Family: The Root of Structured Society

It struck me that Robinson’s whole mishap could have been avoided if he had listened to his father.  This seems like a moot point until you realize the message that this is sending to an ever-growing readership.  The Norton Anthology of English Literature succinctly states: “In Early Modern England, both gender hierarchy, with the man at the top, and the husband’s patriarchal role as governor of his family and household — wife, children, wards, and servants — were assumed to have been instituted by God and nature. So ordered, the family was seen as the secure foundation of society and the patriarch’s role as analogous to that of God in the universe and the king in the state.”   The father, it turns out, was right about his son and the pitfalls that would follow should he not heed his advice.  Does the father’s correct intuition reinforce the idea that his role is analogous to God’s and thus suggest that we should remain obedient to our fathers?  Is it significant that Robinson’s disobedience to the assigned order created so much disorder in his life?  This idea of an ordered society is also reinforced in other places in the novel, such as when Robinson becomes master and instructor to Friday and when Robinson asserts himself governor and general of his now populated and fully ordered island society.  Is there a connection between Robinson’s redemption and the creation of a fully structured society, e.g. ranks, contracts, division of labor, etc, as if he had finally understood order and was now worthy to enter civilization again? 


“The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The 17th Century: Topic 1: Overview.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The 17th Century: Topic 1: Overview. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2013.


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