Robinson Crusoe

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Robinson Crusoe Chapter 21 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After Friday learned to speak English almost fluently, Robinson taught him how to use a gun and gave him a hatchet. He told Friday about Europe, England, and Christianity, and explained how he had ended up on this island.
Robinson again teaches Friday about his way of life, and again never thinks to try to find out about Friday's culture.
Themes
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
Robinson showed Friday the remains of the boat on which he'd tried to escape his shipwreck, and Friday said that a similar boat had landed in his country, full of white men who were now living among his people. Robinson excitedly thought these might be survivors from the Spanish ship he saw get wrecked in the storm.
Robinson is excited by the idea of rejoining others from European society. Despite the comfort of his life on the island, he again has a deep desire to escape it.
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Contentment vs. Desire and Ambition Theme Icon
Robinson asked why Friday's people did not eat these white men, and Friday explained that they only ate prisoners of war. One day, the weather was clear and Robinson and Friday were able to see the mainland of America. Friday jumped in excitement at seeing his native land, and Robinson wondered whether Friday would turn on him if he somehow got back to his people.
Friday explains that his people are not lawless savages, but have their own rules and customs. Robinson is still at this point hesitant to trust Friday fully. He still sees Friday as belonging to an unknown world. It is interesting that Robinson wants to escape the solitary world of the island, but fears Friday doing the same.
Themes
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
But Friday showed nothing but friendliness and loyalty, and any suspicions Robinson had dwindled. He asked Friday if he wanted to go back to his native land, and Friday said yes. He said he would teach his people the ways of Christianity and not to eat humans ever again.
As narrator, Robinson presents Friday as obediently eager to spread Christianity and European customs to his own people.
Themes
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
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Friday said he would only go back to his native land if Robinson would come, as well. He assured Robinson that he would tell his people to be kind to him, as they were to the white men who had come in the boat. Robinson was eager at the opportunity of meeting these other Europeans.
Friday is now attached to Robinson as a friend. Robinson, meanwhile, is greatly interested in meeting other Europeans. While he now has Friday, he is still in isolation from European society.
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
Robinson showed Friday his large canoe, which he hadn't been able to bring to the water. He suggested that they could make another boat like this and Friday could it back to his homeland. Friday was confused and asked why Robinson was mad at him and sending him away. He insisted that Robinson come with him and teach his people to live civilized, Christian lives.
Again, Robinson presents Friday as wanting to bring Christianity and civilized customs to his people, though one may question how reliable this representation is.
Themes
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
Robinson said that he would stay on his island, but Friday gave him his hatchet and said that he would prefer for Robinson to kill him than to send him away alone. Robinson finally decided to go with Friday, wanting to see the Europeans there among his people.
Friday displays his intense loyalty to Robinson. After living alone for so long, Robinson now has a lifelong companion.
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Robinson and Friday worked hard, felling a tree near a river and making it into a large canoe. Robinson constructed a sail, a mast, and a rudder for it. Friday was very skilled at paddling the canoe, but did not know how to sail, which Robinson taught him. Friday was a quick learner, but could not learn to understand how to use a compass.
Robinson continues to use the ingenuity and resourcefulness he learned while living alone now that he finally has someone else with him on the island.
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Now, after being on his island for 27 years, Robinson was convinced that his "deliverance was at hand." Nonetheless, he went about his planting, fencing, and husbandry as usual while he and Friday prepared for their voyage. They waited during the rainy months of November and December.
Robinson is sure that he will now leave the island, but providence may have other plans. If Robinson's past experiences have taught him anything, it should be that he should be wary of predicting his own future.
Themes
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
As the weather improved, Robinson got ready for the voyage, and one day sent Friday to find a turtle on the shore. Friday came back running, panicking, and shouting that three canoes had landed on the island. Friday was scared, but Robinson told him that they must prepare to fight the newly arrived men.
Robinson's first reaction to more people landing on the island is a hostile one. He now sees the "savages" as people whom he must fight.
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
Robinson armed Friday and himself with weapons and climbed his hill, from where he saw that there were 21 savages on the shore with three canoes and three prisoners. Disgusted by the savages' plans of cannibalism, Robinson gave Friday a gun and told him he was resolved to go and kill the savages.
Robinson's disgust at the savages' cannibalism again overcomes any qualms about killing someone. It is noteworthy that he does trust Friday enough at this point to give him a gun. He believes that Friday will work with him and not betray him.
Themes
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
Friday and Robinson set out toward the savages, but Robinson's resolution in the attack wavered, as he wondered whether he had any right to kill those who had done nothing to him. Robinson decided to go and observe the savages first, before doing anything.
Robinson begins to doubt whether it is right for him to interfere in the savages' lives and kill them when they had done nothing to him (murder is, after all, a serious sin).
Themes
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
Robinson and Friday went to the edge of a forest near the savages and saw that they were feasting upon one of their prisoners, a savage, and preparing to eat another prisoner next who was European. Enraged, Robinson went to some bushes from where he would be able to ambush the savages.
Robinson is not moved by the idea of a non-European being eaten by the savages, but the sight of a European prisoner about to suffer the same fate causes him to lose any hesitation about attacking.
Themes
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon