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Robinson Crusoe (part 2).docx

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Natalie Rose

ENGB35 Jan 16, 2013 Puritan/moral ICR  Honour the wisdom of Providence o God abandoned Crusoe on the island for a reason Lockean ICR  Educational learning for children through the book Proto-romantic ICR  Rousseau: handbook of natural education o Crusoe surviving in the wild and making things out of natural materials Middle Class/Materialist ICR  Economic narrative o Crusoe‟s interest of constantly making his fortune  Parable of middle class o Hard-working, interested in property, wanting to make money While Colonialist ICR  Parable of British colonialist o Creating a colony from land that had originally belonged to a native people Marxist ICR  Parable of natural labour and alienation o Creating shelter etc.; alone on the island The Materialist Reading The book was an economic narrative: spiritual and financial.  Spiritual because Crusoe did eventually show how he‟d come back to God, after being shipwrecked. o The book did move away from Puritan ideas a bit: had it been a true religious novel, Crusoe would have died once he‟d found God.  Financial because of Crusoe‟s goal of gaining more wealth Demonstrated Middle-Class Parable  Labour: Crusoe was always at work. (The devil finds work for idle hands.) ENGB35 Jan 16, 2013  Innovation: Crusoe making all of his items  Does not give up  Emphasis on use: Crusoe found ways to integrate objects and re-use.  Things that make life bearable, the naturalization of civilization: Crusoe making a home and a farm.  Frugality/looking towards future: saving objects, reusing; always expecting to get off island.  Individualist: doesn‟t mind being on his own o No real social ties except Friday  Emphasis on ownership: „my island‟ Property (continued middle-class) “I descended a little on the side of that delicious vale, surveying it with a secret kind of pleasure (though mixed with my other afflicting thoughts) to think that this was all my own, that I was king and lord of all this country indefeasibly, and had a right of possession; and if could convey it, I might have it in inheritance as completely as any lord of a manor in England.”  Standing on hill and overlooking property is an eighteenth century theme  Again, the idea of „this is mine‟. A very middle-class attitude, where ownership determined your status.  This is the Lockean idea of ownership: in order to own land, you must work it. o God “gave [the world] to the use of the industrious and rational (and labour was to be his title to it), not to the fancy or covetousness of the quarrelsome and contentious.” “There cannot be a clearer demonstration of any thing, than several Nations of the Americans are of this, who are rich in Land, and poor in all the Comforts of Life; whom Nature having furnished as liberally as any other people, with the materials of Plenty, i.e. a fruitful Soil, apt to produce in abundance, what might serve for food, rayment, and delight; yet for want of improving it by labour, have not one hundredth part of the Conveniences we enjoy: And a King of a large and fruitful Territory there feeds, lodges, and is clad worse than a day Labourer in England.” (John Locke, Two Treatises of Government)  This is what colonialists use to support their taking of land from the natives because they had not worked it to their standards. In contrast: I am monarch of all I survey, My right there is none to dispute; ENGB35 Jan 16, 2013 From the centre all round to the sea, I am lord of the fowl and the brute. (William Cowper, “Verses Supposed to be Written by Alexander Selkirk during his Solitary Abode on the Island of Juan Fernandez” 1782)  The island is really nothing to have ownership; there‟s no real proof of owning it. Middle class values: make money, have a big house, join the next class in society, and pass it on to your descendants.  Ladder of ascension Crusoe‟s fences: property breeds paranoia  He builds the fences in order to stop people from stealing, even though there is really no one there to steal from him. Marxian economics: natural labour and alienation Capitalism:  commodification (exchange value)  division of labour o Working the land  alienation
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