Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Robinson Crusoe Notes

Robinson Crusoe, by Newell Convers Wyeth

v     This novel was written in 1719. It’s a fictional autobiography, and started a new genre of realistic fiction.

v     It’s one of the most popular English novels and has been adapted many times for theatre, film, and television.

v     It tells the story of how Robinson Crusoe was kidnapped (bol unesený; to kidnap = uniesť) by pirates, escaped, and became a castaway (stroskotanec) on a desert island (opustený ostrov) near Trinidad, after his boat shipwrecked (bol stroskotaný).

v     In the story, Crusoe had to build a shelter (kryt), fight off cannibals, he saved a man who became his friend/servant, and fought off mutineers (vzbúrenci) before finally getting back home.

For a Mile My Raft Went Very Well, by NC Wyeth

v     Crusoe named the man he saved Friday, because he saved him on a Friday. He became Crusoe’s servant and closest friend.

v    Defoe named Crusoe as the author, so many readers believed Crusoe was a real person, telling a true story. For a long time Defoe claimed to be the editor of the story.

v    Although this story is fiction, there were many real stories of castaways which Defoe used as inspiration. Two real life Crusoe’s were Alexander Selkirk and Henry Pitman.

v    The name, Crusoe, may have come from Timothy Cruso, a friend and classmate of Defoe’s who had written several guidebooks (tlačený sprievodce) on how to be a good Christian. Timothy died eight years before Defoe wrote the story, so it may have been a way to remember him. Who knows?

v    Critics note that the story serves as a metaphor for colonialism. Crusoe is a classic colonist, trying to recreate his society on the island. He’s an ‘enlightened’ (osvietený, vzdelaný, premyslený) European who teaches a ‘savage’ (divoký, primitivny) Indian to be civilized.

v    Robinson Crusoe has a strong religious theme. Crusoe repents for the mistakes he made and is optimistic that God will help him, as he begins to pray and read the Bible.

v     Robinson Crusoe was an inspiration for many famous stories, including Gulliver’s Travels, and Treasure Island. Both of these stories parody Crusoe’s adventures. The captain of Gulliver’s first ship is named Robinson.

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