Crusoe Socioeconomic Roller Coaster

What has been interesting to me so far about Crusoe, is not only the time period of the novel and the setting, but the scarcity of goods and especially food within his adventure. In essence, Crusoe becomes a sort of Renaissance  man in order to survive the hardship of the life he has chosen to lead. He chooses to ignore his fathers advice to stay put and live in this safe zone within society, a life where ones role in society is better defined and necessities in life would be better guaranteed. But this advice comes after a life full of experience that the author does not care to delve into.

But what is most interesting to me about the book, is that Crusoe chooses not the life of society, but a more entrepreneurial life in which he has to make his own way through a rollercoaster of differing societal roles. The scarcity of food and goods on his voyage are interesting because even though he has all of this money back in London, and even though he owns this plantation and other wealth later on, there are times like during the shipwreck, where he must make his own way through life as if he had no socioeconomic power.  The life of a merchant didn’t fare him well either as he was captured and led into a life of slavery in which he had to make his own way back into liberty. After he escapes, he is met with all of the tools from the boat of which he did not have before, but those are eventually traded in Brazil in order to seek a chance at life there. The point I’m trying to make is that it is interesting how the relative scarcity of goods, as well as his socioeconomic relevance continuously change within the story, and the way it is presented to the readers makes it seem as if in this age in history life was greatly determined about what you possessed on hand at any given moment and that it could all change must more easily than it does now.


One thought on “Crusoe Socioeconomic Roller Coaster

  1. I like what you’ve said about the rollercoaster of differing societal roles. He is first part of a middle-class family living with enough resources for a modest life, then becomes a scavenger and vagrant hoping to survive on the island, then becomes a skilled islandman, then a governor of an island and army, and finally, a normal member of society upon his return. I find it interesting that he is most satisfied in his role on the island; he makes his own way and creates his own, unique reality that fits with his personality and interests. I think you’re right that the novel sheds light on the importance of socioeconomic status, but also subverts this in its own way but showing that Crusoe is happiest when he creates his own economic status with nature’s resources, not when he finds riches in “regular” society at the end of the novel.

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