Welcome to the course blog!
I can't say I enjoyed the book entirely, but I feel like I gained some insight into the early Presbyterian beliefs? I did try to check to see where Defoe was standing in his beliefs about Providence because religion plays a key role in Crusoe's life. I couldn't find much, but the way I understood it... Catholicism may be more collective in its beliefs... and... Protestants focused more on the individual personal relationship with God (personal convictions that come with the reading of Scripture). Which I think is presented to us in "Adventures of Robinson Crusoe." It's just him and God growing in relationship with one another. Also, during our fishbowl, I got the sense that people found there was something lacking in Crusoe's character. Although he gained much knowledge and skill, there was something lacking in his "being," I guess. It could be that he never got to practice what he learned WITH people. I just thought about rough stones put into a blender. And once that blender keeps blending, the stones will smooth one another out as they keep colliding with one another. It's just how I view social interaction/rubbing shoulders with one another. Because Crusoe hasn't had much social interaction for a long time he's kind of "rough around the edges." And interaction is like sharing a bit of yourself. But when we're on survival mode, like Crusoe, it's hard to share. So when compared to people like Friday, Crusoe may seem a little more detached. He seems cordial, but not as emotionally involved with the other.
I'm still on the fence about whether or not Crusoe changed from the beginning of the narrative to the end. During the fishbowl discussion, I believed that he did not change so much as a person. I feel like everything he did from the beginning to the end was always to benefit himself. In that sense, I still don't believe that Crusoe changed. However, if the narrative is being told by Crusoe as he looks back over his life (as others in the class have said), then that changes the way I interpret the novel. Since we have no sense of where in life this older Crusoe is as he tells his story, we cannot say in what context he is telling it in. So with that in mind, who's to say that Crusoe has in fact changed, and is telling his story as a lesson of "how not to act"? That's why I'm a little on the fence about the idea of him changing and developing throughout the narrative.
What I would like to know can probably never be answered. What was Defoe's real purpose in writing the book? Was it just an adventure novel about survival, or was it a story of tracking his own religious experience? Something unrelated to that that I wanted to add would've been about Friday's hard questions about God to Crusoe. I feel like it was sort of unfair for us to criticize Crusoe/Defoe in not being able to answer those questions because most Christians probably would not have been able to answer that question, devout or not.
In class we spoke a lot about Crusoe's relationships with the people that he encountered on the island (the cannibals, Friday, the mutineers, etc.). However, I think that the way in which Crusoe interacted with the animals on the island would have also been an interesting way to get a better understanding of Crusoe's character. At at least one point during his time on the island, Crusoe refers to the dog and cats that he rescued from the shipwreck as his family (page 82). In class I think someone mentioned that Crusoe never really seems to express any sort of sadness at not being with his parents. However, Crusoe's parrot, Poll, says "Poor Robin Crusoe, Where are you? Where have you been? How come you here?" (113). I think that the reason the Crusoe would have taught the parrot to say these things was because he was hoping that his family and others were remembering him.
Crusoe's overall tone throughout the novel seemed to be very calm and content with the situations and events that he was apart of. The references to God in the novel suggests that perhaps Crusoe believed that God was the ultimate force that allowed him to survive and make it through the things he went through while shipwrecked. The novel just seemed really bland to me and not very exciting. That's surprising to me because I typically find novels of the century we are studying sort of exciting and fun to read. Perhaps I prefer books about the women of the time, because the men are just such a bore!