Robinson Crusoe

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Robinson Crusoe Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Hoping to rid Friday of his cannibalism, Robinson took him one day to go kill a goat. Robinson shot a goat, and the gunshot frightened Friday, who checked to see if it was he who had been shot. Robinson realized that Friday thought he was going to be killed, and laughed to show Friday that it was okay.
Robinson's rather patronizing narration presents the non-European Friday as almost childlike in his amusing ignorance.
Themes
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
Robinson shot a bird to show Friday how the gun worked again, and Friday marveled at it. Robinson says that Friday would have worshipped him and his gun if he had let him. He saw Friday talk to the gun later, praying for it not to kill him.
Robinson again presents Friday as an inferior, ready to worship him and his gun.
Themes
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
Robinson cooked some goat for Friday, who enjoyed the meat (but would not eat it with salt, as Robinson suggested). Robinson showed Friday how to beat and sift grain and planned to plant enough barley and rice to support the two of them. Robinson says that this was "the pleasantest year," of all his time on the island, and Friday began to speak decent English.
Robinson is delighted to have a human companion on his isolated island. However, while Friday is a friend, he is still treated as an inferior. Rather than mutually exchanging ideas, it is only Robinson that teaches Friday. The novel is a product of its times, and at the time when it was written Europeans considered themselves to be naturally superior to the "savages" of tropical climes.
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Contentment vs. Desire and Ambition Theme Icon
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
One day, Robinson asked Friday about his native land. Friday said that he had been captured with some others during a war, and that he had been to the island before with others of his people. Robinson realized that Friday had been among one of the groups of savages he had seen on the island long ago.
Robinson realizes that Friday was one of the savages he was so afraid of earlier. But the very person he feared is now a helpful, trusted friend.
Themes
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
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Robinson asked Friday about the land visible from the island, and learned that it was Trinidad and far beyond it there were Spaniards, who had killed many of Friday's people. Friday told Robinson that it was possible to get to where the Spaniards were by boat, and Robinson started to hope that he might escape the island after all.
Despite how happy Robinson is on the island with Friday, as soon as the possibility of escape appears his thoughts of leaving the island return. He is happy in isolation, until he realizes that maybe he doesn't have to be isolated.
Themes
Contentment vs. Desire and Ambition Theme Icon