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Adventures of Robinson Crusoe

Adventures of Robinson Crusoe(1954)

Remind Me

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Robinson Crusoe, the third son of a good family, has left England and gone to sea, against his father's wishes. In 1659, Crusoe is working on the Ariel , a ship bound from Brazil to Africa to buy slaves for Brazilian plantations, when the ship is severely damaged during a storm off the Brazilian coast. The only human survivor of the shipwreck, Crusoe manages to swim to an island, where he spends the first night sleeping in a tree. The next day, while exploring the island, he discovers that what remains of the ship is stranded on rocks just off the island. Crusoe is able to swim out to the wreck and recover many supplies, including drinking water, guns, rope, bread, tinder and flint, as well as the ship's cat. He builds a raft and transports all these to the island, just hours before the wreck shifts off the rocks and sinks. That night he is joined by a dog, Rex, who has also survived the wreck. During the following weeks, Crusoe builds a ready to light beacon to alert passing ships and constructs a compound against wild beasts and savages. The compound incorporates a cave in which he stores his supplies. In his eleventh month on the island, Crusoe develops a fever and becomes delirious, imagining that his father has come there to reproach him. The fever passes, however, and one day, in a chest he recovered from the wreck, he finds a Bible which provides much solace. He also finds some wheat seeds with which he is able to start a wheat crop and eventually makes bread. There are many species of birds and animals on the island, including goats from which he obtains milk. He adopts a parrot, and the cat produces a litter of kittens, but Crusoe can never establish who fathered them. On one of his journeys, he sees a distant island and attempts to reach it by building a canoe. However, the canoe cannot withstand the ocean, becomes swamped and he has to return. On the fifth anniversary of his landing on the island, Crusoe gets drunk and imagines that his former shipmates are with him, but ultimately realizes that he is still desperately alone. More years pass and Rex dies, leaving him more alone than ever. He goes to a valley with an echo and recites passages from "The Lord's Prayer" in order to hear the sound of another human voice. By his eighteenth year of solitude, he has become quite eccentric and one day, while walking on the beach on the other side of the island, comes upon a footprint in the sand. When he sees a group of cannibals in the distance, he becomes alarmed and races back to fortify his compound. He fashions a homemade bomb, but decides that he will leave the cannibals to God's justice, unless they attack him. Later, the cannibals return with two prisoners, one of whom escapes and is pursued. Crusoe rescues the man, takes him to his compound and names him "Friday" after the day of the week on which he was found. However, Crusoe is still very wary of his cannibal companion and despite Friday's amiability, resorts to placing him in ankle shackles each night. Despite their language difficulties, Friday manages to convey to Crusoe that his people could help him. When he realizes that he is wrong to keep a man in chains, Crusoe gives Friday his freedom, begs his forgiveness and asks him to be his friend. Friday decides to stay. As time passes, Crusoe reads to Friday from the Bible and they become involved in theological discussions. After twenty-eight years on the island, Crusoe, with Friday's help, begins another canoe. Their work is interrupted by the return of more cannibals, who later come under fire from sailors who have come ashore for water. The cannibals take two sailors prisoner, but Crusoe and Friday are able to free them. One, Captain Oberzo, explains that he is the victim of a mutiny engineered by his mate, who intended to abandon him and his bosun on the island. When Crusoe learns that the captain's ship is nearby, he offers to help Oberzo to defeat the small group of mutineers in exchange for passage to England. With the promise of gold coins, Friday lures the mutineers to the compound where Crusoe captures them all. Later, Crusoe decides that the prisoners will remain on the island, but with instructions on how to survive and with an advantage Crusoe never had, companionship. Crusoe and Friday board the small boat which will take them to the ship and as the boat pulls away, Crusoe looks back and "hears" Rex barking. Crusoe had been on the island for twenty-eight years, two months and nineteen days.