Crusoe demands the boy swear his loyalty to him. Even though he also promises to make Xury a great man someday, the relationship never has any sort of equality, and Crusoe treats Xury as an inferior. When the two of them encounter a lion on the African shore during a search for fresh water, Crusoe orders Xury to go on shore and kill the creature, perfectly willing to sacrifice the boy's life instead of risking his own.
Roughly a month into the journey, they come upon some native Africans who offer to replenish their food and water stores. Crusoe and Xury have nothing with which to repay their kindness, but at that moment two creatures chase one another on to the shore and Crusoe kills one of them, a leopard.
The native Africans take the leopard for meat and give Crusoe its skin. Now equipped with fresh supplies, Crusoe directs the boat toward Cape Verde, wondering whether he should make for the Cape Verde Islands or the mainland. As he ponders the decision, Xury spots a ship, which turns out to be a Portuguese vessel.
Robinson Crusoe: Study Guide
The captain takes Crusoe and Xury on board and agrees to take them with him to Brazil. Even after they arrive in Brazil, the captain refuses to accept payment for his service, but he does buy Crusoe's longboat, supplies, and animal skins. The captain also asks to buy Xury, which causes Crusoe some distress because the boy has been so loyal.
Crusoe finally agrees to the deal once Xury agrees and only after the captain promises to free Xury in 10 years if the boy becomes a Christian. In Brazil, Crusoe lives with the owner of a sugar plantation and learns the business, so he decides to set up a plantation of his own. With what money he has from the sale of the longboat, supplies, and Xury, he buys as much suitable land as he can for his plantation and sets about building his fortune.
It is hard labor and he is mostly on his own; his only society is occasional visits with a neighbor named Wells who is in a similar situation. Crusoe makes arrangements with the Portuguese captain to bring his money from England so he can build up his plantation.
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After four years on the plantation, he decides to join a voyage to Guinea in order to buy slaves. He puts his affairs in order and sets out. Twelve days into the voyage, the ship runs into a storm and is forced to change course. The ship runs aground in the Caribbean during another storm, and the entire crew is lost.
Crusoe alone survives and makes it to a nearby island. Analysis When Robinson Crusoe and Xury encounter the native Africans, both parties share a mutual fear and distrust of the other. This circumstance reflects the feelings that characterized most interactions between European and native groups during the colonization of Africa and the New World. However, while Crusoe is eager to assert his power over animals as seen in his killing of the leopard in this scene and the lion in the previous chapter , he does not approach the native Africans with the same kind of bravado.
Instead, the two parties engage in an uneasy negotiation, even as the natives offer Crusoe and Xury food and water. They understand the basic value of offering hospitality to strangers. Crusoe feels badly that he has nothing to offer in kind, but he accepts their generosity anyway. This desire to engage in fair and equal trade reveals how Crusoe does not feel entitled to the native Africans' gifts, which is a departure from more common historical European attitudes toward native peoples.
The tension between the parties does not break until Crusoe shoots the leopard, which allows Crusoe to repay the natives' kindness with some food. At the same time, the shooting demonstrates that he has a power the native Africans do not understand. Even though the interaction between Crusoe and the native Africans is based on a kind of mutuality, Crusoe's selling of Xury is more troubling. The Portuguese captain is a decent man, as evidenced by his willingness to transport Crusoe and Xury to Brazil free of charge and his concern for Crusoe's fortunes once they arrive.
At the same time, he wants to buy Xury from Crusoe. Even though Crusoe and Xury were both slaves, only Crusoe is presumed free once they escape because he is white. Crusoe hesitates to sell Xury, not because he thinks owning another person is wrong but because Xury has been loyal and devoted. While the dynamic between Xury and the European men remains inherently unequal, both men treat him with relative fairness given the societal standards of the time. The Portuguese captain offers to free Xury after 10 years if he converts, and Crusoe does seek the boy's blessing on the exchange.
To a modern reader, the forced conversion reads as an imposition of European will on Xury, even at the most personal level of religious belief, but at the time Robinson Crusoe was written and in the minds of Crusoe and the captain, they would have thought they were doing Xury a favor by saving his soul. More troubling is Crusoe's purchase of an African slave, as well as two indentured servants, to work his plantation, as well as his part in the ill-fated voyage to Africa to obtain slaves. Crusoe is not the originator of the project, but his stories about his experiences in Africa, especially the ease of trading "trifles" for slaves, inspire a group of Brazilian plantation owners to make the journey.
Chapter 4 Summary The morning after the storm, Robinson Crusoe investigates the damage. He can see the wreck of the ship about a mile from the island's shore and realizes the crew might have all survived if they had remained on the ship. At low tide, he is able to swim to the ship and climb aboard on a rope. He finds the ship waterlogged, but most of the provisions are dry, so he contrives a way to move the supplies to the island on a raft that he builds from wood from the ship.
He takes food, tools, guns, and ammunition on this first trip. In his first 13 days on the island, he makes a total of 11 trips back to the ship, salvaging anything he can carry before another storm comes in and washes the wreck away. He takes more tools, nails, clothing, a hatchet, a grindstone, sails and rigging, a hammock, cables, and money though he declares it useless , among many other items.
He also brings ashore a dog and two cats who survived on the wreck. Crusoe surveys the island and verifies that it is, in fact, an island. It is also uninhabited except for birds. He sees no wild animals in his early explorations but uses the crates from the ship as a barricade at night.
Later, he discovers a herd of wild goats, which becomes an important food source. He settles on a permanent dwelling spot by a shallow indentation on a hillside, with a view of the sea in case a ship arrives. He sets up a tent by the hollow in the hill and builds a fence around the perimeter—accessible by ladder, not a door, for security.
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He carries all his supplies into his settlement and begins digging in the hollow to make a proper cave dwelling. He sets up a post to track the passage of time, starts a journal, and builds a table and chair. Analysis One of the first things Robinson Crusoe notes taking from the ship, aside from food, are guns and ammunition. He feels threatened on the island and wants protection, but the gun also represents his ability to control the environment and assert power. He spends a great deal of time detailing all the items he gets from the ship, and many of these items represent a connection to civilization as he knows it, especially the clothing and the grooming supplies he brings back to the island.
These are important for enabling him to maintain a sense of his own identity as a civilized European man, a desire not to be naked and bearded and to maintain some of the standards of living to which he is accustomed. He reads and writes in a journal to maintain a sense of humanity. He also brings money back from the ship, even though he admits it is useless to him now, and even complains about its uselessness.
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He keeps it because it provides another important connection to his former life and because it represents his hope, however slim, that he might one day have use for it after he is rescued. In a similar attempt to maintain a connection with civilization, Crusoe does what most "civilized" societies do: he begins building—first, a simple fort out of crates to protect himself from animals and the elements, and then a more fortified construction around a small cave. He begins changing the shape of the land by digging to enlarge the cave. Crusoe takes pleasure in his accomplishments, boasting that "I found at last that I wanted nothing but I could have made it.
In the modern world, research has shown how humans deprived of the ability to track nights and days, even hours and minutes, suffer psychological damage. Crusoe has no way of knowing this, of course, but his desire to make a calendar speaks to a deep human instinct. Chapter 5 Summary Robinson Crusoe's journal recounts his early days on the island, starting on September 30, , the day of his landing.
He describes the trips he makes to the wreck and building his early settlement, as well as daily hunting trips with his gun and his dog. He enlarges the cave on the hillside and builds a table. He then turns his attention to making the tools he does not have, such as a shovel. He wants a wheelbarrow but, unable to make a wheel, settles for a kind of sled to move the earth out of his cave. After a minor collapse in the cave, he shores up the construction with wooden posts.
He spends a lot of time fortifying his wall as the weather allows. After he lames a goat and nurses it back to health, he begins to consider the possibility of domesticating some goats for food, but he has no food to spare for them.
Robinson Crusoe | Study Guide
He attempts to domesticate pigeons as well, but again, the lack of extra food is problematic. He finds a few stalks of rice and barley growing from seeds he discarded out of a bag ravaged by rats. He keeps the grains that grow so he may plant more the following season, but it will take him four years to produce enough for eating. In April of his first year, the island is hit by an earthquake and a hurricane in short order.
He considers building a new habitation, but he lacks wood and his tools are dull. He figures out a way to turn the grindstone with his feet while he holds blades for sharpening, but he continues to live in the cave until he can make an alternative arrangement. The hurricane also washes the remains of the ship closer to shore, so Crusoe is able to salvage a little more gunpowder and dismantle the wood from the wreck for his own use. Analysis Providence and nature figure heavily into the events of Chapter 5. Because Robinson Crusoe sees every event as a form of reward or punishment, he sees the emergence of the barley and rice stalks as a miracle and blessing from God.
Although he doesn't say so directly, the storm that enables him to recover the last of the ship at the precise time he needs more wood seems like an act of Providence as well.
Crusoe's best assets at this point are his self-reliance and his inventiveness, as demonstrated in his decision to reinforce his cave with wooden beams.