Robinson Crusoe

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Robinson Crusoe Chapter 24 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The captain spoke to the mutineers and they all apologized and begged for their lives. The captain told them that their fate was in the hands of the governor of the island: Robinson. The captain said that Robinson would probably send the mutineers to England to face justice, except for Will Atkins, who would be put to death for being the first to turn on the captain. Atkins begged for his life.
Robinson, who has had the experience of being a prisoner and slave and greatly values his independence, must now decide what to do with his own prisoners. The death penalty is depicted as just for the worst offenders in something like a mutiny.
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Robinson ordered the captain to take Atkins and two more of the worst prisoners to his cave, where the least trustworthy of the mutineers were being kept as in a prison. The rest of the mutineers were sent to Robinson's bower in the forest, where they were bound.
After living alone for so many years, Robinson now has a sizable group of friends and prisoners with him. He is now in charge of the fate of other men; he controls their freedom or confinement.
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Robinson sent the captain to speak to this second group of mutineers and see if they might help recover the ship. In return, the captain promised them to lobby Robinson for their pardon. They readily agreed. Robinson had the captain select five of these men to join them and kept the other two, along with the three worse prisoners, as hostages, who would be killed if the mutineers went back on their promise.
Robinson is willing to take the risk of pardoning some of these unknown strangers, because he needs their help to get off his island.
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
Robinson and Friday now planned to stay on land and look after their prisoners, while the captain and his men went to take back the ship. The captain and his men went in two boats to the ship around midnight, tricking the mutineers on board into thinking that they were the other mutineers returning from land. The captain's mate killed the mutineers' captain and the ship was recovered.
Robinson's plan of escape from his island relies on the help and cooperation of his new comrades.
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
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The captain fired seven gunshots from the boat, the agreed-upon signal to Robinson that the ship was safely recaptured. Robinson went to sleep, tired, and was woken by the captain, who happily told him that the ship was his. Robinson looked and saw the ship anchored just off-shore.
With the help of his new allies, Robinson now has the means to escape his life of isolation on the island.
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Robinson was so overcome with emotion he cried and couldn't speak. At last, he embraced the captain and told him that he "looked upon him as a man sent from Heaven to deliver me." He said that these recent events were confirmation of "a secret hand of Providence governing the world," and thanked God.
Robinson sees his rescue from the island as definitive proof of the fact that God's providence is in control of the world. Earlier the captain saw Robinson as an instrument of divine providence. Now both men see each other as such instruments; each man being directed by God to save the other.
Themes
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
The captain brought Robinson a gift from the ship: liquors, wine, tobacco, meat, sugar, flour, and many other supplies, in addition to new clothes. Robinson and the captain then debated what to do with their prisoners. Robinson had Friday bring the five worst prisoners from the cave to the bower, where Robinson would speak to them.
Robinson values the ideals of independence and individuality, so to what degree will he rob his new prisoners of their own independence and freedom?
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Robinson spoke to the prisoners as "the governor," and told them he had learned of their mutinous ways and their plans "to commit further robberies, but that Providence had ensnared them in their own ways." He told them that the new captain of the mutiny had been killed and would be hanged from the yard arm. He then asked them why he shouldn't execute them.
Robinson sees providence as determining all events, from his being stranded on the island to the mutineers' defeat, to his eventual rescue.
Themes
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
The prisoners begged for mercy and Robinson gave them the option of staying on the island or going back on the ship as prisoners, to be tried for mutiny at the first English colony they came to. The prisoners asked to stay on the island. Robinson told them his story of how he had survived on the island, showed them his fortifications and dwelling, and explained how he made bread, planted his crops, and dried his grapes.
Robinson gives the prisoners the opportunity to maintain their independence and lead free lives alone on the island, which they opt for instead of returning to society as criminals. The island becomes the locale for these mutineer's deliverance, just as it was for Robinson. Perhaps these men, too, will find God.
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Robinson left the prisoners some weapons, including guns and gunpowder, and told them about the Spaniards due to return soon, making them promise to treat the Spaniards well. Using some ink from the ship, he left a letter explaining what had happened to the Spanish prisoner. The next day, Robinson left the island and went onto the ship.
The providential, unpredicted arrival of the English ship has completely altered Robinson's earlier plan to escape with the Spanish ship.
Themes
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
Before the ship left, two of the prisoners swam to the ship and begged to be taken aboard, because the other three prisoners would kill them. Robinson took them aboard, they were "soundly whipped and pickled," and they became "very honest and quiet fellows." Finally, on December 19, 1686, twenty-eight years after arriving on the island, Robinson departed.
After 28 years of isolation and life apart from society, Robinson voyages back to European society.
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Robinson notes that this was the same day of the month on which he had escaped Sallee so long ago. As remembrances of his time on the island, Robinson brought with him his goat-skin cap, his umbrella, one of his parrots, and the money that had so long been useless to him on the island. After a long voyage, Robinson arrived back in England on June 11, 1687, after being away for 35 years.
Now that Robinson is returning to society, money is once again valuable to him. The souvenirs he brings with him show how fondly he now remembers his isolated life on the island. The coincidence of the dates is more evidence for Robinson of God's providence.
Themes
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon