Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Robinson often thought about the land he had seen from the other end of the island and fantasized about getting to it somehow, but also worried that it might be inhabited by savages or cannibals. He found himself wishing for Xury.
Despite coming to value his life on the island, Robinson is still lonely without any companions. Again, he assumes that unknown lands may be inhabited by "savages."
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
Robinson returned to the small boat that had been washed ashore back when he was shipwrecked, and he tried to repair it. Unable to, he decided to make a canoe. He tells the reader that he should have thought about how he would bring the canoe to the water, but instead went a head and cut down a large cedar tree. He made it into a canoe, but then realized he had no way of moving it to the water.
From his standpoint as narrator, Robinson realizes his foolish mistake in constructing the canoe far from water. However, this is knowledge that he only gained by making that very mistake.
Themes
Advice, Mistakes, and Hindsight Theme Icon
The canoe was about 100 yards away from a creek, so Robinson thought he might dig out a canal leading the water to the boat. He soon figured out that this was too difficult for him to do alone and realized his folly in building the canoe with no way of bringing it to the water.
Robinson realizes too late how foolish it was to build the canoe so far from the water.
Themes
Advice, Mistakes, and Hindsight Theme Icon
On the fourth anniversary of his coming to the island, Robinson reflected on his situation. He says that he was free from the wickedness of the world because, all alone, he had no lust or pride, and had nothing to covet. He had no rivals and had as much food and provisions as he needed.
Having spent four years on the island, Robinson now regards his isolated life as better than life in society. Isolated on the island, he finds himself more able to avoid sin and temptation, more able to be a good Christian.
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
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Having no need for surplus food, Robinson only grew and hunted what he needed and concluded that the only value of things was in their use. The money he had salvaged from the ship, for example, was utterly useless on the island.
Living apart from society, Robinson has no greed and values only what is useful or necessary to him, in contrast to the way people in society over-value money and always measure themselves against others.
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Looking on the bright side of his situation, Robinson was thankful for what he had and especially thankful that his ship had been stranded so close to shore. He says that he was "sensible of the goodness of Providence."
Robinson now perceives his being stranded on the island as a blessing rather than a curse, and believes in the ultimate goodness of providence.
Themes
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Moreover, Robinson was happy because he thought his previous life of wickedness, during which he and his fellow sailors rejected religion, did not merit all the blessings that God bestowed on him. He remembers that he didn't even thank God when he escaped from Sallee or was rescued by the Portuguese captain.
Having repented and become deeply Christian, Robinson now looks back on his former life with regret, seeing it as wicked and sinful.
Themes
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
Advice, Mistakes, and Hindsight Theme Icon
Thinking that God had accepted his repentance, Robinson was no longer sad and gave thanks for his new life. His ink was running out, so he now only recorded the dates of important events. In writing his journal, he realized some odd parallels: he left home on the same day of the year he was taken as a prisoner to Sallee, he escaped the storm on the way to London on the same day as he escaped Sallee, and he was washed up on his island on the day of his birth.
Robinson's new devotion to Christianity helps him to become content and happy with his life on the island. The coincidences of dates can be seen as evidence of divine providence, a hint of order or some plan behind the apparently random events of Robinson's life.
Themes
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
Contentment vs. Desire and Ambition Theme Icon
Robinson's clothes were starting to decay and he needed garments to protect him from the sun's rays. He made some clothes out of animal skins, and then made himself an umbrella so that he could walk around in the extreme heat of day.
All by himself on the island, Robinson makes his own clothes, just as he has made everything else he uses there.
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
As Robinson became more comfortable on the island, he began to think that this life was better than life among society. He thought that conversing with God was better than conversing with other people.
Now comfortable on the island, Robinson would rather live alone with God than in society without him.
Themes
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon