Called the original adventure novel, Daniel Defoe published Robinson Crusoe in the year 1719. It is the first person narrative of a fictionalized character who, after his initial journeys to the seaand South America, finds himself washed up on the shore of a deserted island near the mouth of the Oronoco river. Through his resourcefulness he finds ways to survive and even thrive, especially inthe areas of farming and raising goats. He spends decades on the island, tending to his houses and crops, and avoiding the 'savages' who occasionally land on his island. It's the portrayal of thesenatives, as well as Crusoe's and the author's attitudes towards them, that most relates to our study of colonial and post-colonial literature.
Crusoe's travelsbegin when he goes to sea at a young age; quickly, he is captured and put into slavery in Portugal. With a young African boy (Xury) he escapes, and travels in a boat along the coast of Africa (whatCrusoe refers to as 'the truly Barbarian coast...where whole nations of negroes were to surround us with their canoes, and destroy us'). The two voyage just off the coast, avoiding people and, in the caseof a sleeping lion, shooting animals out of curiosity. When they are eventually rescued by a larger ship, Crusoe wrestles with the captain's proposition to purchase Xury's freedom from him. The dealis sealed when the captain promises to allow for Xury's freedom after ten years - provided the slave converts to Christianity.
In Brasil, after seeing those who are already beginning to becomesuccessful in the business, Robinson decides to start his own tobacco plantation. The most important piece of this economic puzzle is obvious in how he goes about starting his project: '...for the firstthing I did, I bought me a negro slave...'. Crusoe then leaves on a ship with a group of other 'entrepreneurs' to sail to Africa, where they hope to trade for slaves for their plantations. In what...
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