The first sign Robinson
sees of anyone else on his island is a footprint in the sand, which sends him running terrified to his dwelling. Through Robinson's reaction to the footprint, we see his ambivalence toward society. Instead of rejoicing at the possibility of rescue or of a companion, Robinson has grown to like his individual, solitary life so much that he reacts only with fear. Moreover, it is significant that the potential presence of other humans is symbolized by a footprint, a human's literal impression on the landscape. Over the course of the novel, Robinson and the Spaniards he leaves behind on the island leave a very different kind of "footprint" on the wild natural environment by cutting down trees, building dwellings, taming animals, and growing crops. The footprint can also be seen as a symbol of the human "footprint" that society and colonization leave on the untouched nature of the island—and the "New World" generally.