Robinson Crusoe

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Robinson Crusoe Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
For the next year, Robinson did not venture to where he saw the skulls and human bones to see if the savages came again. He hid his boat in a cove and mostly stayed within his "castle," leaving to tend to his goats. He was glad that he had not run into the savages back when he wandered the island much less cautiously and thanked "that Providence which had delivered me from so many unseen dangers."
Robinson is again thankful to God for not having encountered any savages—he sees the things that happen to him as part of God's plan. He continues to live his solitary, isolated life, scared of encountering anyone else on the island.
Themes
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
Robinson realized that Providence often saves men when they are completely unaware of it, and that often in a dilemma people have an innate sense or hint of what should be done. He decided always to obey "those secret hints or pressings of mind," and now advises all men "not to slight such secret intimations of Providence."
Not only does Robinson reflect on his new understanding of providence, but he also draws from his experience to give the reader advice about providence.
Themes
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
Advice, Mistakes, and Hindsight Theme Icon
Not wanting to be seen by anyone, Robinson decided only to burn fires at his dwelling in the forest, where he discovered a natural cave behind some trees he cut down. Inside the dark cave, he saw and heard some kind of creature, which terrified him, but it turned out to be only an old he-goat.
Robinson's experience with the goat is, in a sense, a microcosm of his experiences with the unknown. He reacts first with fear only to find that what he was scared of was actually harmless, and potentially even helpful.
Themes
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
Inside the cave was a kind of tunnel with a low roof, through which Robinson crawled to find a larger cavernous chamber with some kind of diamond or precious metal shining in the rock. Pleased with this secret, protected place, Robinson brought his gunpowder to store here.
The unknown wilderness of the island, which Robinson feared when he was first stranded on it, continues to be helpful, providing Robinson with food, animals, and now a protected storage place.
Themes
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
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Robinson says that he was now in his twenty-third year upon the island and was now perfectly happy to live the rest of his life there, with his parrot, dogs, and cats for company, as well as his goats and some tamed birds. He was content to go on living here, but says that "it was otherwise directed," and urges the reader to take from his story the conclusion that the evil one fears is often "the very means or door of our deliverance."
Robinson repeats his assertion of how content he had become with his solitary life on the island, with no one but his pets for company. Nonetheless, it was up to fate and God's providence to determine the course of his life. Robinson encourages the reader to learn from his example, as he offers advice.
Themes
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Advice, Mistakes, and Hindsight Theme Icon
Contentment vs. Desire and Ambition Theme Icon