“Robinson Crusoe” Student Reviews 2009

The following reviews  by COHS students are on “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Pages: 320
Reviewer: Cristian B.

Robinson Crusoe is an Englishman from Europe. He is the third son in his family. His father warns him of the hardships that he will have to face if he ventures out into the world. Robinson wishes to go out to sea instead of staying home his whole life. He sets sail, but unfortunately, the second time the vessel is captures and he is kept captive. He escapes after being a servant for a few years and seeks another voyage. A violent storm hits and he alone is shipwrecked on a barren island. Over the course of a few days, he gathers supplies from the wrecked vessel just off shore.

Robinson Crusoe is one of my favorite books. I enjoy the adventure and excitement gained by reading about Robinson’s adventure. It inspires me; I want to go on a grand adventure one day. Nicely written but the original version has some writing that I do not understand completely. I plan on reading it again during the summer.

1. The author’s purpose towards writing the book was to tell a story of adventure and provide entertainment for the reader. The book has a hint of realism, and the way it was written makes it seem as if the author took part in these events.
2. Throughout the story, Robinson shows that perseverance and courage.
3. The author places Robinson Crusoe in situations in which perseverance and courage must aid him. This is a motif in the book. Robinson, time and time again, wishes during facing his hardships that he should have listened to his father and stayed home. Perseverance and determination place him back on his feet after every bump in the road.  While on his first voyage, during a great storm, Robinson ponders why he left home in the first place. After the storm subsides, though, he forgets his pleas to God and he is replenished with courage.
4. The main issue that Robinson Crusoe raises is how does one live by themselves for so long without going crazy. It could be compared to a modern person who surely would have died living by themselves for almost 30 years. With no internet, no cell phones, and worst of all no television, a modern person would not be able to bear the pain. Robinson, fortunately, is not plagued with these treasures and with perseverance and courage battles the evils of solitude and starvation.

Reviewer: Sebastian Waz

Crusoe is a native of the town of York and son of a merchant who believes Crusoe should lead a more modest life, despite his love for the sea. Disobeying his fathers wishes, Crusoe and sets off on a voyage towards South America. After a series of intricate and complicated events, a storm wrecks Crusoe’s ship on an island deserted of humanity. Crusoe soon finds that he is the lone survivor of the shipwreck and is left on the island to find sustenance. He manages to live on the island for an incredible amount of years before making the acquaintance of a cannibal he names Friday. One day, Friday catches sight of an English ship, which soon relieves him of his sentence on the island.

Robinson Crusoe is definitely an interesting story. Personally, I found the story to drag a bit after the most climactic events had already passed and at points, the author’s Old English can become difficult to decipher. For someone who has not read it, I would definitely recommend it since it is a classic novel.

1. The author’s main purpose in writing the book is for entertainment. The author writes the story as if it were a memoir and leaves distinct clues that hint to reality to give the reader an interesting glimpse into the adventure of Robinson Crusoe.
2. There are several themes evident in this novel, but one of the largest themes is perseverance in the face of a trying situation. Daniel Defoe supports this theme by showing Crusoe’s endurance and ability to survive all alone on the island for several years. Robinson scavenges the land for what he can utilize despite his apparent death sentence on the island, Robinson makes-do rather well without losing sanity.
3. The author develops and supports the thesis greatly throughout the novel, possibly, before Robinson has even shipwrecked. Robinson’s father constantly stresses the danger of adventuring too far, and when Robinson is the only survivor on the island, he soon realizes this. At first, he seems desperate and hopeless, but with the passage of time, Robinson soon becomes a master scavenger.
4. Having been written in the 1600’s, the tale of Robinson Crusoe does not address any modern issues that would still affect the present. Basically, Robinson Crusoe deals with a situation that would drive any average person to the edge. Crusoe’s willingness to survive shows how endurance can get you through even the most difficult challenges.


About Victoria Waddle

I'm a high school librarian, formerly an English teacher. I love to read and my mission is to connect people with the right books. To that end, I read widely--from the hi-lo for reluctant high school readers to the literary adult novel for the bibliophile.
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