Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Samantha Bakall Student Blog Post

We've seen in the later part of the book that Robinson Crusoe's view of money has changed significantly. Starting as something he greatly desired to acquire, it has become merely something of little to no value once he is on the island.

What role does money, or wealth play for him on the island? Has he completely let go of the old society he used to live in, or does the idea of wealth still stick with him?

In what ways does he show he does or does not care about the rules and hierarchy of England? Has this affected his moral compass, or not?


  1. He definitely still looks for the value in things. While alone, he realizes that he could have a lot of material wealth if he wanted to, which shows me that he is still looking at things in terms of how much thins are worth. Also, when he saves the Spaniard and Friday's father, he says to himself on page 190 that he was very rich with subjects, and how the country was his own meer property. Because of how quickly this idea came into his head, I do not think that the idea of material wealth ever truly escaped his head. As soon as there were people to compare wealth to, he began to think of things in terms of value again right away.

  2. I agree with Nathan in that Robinson still does value things. Earlier in the novel, there is much detail of every tiny item that Robinson has with him on a ship and also an exact account of the money he left with the widow. Almost too detailed where it comes across as bragging to the reader. When he is first alone on the island, I feel as if he is humbled and realizes that he is alone and that items hold no value to him. For example, when he comes upon the shipwreck and finds some money, he then realizes that he is alone and value is meaningless. Once Robinson gets acquainted with the island, gets the goats, names his land, starts planting barley and then Friday comes along- Robinson starts to rethink the importance of value. In this case, I am not talking about value in regards to money, but value in regard to status. Robinson starts to see himself as a major land owner and almost dictator of "his island". He sees it as his own, his property. He has adopted the rules of England and applied similar ones to "his island". His moral compass has been skewed and his ego is being larger.

  3. I agree with both Nathan and Gina that Crusoe still finds value in material things, but his focus has seemed to shift from the value of wealth to the value of power. Not only does Crusoe think of the island as "his island," but he considers himself master and "sovereign" over all the land and the people that that come into his domain. He forces the "savages" and Spaniard and others to not only declare allegiance to him, but he demands that they protect him and die for him if he so requests it. I agree with Gina that he has "adopted the rules fo England and applied similar ones to 'his island.'" Crusoe was not satisfied with his station in life when he was a part of civilization, and he is still satisfied with being a simple member of society--he feels he has to rise above what ever station he is in and even hold large amounts of power. We see Crusoe struggle against nature, other men and God, but I believe that his biggest struggle is with himself and his unwillingness to accept the status he is given. I do not necessarily think this is a flaw, because, especially as an American in the 21st century, I can understand the value of continually trying to rise above your lot in life. And, if I were stuck on an island for decades, I may come to think of it as "my island" as well.

  4. Like Megan, I believe that money is only important in terms of the power and the privileges that it enables. Once money and wealth is of no value on the island, he still adheres to principles of hierarchy and power. He seeks to change his status in life, to go against the hierarchy of England which oppresses and keeps individuals stagnant. The interesting aspect of hierarchy, however, is that although Crusoe has been able to rise in the ranks and has become King of his own Island, he is only king as long as there are subjects beneath him. Not only are the natives and Catholic Spaniards subject to him, but also his own English countrymen must devote themselves to him. A desire for power inevitably means that someone must be made “powerless.” I believe that rules and hierarchy as they had been observed in England are still very much a part of his everyday thinking. The only difference, is that from a content middle class individual as his father had advised him to be, he became the ruler and allowed others to fall beneath him. Had he created a kind of Utopia (Thomas Moore) upon this island, then I would have said that Crusoe did not care for power as demonstrated in the English class hierarchy. However, since he did impose a hierarchy upon his “island family,” I do believe that he cares much for the status of power and relies on hierarchy to create that sense of control.