Robinson Crusoe is a universal novel written by Daniel Defoe in 1720. Defoe is a well-known English writer who was born in London in 1660 into a Puritan family. He worked as a critical pamphleteer and as a businessman but he was not very successful. Later his life changed when he became a prosperous novelist. Among his books we can also highlight Moll Flanders (1722), which is the story of an ambitious self-made woman who has a lot of ups and downs in her life but she manages to achieve her aim. Also worth mentioning are: Colonel Jack (1720) or his last novel Roxana (1724). As it is an 18th century novel we can find a lot of recurrent themes of this period such as trade or the desire to see new countries.
This distinctly unconventional novel is based on a real fact and it is one of the most important books in the world because it is considered to be the first English novel. It is so worldwide known that if you ask any person in the world he/she will say that it tells the adventures of a man who is the sole survivor of a shipwreck and has to live on a desert island with a native that he called Friday till he is rescued and goes back to England where he gets married with his girlfriend who has been waiting for him (in the films, not in the book) and they live happily ever after. However, if you read it more carefully, you may find some surprises because Robinson Crusoe is much more than this. It is not an adventures novel as people think. The novel deals with how Robinson lives his life in the island from a psychological point of view, it talks about his moments of happiness and depression and it describes how he struggles to survive and how he improves his situation on the island. Moreover, there are a lot of religious reminiscences and we can see the Puritan interpretation of the Bible and its message through the book: “you are what you make of yourself”. This makes it a didactic novel and it has been adapted for children because it sets a good example. Another important feature is that the novel shows us the importance of the rationality and says that you have to be positive, that is, whatever situation you are in, you have to appreciate the pros because it could be worse. In addition it is very descriptive and explains in a perfect way everything that happens on the island.
There is no room for doubt that Robinson’s attitude on the island is totally admirable. He sets an excellent example because it teaches that people have to struggle if they want to achieve something. If he had remained on the island without fighting against the difficult situation he would have died, but he managed to survive. I definitely recommend Robinson Crusoe, it is worth reading because it gives a positive message, it is a good piece of advice: if you work hard, if you struggle, you will get a reward. Perhaps Robinson Crusoe is not the kind of book you cannot put down, because sometimes it is a bit tedious, for example, sometimes it is too descriptive but generally I liked it, it’s good bedtime reading and although it was written in the 18th century it is not heavy going so you can easily get into it. I really enjoyed reading it!