I realize that we are supposed to be focused on the role of food in Robinson Crusoe. However, I was struck by the importance of lists, especially the importance of listing of specific items, as well as the weight and cost of the item.
For example, page 21 describes “he brought a Leather Pouch which held about a Pound and half of Powder; or rather more; and another with Shot, that had five or six Pound”. On page 20, there is mention of “three Fuzees with Powder and Shot” and then goes on to list, “a large Basket of Ruck or Brisket…three Jarrs with fresh Water…a great Lump of Bees-Wax…which weighed above half a Hundred Weight, with a Parcel of Twine or Thread, a Hatchet, a Saw and a Hammer”.
I feel like the author wouldn’t have added all this (what appears to me to be superfluous) information with out reason. The reaction I had was that all the items listed were either food or survival gear. And since most of the items listed are capitalized, so obviously, at least to me would be important. My thoughts are these: Crusoe coming from a middle class background places a lot of emphasis on things, and having worldly possessions. Later when he is marooned on an island almost completely alone and having to do with out survival gear and sustenance makes the deprivation of these items even more relevant. It’s as if Crusoe is saying, “I once had all these items, I even knew the exact number of items and later all of these items with be gone”. Perhaps Defoe is doing a bit of foreshadowing?
Crusoe continues to place a emphasis on material goods, especially food though out the course of the novel, but there seems to be less of an emphasis on quantity or the good or the weight. Which I feel is to show the lack goods, again going from a have to a have not.