Robinson Crusoe | Daniel Defoe

Summary of: Robinson Crusoe
By: Daniel Defoe


Venture into the world of Robinson Crusoe, where adventure, survival, and self-discovery collide in the classic tale penned by Daniel Defoe. This book summary takes you on a thrilling journey as Crusoe, a restless and ambitious young man, defies his father’s wishes and goes out to sea. From shipwrecks to pirate attacks, Crusoe braves multiple challenges, ultimately finding himself stranded on a remote island. As you delve into this summary, you’ll witness Crusoe’s determination and ingenuity as he adapts to his new life, learning the importance of resilience, faith, and friendship along the way.

Robinson’s Rebellious Dream

Robinson Crusoe rebels against his father’s plans of becoming a lawyer and sets his heart on sailing. His father, a wealthy merchant, disapproves and prophesies that trouble would befall his son. Nonetheless, Robinson persists, determined to explore the world beyond the English middle-class life, disregarding his father’s warnings. This book is a story of adventure and perseverance against all odds.

From Regret to Resilience

Robinson journeys from regret to resilience after surviving a series of challenges as a sailor and trader under unexpected circumstances.

Robinson’s curiosity and desire for adventure led him to board a ship without informing his parents. He quickly regretted his decision after encountering a violent storm that no one on board seemed to take seriously. Fortunately, they all survived and made it to shore. Robinson, unable to face the shame of returning home, journeyed to London, where he met a kind captain who mentored him, shaping him into a skilled sailor and merchant.

Tragically, Robinson’s new friend passed away, but he continued his newfound profession as a Guinea trader. However, his journey encountered another obstacle when Turkish pirates attacked and took him hostage, forcing him into servitude for a Moorish buccaneer. After years of difficult labor, Robinson saw a sudden opportunity to make a getaway, exploiting the situation and throwing a young boy overboard (as a last resort), which enabled his escape. He befriended another boy named Xury, who pledged his loyalty and became his companion in subsequent trials.

Despite encountering several trials, Robinson developed resilience by learning from his experiences and adapting to survive.

Robinson Crusoe’s Road to Wealth

Robinson Crusoe, along with his companion, sails 1,500 miles to the Cap de Verde Islands where they spot a Portuguese ship. The ship’s captain buys Robinson’s boat, belongings, and the Moorish boy Xuri, who he promises to free after ten years of Xuri converting to Christianity. They continue their journey to Brazil where the captain introduces Robinson to a sugarcane farmer who teaches him how to plant and make sugar. Robinson decides to become a small-scale cane sugar planter and tobacco grower, establishing himself as a successful plantation owner. He eventually sends half of his fortune from the first trade voyage to Guinea to London as goods, selling them at a great profit. With the money earned, he purchases a slave and a servant. Robinson’s journey illustrates the path to wealth and success through hard work and a willingness to take risks.

Robinson Crusoe’s Ill-Fated Expedition

Robinson Crusoe, an experienced Guinea traveler, agrees to lead an expedition to smuggle slaves from Guinea and split the profits with a farmer. Although he has the chance to obtain slaves without contributing to the cost of the expedition, he considers this action later on as the biggest mistake of his life. The journey begins favorably, but two massive storms destroy the ship and cause the crew to become separated. Robinson is the only survivor and lands on an unknown island, starting a life-changing experience of solitude and survival.

Robinson’s Survival Story

Robinson, the sole survivor of a shipwreck, is left with nothing but a pipe and some tobacco. He faces the daunting task of surviving alone on an uninhabited island and navigating the uncertainty of its perils. However, his resourcefulness shines as he salvages supplies from the wreck and builds a fortified shelter and palisade to protect himself from predators. Robinson’s struggle is evident in his journal entries as he praises God one moment and the next admits to confusion and fear. Despite the isolation, Robinson persists and proves his ability to adapt to his new reality.

Robinson’s Survival Story

Robinson, stuck on an island, realizes the danger posed by a storm to his powder stock. In order to safeguard himself, he divides its content into 100 canvas packages and hides them in different caves. In the following days, he hunts and milks wild goats for his sustenance, while dealing with loneliness and hopelessness. Despite his distress, he stays positive and takes pride in his accomplishments. He builds a calendar and marks each day to keep track of time. Additionally, he saves pens, ink, paper, three Bibles, one dog, and two cats from the ship wreckage.

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