Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe: Summary

Robinson Crusoe is an English man from the town of York who is the youngest son of a merchant of German origin. His parents wish him to study law and would like to see him as a great lawyer but Crusoe has some other plan. He shows his wish to go to sea, but his family, especially his father is against his wish. His father tries to convince him to give up his dream to go to sea but Crusoe is determined.

Daniel Defoe

He sets out his sea voyage to London with his friend. At the mean time Crusoe and his friend have narrow escape in the storm. Because of this his friend refuses to go further and returns home, but Crusoe still goes on so as to become a sea merchant. The trip is successful in terms of finance and he plans another voyage, leaving his earning in the care of a friendly widow. At this time his ship is seized by Moorish pirates and he is made a slave in the North African town of Sallee. One day while fishing, he and another slave named Xury escape and sail down to the African coast. One Portuguese captain helps them: he buys Xury from Crusoe and takes him to Brazil.  In Brazil he starts plantation and earns a good fortune from it. Knowing the economic advantage of slave trade, he goes to West Africa but unfortunately got shipwrecked.

After shipwrecked, he notices that he is the only survivor of shipwreck and other crew members of the ship are all drowned. He finds himself on an uninhabited island where he spends twenty eight years adopting the isolated island. Crusoe salvages as much as he can from the wrecked ship. He builds a home and strong forts for secure living. He ploughs the land, grows corn and rice and rears goats. He keeps a journal of his each and every activity. Not to lose the track of time he starts making a scratch every day since his arrival on the island.

His peaceful stay in the island is disturbed by savages who are ready to kill one captive. Crusoe feels he must save the captive, with some effort he rescues the captive and names him Friday because he is rescued on Friday. He educates him and converts him into Christianity. Now Crusoe has a friend to talk and share. After some time the cannibals again come with some captives whom again Crusoe rescues. One is a Spaniard and the other turns out to be Friday’s father. With the information given by the Spaniard they all set out to save other sixteen Spaniard who have been marooned.

After eight days, they see the sight of the English ship approaching the island. Crusoe is suspicious. Friday and Crusoe watch that eleven men held three captives onshore in a boat. Nine of them start to explore the island and two of them stay there to guard the captives. Friday and Crusoe overpower the guards and release the captives, one of them is a captain of a ship which has been taken in a mutiny. Crusoe and Friday shout from different places so as to confuse them and make them tire running from here to there. Eventually they confront the mutineers, telling them that all may escape with their lives except the ringleader. The men surrender. Crusoe and the captain pretend that the island is imperial territory and the governor has saved their lives in order to send them all to England to face justice. Keeping five men as hostage, Crusoe sends the other men out to seize the ship.

On December 19, 1686 Crusoe boards the ship to return to his homeland England. There he finds his all family members have died except two sisters. The widow has kept his money safe. Knowing that his plantation in Brazil has been in great profit he sells them and earns a very good fortune. He donates some portion to good widow and his two sisters. Being so restless he considers returning to Brazil, but the thought of being a Catholic prevents him to go. He marries and his wife dies. Crusoe finally goes to East Indies as a trader and revisits the island where he finds the Spaniards are governing the island properly and it has become prosperous colony.