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URL :  Robinson Crusoe
Author : 

Daniel Defoe

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Robinson Crusoe is a novel by Daniel Defoe, first published in 1719 and sometimes regarded as the first novel in English. The book is a fictional autobiography of the title character, an English castaway who spends 28 years on a remote tropical island near Venezuela, encountering natives, captives, and mutineers before being rescued. This device, presenting an account of supposedly factual events, is known as a "false document" and gives a realistic frame story.

The story was most likely influenced by the real-life experience of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish castaway who lived more than four years on the Pacific island that was called Más a Tierra (in 1966 its name became Robinson Crusoe Island), Chile. However, the description of Crusoe's island was probably based on the island of Tobago, since that island is near the mouth of the river Orinoco, and in sight of the island of Trinidad.

Plot Introduction

Crusoe leaves England, setting sail from the Queens Dock in Hull on a sea voyage in September, 1651, against the wishes of his parents. After a tumultuous journey that sees his ship wrecked by a vicious storm, his lust for the sea remains so strong that he sets out to sea again. This journey too ends in disaster as the ship is taken over by Salé pirates, and Crusoe becomes the slave of a Moor. He manages to escape with a boat and a boy named Xury; later, Robin is befriended by the Captain of a Portuguese ship off the western coast of Africa. The ship is enroute to Brazil. There, with the help of the captain Crusoe becomes owner of a plantation.

He joins an expedition to bring slaves from Africa, but is shipwrecked in a storm about forty miles out to sea on an island near the mouth of the Orinoco river on September 30, 1659. His companions all die; he fetches arms, tools, and other supplies from the ship before it breaks apart and sinks. He then gets battered by huge waves as he struggles to make it to an unknown island. He proceeds to build a fenced-in habitation and cave. He keeps a calendar by making marks in a wooden cross he builds. He hunts, grows corn, learns to make pottery, raises goats, etc. He reads the Bible and suddenly becomes religious, thanking God for his fate in which nothing is missing but society.

(From Wikipedia, description text under GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL))

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