It is clear to see the way food plays a dominant role in Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. However, the theme that stuck out to me the most revolves around the idea of repentance. At the beginning of the novel, Crusoe finds himself aboard a ship in turbulent, stormy waters. As the situation grows increasingly hopeless, Crusoe prays, begging God for deliverance from the storm. If he is allowed to make it safely through, Crusoe promises he would return home to his father “like a true repenting prodigal” (10). However, it becomes clear that although he did in fact survive the storm, his pride prevented him from returning home even after another life-threatening incident.
When he finally finds himself stranded on the isolated island, Crusoe again prays empty promises begging for deliverance. During the throws of illness, he dreams of a dark, fiery apparition. The figure tells him that because he has not yet repented, he is condemned to die (87). This dream sends Crusoe into a period of realization, where he recognizes that despite his good fortune to have survived numerous grim situations, his appreciation stopped at fleeting thankfulness, and he never truly repented despite his prayers and promises to do so. It seems as if after this dream, Crusoe uses religion and God as a means to be strong enough to carry on despite his grim situation. His repentance consists of recognizing his wrongful actions toward his father, who wanted only the best for his son. However, it is clear that although Crusoe’s attitude is improved once he turns to God for help, his situation does not really seem to improve otherwise.
Because of this, I have begun to wonder if Crusoe will continue on this path of repentance and righteousness, or will begin to feel forsaken and turn his back on God as a result.