Robinson Crusoe – Its Universal Popularity
Daniel Defoe was born in 1659 at St. Gille’s, Cripplegate in London. He was a man of many shades. These different personal traits are reflected in his literary contribution. He had done a numerous occupation during his life time. Some of his important masterpieces like “Essay on Progects “(1698), “The True born English Man” (1701), “The Hymn to Pillary” (1703), “Consolidator” (1705),” Apparition of Mrs. Veal” (1706), “History of the Union” (1708-09), “Reasons Against Succession of the House of Hanover” (1712), “A General History of Trade” (1713), “Robinson Crusoe” (1719), “Captain Singleton” (1720), “Mole Flanders” (1722) “Rexona or the Fortunate Mistress” (1724) and other important literary works will remain glorious throughout the ages.
Daniel Defoe picks up his magical pen at the age of sixty once again for writing a multidimensional novel “Robinson Crusoe” (1719). After the completion of his novel Daniel Defoe gets immense popularity from various ranges of readers and admirers. He gets the inspiration for writing “Robinson Crusoe” from the real life facts of Alexander Selkirk. Alexander Selkirk too spends five years all alone in a desolate island.
However Defoe’ “Robinson Crusoe” remains a very popular novel for every one. “Robinson Crusoe” can be ranked with Bunyan’s “The Pilgrim’s Progress and with Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels “. Every single school going boy and girl is very much interested in the story of “Robinson Crusoe”. It has the magic. It attracts the tender minds. It has the superb taste of adventure which is irresistible and no one cannot avoid it. Defoe knows the real magic that strikes the center of the heart of everyone of any age. Here lies the popularity and universality of “Robinson Crusoe”.
The protagonist of the novel “Robinson Crusoe”, Robinson loves to travel. He ignores the precious instruction and advices of his parents. He runs from his home to explore new places and unknown lands. He goes to London. From London he sails to Guinea with an English Captain. But unfortunately he is taken prisoner by the Turkish pirates. After two years of slavery, he at last remains successful in liberating himself. But due to the bad weather the ship is wrecked and all other members of the ship lost their lives.
Only Robinson remains to survive. He has been cast into a desolate island. He thanks his destiny for his survival. But at the same time he found that he is the only living human being in that unknown place. He feels joy but sorrow is too near of that most wanted joy. He finds not a single human being with whom he can share his thoughts. He has no shelter, no food, nothing to drink, no comfort and security. But it is the inborn nature of human being to do required adjustment. Robinson too makes adjustment with Nature and situation.
For few days he sleeps on the branches of the trees. He has no idea about then island. Gradually he finds that his ship come near the shore due to tides. He goes to the ship and carries very essential commodities. He carries foods, bread, rice, cheese, wine, dried fruits, barley, wheat, carpenter’s tool, guns, nails, spikes, bedding, clothes and hundred of other vital equipments. He gets a suitable place where he can erect his new, protected shelter. He stocks everything in his shelter and makes it suitable to live in it. But soon he changes his place and moves to new location, where he finds much more advantage. He prepares a fence round his tent whish gives much more safety.
Now he pays his thanks to Almighty God for saving his life and to have a peaceful life on this island. He reads the Bible. Now he has two parrots and a dog, he gets them from the ship. He learns to do farming. He learns to make earthen po6t and vessels and also make them durable. He divides twenty -four hours into various domestic chores. He is really thankful to God for saving his life and giving him everything. Till now Robinson is utilizing Nature in step of his life in the unknown island.
Suddenly one day he finds out two canoes and eleven cannibals on the shore. For the very first time he feels danger. But Robinson very bravely fights against the enemies and saves the live of the innocents. Some how he finds a very dependable and innocent human being. He starts calling him Friday. He calls him Friday as he gets him on Friday. Robinson gives him garments. He teaches him to eat properly and to speak “master”, “yes” and “no”. He tells him about God and turns him into a good Christian. As an obedient Friday too follows his master. He learns to different household tasks. He treats Robinson as his father. Robinson gets a companion in a desolate island. He feels quite relieved due to Friday’s companionship. Both Robinson and Friday fight bravely against more cannibals and save the life of the prisoners. Through different kind adventures and excitement Robinson leaves the desolate island along with Friday and starts a new journey for new places.
Defoe wraps his novel “Robinson Crusoe” by the help of adventure, thrill, sensation, reflections, morals, cannibals, and loneliness. These are the elements for the popularity of his novel. Defoe makes his hero Robinson strong, hardy, courageous, skilled and experienced and therefore he challenge to such an unfriendly environment at the beginning. Defoe very skillfully mingles both the reality and imagination. His imaginations are full of reality. The episodes of the novel are really convincing. We never feel that it is a work of pure imagination. Defoe’s hero is both happy and sad. He is sad because he is all alone in a lonely island. On other hand he is happy because God has save his life and in providing him all the good facilities in such an island.
Defoe writes “Robinson Crusoe” in a very simple and spontaneous style. His simple style appeals his readers to read more. Simple, easy, spontaneous, plain, colloquial, full of allegory, charming attitude — these are all the best ingredients that make the novel “Robinson Crusoe” a popular novel in every phase of life and throughout the globe.