The Moonstone

The Moonstone

Robinson Crusoe Symbol Icon

A landmark, wildly popular 1719 novel by Daniel Defoe that many consider the first true English novel, Robinson Crusoe is Gabriel Betteredge’s favorite novel—and appears to be the only thing he has ever read (although he is on his seventh copy during the events of the novel). Robinson Crusoe’s title character spends 28 years stranded on a remote Caribbean island and has become a profound symbol of the British imperial attitude and Puritan Christian morality, as well as the most important figure in the long tradition of castaway fiction. Although he considers himself a serious and unsuperstitious man, Betteredge believes so deeply in Robinson Crusoe that he reads it over and over again (but does not seem to ever read anything else), places no trust in people who have not read the book (like Ezra Jennings), and even turns to the book for advice, opening to random pages and inevitably discovering hidden predictions and messages in the passages he encounters. “If that isn’t prophecy,” Betteredge writes after referring to one relevant passage, “what is?”

Robinson Crusoe’s immense popularity allows Collins to make an important argument about the role of literature in life—not only does life often imitate art, but art can also offer a lens through which to interpret life. Betteredge’s search for moral advice and clues about his future in Robinson Crusoe also parallels the way the reader must try to interpret the clues encountered throughout the search for the Moonstone in order to reconstruct the truth about its theft—Betteredge’s reading offers the reader a template to follow.

Indeed, the great pleasure Betteredge takes in relaxing with Robinson Crusoe and his pipe at the end of the day points to the changing role of literature in the mid-19th century, as reading became a popular pastime for people of all classes—a transformation without which The Moonstone could never have ignited a frenzy in London when its next installment came out every week (as many popular movies and television series do in the 21st century). Finally and most prophetically, Robinson Crusoe foreshadows the impact of Collins’s own novel, which has essentially defined the genre of detective fiction ever since.

Robinson Crusoe Quotes in The Moonstone

The The Moonstone quotes below all refer to the symbol of Robinson Crusoe. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Detective Methods and Genre Standards Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of The Moonstone published in 1999.
The Loss of the Diamond: 1 Quotes

You are not to take it, if you please, as the saying of an ignorant man, when I express my opinion that such a book as Robinson Crusoe never was written, and never will be written again. I have tried that book for years—generally in combination with a pipe of tobacco—and I have found it my friend in need in all the necessities of this mortal life. When my spirits are bad—Robinson Crusoe. When I want advice Robinson Crusoe. In past times, when my wife plagued me; in present times, when I have had a drop too much—Robinson Crusoe. I have worn out six stout. Robinson Crusoe hard work in my service. On my lady's last birthday she gave me a seventh. I took a drop too much on the strength of it; and Robinson Crusoe put me right again. Price four shillings and sixpence, bound in blue, with a picture into the bargain.

Related Characters: Gabriel Betteredge (speaker)
Related Symbols: Robinson Crusoe
Page Number: 22-3
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Moonstone quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Get the entire The Moonstone LitChart as a printable PDF.
The moonstone.pdf.medium

Robinson Crusoe Symbol Timeline in The Moonstone

The timeline below shows where the symbol Robinson Crusoe appears in The Moonstone. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Loss of the Diamond: Gabriel Betteredge: Chapter 1
Detective Methods and Genre Standards Theme Icon
...Lady Verinder. He begins by citing the passage he discovered upon opening his copy of Robinson Crusoe at random the previous day: “Now I saw, though too late, the Folly of beginning... (full context)
Detective Methods and Genre Standards Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
For the first two hours, Betteredge stares at a blank page, contemplating the passage from Robinson Crusoe and deciding that, “if that isn’t prophecy, what is?” Although he is in his seventies,... (full context)
The Loss of the Diamond: Gabriel Betteredge: Chapter 2
Intention, Identity, and Personality Theme Icon
Gender and Victorian Morality Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Nobility Theme Icon
...them both. Julia made Betteredge their lands’ bailiff, and with a cottage, interesting work, and Robinson Crusoe , all Betteredge needed in life was a woman. He ended up marrying Selina Goby,... (full context)
Intention, Identity, and Personality Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Nobility Theme Icon
...work in the house instead, which he agreed to do after some persuasion. He read Robinson Crusoe to cope. (full context)
The Loss of the Diamond: Gabriel Betteredge: Chapter 5
Detective Methods and Genre Standards Theme Icon
British Imperialism Theme Icon
...man.” Mr. Franklin notices Betteredge’s discomfort and asks, “What do you want?” His pipe and Robinson Crusoe , Betteredge admits to the reader. (full context)
The Loss of the Diamond: Gabriel Betteredge: Chapter 9
Class, Wealth, and Nobility Theme Icon
...Franklin and Rachel spend the morning finishing the bedroom door; before dinner, Betteredge awakens from Robinson Crusoe to find Franklin arriving alongside Godfrey Ablewhite, who is surprisingly surly, and his two rotund... (full context)
The Loss of the Diamond: Gabriel Betteredge: Chapter 10
Detective Methods and Genre Standards Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
...the dogs if the Indians return, and then they head back inside. Betteredge turns to Robinson Crusoe and stumbles upon a passage that insists the “Fear of Danger is ten thousand times... (full context)
The Loss of the Diamond: Gabriel Betteredge: Chapter 22
Detective Methods and Genre Standards Theme Icon
Intention, Identity, and Personality Theme Icon
...relationship to Betteredge, the only person who will listen. Betteredge tries to offer advice from Robinson Crusoe , but Franklin simply insists his monologue not be interrupted and continues to speak contradictory... (full context)
The Loss of the Diamond: Gabriel Betteredge: Chapter 23
Intention, Identity, and Personality Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Nobility Theme Icon
...is going; he claims to be “going to the devil!” Without him, Betteredge returns to Robinson Crusoe , and the other servants return to talking about Rosanna (whom they assume stole the... (full context)
Detective Methods and Genre Standards Theme Icon
...forgive his errors and take solace in his writing just as he took solace in Robinson Crusoe . (full context)
The Discovery of the Truth: Third Narrative: Franklin Blake: Chapter 1
Detective Methods and Genre Standards Theme Icon
Intention, Identity, and Personality Theme Icon
...encounters Betteredge, as always, in his chair in the yard, smoking his pipe and reading Robinson Crusoe , flanked by his two dogs. Betteredge is startled to see Franklin, and Franklin begins... (full context)
The Discovery of the Truth: Third Narrative: Franklin Blake: Chapter 2
Detective Methods and Genre Standards Theme Icon
Intention, Identity, and Personality Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
Gender and Victorian Morality Theme Icon
Betteredge remarks that Robinson Crusoe astonishingly foresaw Franklin’s visit. He has opened to the following passage: “I stood like one... (full context)
The Discovery of the Truth: Fourth Narrative: Ezra Jennings
Intention, Identity, and Personality Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
...going quickly enough. Betteredge stops Jennings on his way out to offer some insight from Robinson Crusoe . Torn between his private reservations about the doctor’s “hocus-pocus” and his official orders to... (full context)
Detective Methods and Genre Standards Theme Icon
Intention, Identity, and Personality Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
...suit, and his stiffest white cravat,” but still disappointed in Jennings’s lack of acquaintance with Robinson Crusoe . Bruff has reluctantly agreed to come, as well, and “nothing has been heard of... (full context)
The Discovery of the Truth: Eighth Narrative: Gabriel Betteredge
Detective Methods and Genre Standards Theme Icon
Intention, Identity, and Personality Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
Gender and Victorian Morality Theme Icon
...admits that he had “a drop too much” during the ceremony, and then turned to Robinson Crusoe , which prophetically opened to a passage about the narrator’s wife and child. A year... (full context)