Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe Chapter 19 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
About a year and a half after having these thoughts, Robinson woke one day to see five canoes landed on his side of the island. He climbed the hill by his home and saw thirty savages dancing around a fire. He saw the savages had two captives, one of which they killed. The other escaped and started running in Robinson's direction, pursued by about three savages.
These events are almost exactly the same as Robinson's earlier dream, perhaps suggesting that providence is at work here.
Themes
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
The fugitive swam across a creek and two of the savages pursued him, while the third was unable to swim. Robinson took a gun and went down from his hill. He waved to the fugitive and beckoned him to come near. When one of the pursuing savages ran up to him, Robinson knocked him out with the butt of his gun and shot the other one.
After so much internal debate earlier, Robinson is quick to action in killing the "savages" he encounters.
Themes
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
The escaped prisoner was so frightened by the gunshot that he approached Robinson very gradually and tentatively. He kneeled on the ground and placed Robinson's foot on his head as a sign of submission and thanks for saving his life. Robinson took this to mean that he would be his servant for life.
Robinson values his individuality, but is quick to accept the prisoner as his servant for life, assuming that he understands what the prisoner's gestures mean.
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
The savage Robinson had knocked out began to come to and sat up. The prisoner motioned toward Robinson's sword, which Robinson gave to him, and the prisoner cut the other savage's head off. He then laid the head and the sword at Robinson's feet.
Robinson has feared what "savages" might do to him, but the prisoner is already loyal to him and grateful for being saved.
Themes
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
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Curious about the savage Robinson shot to death, he examined the body and its bullet wound. He buried both the dead savages in the sand, so that their comrades wouldn't see the bodies, and Robinson took the prisoner to the cave by his forest abode, where he gave him food and water.
Robinson now has a companion on his island for the first time. His wishes to escape total isolation from other humans have been met.
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Robinson describes the attractive appearance of the tawny-skinned prisoner "with straight, strong limbs, not too large, tall, and well-shaped." He began to teach the man how to speak English and named him Friday, after the day on which Robinson rescued him. He taught Friday to call him Master.
Robinson sees Friday as a companion, but there is a clear hierarchy in their relationship: Robinson is Friday's master, and Robinson teaches Friday English (and even gives Friday a new name), while not bothering to learn his language or customs. Robinson (and Defoe) simply assumes that he should be Friday's master, that such an arrangement is the only one that makes sense.
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
Friday and Robinson walked by where the two dead savages were buried in the sand, and Friday made signs suggesting that they eat them. This greatly upset Robinson, who communicated to Friday that he was deeply against doing this.
While Robinson earlier had some respect for the cultural differences between the "savages" and himself, he draws the line at cannibalism, which he will not permit his new companion Friday to engage in.
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
Robinson saw that the savages' canoes were gone, so he and Friday went to where the savages had gathered. Robinson was disgusted to see human bones and remains all over the ground. Robinson had Friday gather all these remains and burn them in a fire.
Robinson is again disgusted by the cannibalistic behavior of the "savages."
Themes
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
Back in his "castle," Robinson made Friday some clothes, which it took him some time to get used to. Robinson built him a tent in the space between his two walls, so that Friday couldn't get inside the inner wall at night. But he was soon convinced of Friday's good nature so that he realized he didn't have to take this precaution.
Robinson is first wary of the unknown Friday, but soon learns that he is a friendly and loyal companion.
Themes
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
His experience with Friday prompted Robinson to reflect that God made all men with "the same powers, the same reason, the same affections, the same sentiments of kindness and obligation, the same passion and resentments of wrongs, the same sense of gratitude, sincerity, fidelity, and all the capacities of doing good, and receiving good."
Robinson's experience with Friday makes him think that God made all humans equal, but he still does not treat Friday as his equal, keeping him as a servant.
Themes
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
This caused Robinson to wonder why Friday and his people were not given knowledge of Christianity and were fated to live savage lives. But he decided not to question God's wisdom. He grew fond of Friday and started to teach him various things, especially how to speak English. He says that his life began to be so happy that he did not even care if he never left the island.
Now that he has a companion, Robinson is again content with his life on the island. His encounter with non-Christian "savages" make him almost question God. While he starts to see Friday as a friend, he is still patronizing toward him, teaching him but not trying to learn anything from him or about Friday's way of life.
Themes
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Contentment vs. Desire and Ambition Theme Icon
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon