Robinson Crusoe

God Would Not Bless Me: Fatalism and the Father in Robinson Crusoe

Though Robinson Crusoe may be popularly envisioned as a harrowing "adventure tale" of shipwreck and survival, the "adventures" of emotional and spiritual discourse act perhaps equally strongly to frame and direct the text. Crusoe's early travels, in which he says he "I never once had the Word Thank God, so much as on my Mind, or in my mouth" (131), are constantly being narrated through the emotional discourse of parental prohibition; his later foreign adventures are often viewed through the lens of the earlier, less turbulent domestic sphere. Though Crusoe's adventures seem at first self-consciously antithetical to life with his parents at home, it is also possible to read them as embedded within that early life, testing out the conditions and prohibitions which his father first set out. Having left the comfortable world of his father, blessed neither by his father or God (7), Crusoe is haunted throughout his travels by feelings of carelessness and impetuousness with which his departure was informed. The narrative itself is framed by prohibition and violation: from the very beginning, Crusoe is commanded by his father not to go to sea. Such a commandment acts with a prophetic fatalism,...

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