his middle class attitudes and the opportunity to show that he deserves to be saved by God’s providence. It is important to interpret properly the significant of the Island. Crusoe’s stay at the island has to be seen as the chance for Robinson Crusoe to prove his qualities controlling, manipulating and exploiting the Nature. Consequently, Crusoe starts to “recreate” the English society of the 18th Century, sticking to the Middle Class uses of efficiency and individuality.
For instance, when Crusoe meets Friday he decides to impose him his way of living showing once again his necessity to impose the “English life style”. In fact, further on in the novel Robinson Crusoe teaches to Friday how to speak English and how to interpret the holy Bible. In the island comes out even the typical attachment to the Puritanism of the Middle Class represented by Robinson Crusoe who believed in the God’s Providence. Crusoe is convinced that God is the first cause of everything but he can change his destiny by acting following his brain and using his talents.
To conclude, Defoe shows us a perfect hero who, following the Middle Class education and mentality, can face every problem and solving it using his brain and his talents. It is incredible how Defoe could impress in an unbelievable way the main aspects of the growing Middle Class. Like Robinson Crusoe demonstrates, and Defoe in first person firmly thinks, a person using his own skill and being always self aware of his possibility can emerge and always find a way to survive and succeed in life if he really wants and strives for that.
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