Social Issues In Robinson Crusoe

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The Enlightenment, also referred to as the Age of Reason, was at its center a celebration of ideas that took place throughout the eighteenth century. The new ideas within not only science, but also philosophy changed how many people, as well as writers, saw the world. There were new ideas about what the human mind was capable of, and many more that were very political in nature. Philosophers as well as common intellectuals began to think about the fundamental rights of all people, such as freedom and democracy. Philosophers such as Rousseau and Voltaire inspired many with their literature that discussed fundamental human rights, which advocated for a strong social reform. Not only in Europe did the enlightenment take hold, but also in America.…show more content…
The story is about a man that is shipwrecked on an island and only has him and the wild nature to survive. In Defoe’s story, the ideas and cultural agenda of the enlightenment fit brilliantly into the novel. One could say that Robinson Crusoe is a story that perfectly fits the archetypical enlightenment story, since it is a protagonist having to fight the wild in order to survive, written in the first person narrative and as a diary. Robinson, the protagonist of the story, builds his own little world with tools he can find from his shipwreck. He has to rely on himself entirely, if he is to survive the stay. The story is primarily about how mankind wanted to be seen in the eighteenth century, the conqueror of the primitive and rude, capable of creating a civilized universe around him by a systematic and scientific approach. Here we see the enlightened idea about rationalism and science. One could also say that Defoe’s story is a helpful moral instruction, as well as a speculation of civilization and the capacities of…show more content…
In Franklin’s autobiography as well as the book on the thirteen virtues, Franklin heavily focuses on the individual. How the individual can only change the world, by changing oneself first into a rational, practical and scientific person. Here Defoe and Franklin are very similar, as Defoe also focuses on the individual, such as how the book is about Crusoe’s inner life and how he can only rely on himself to survive. However the difference between the two is that in Defoe’s novel, Crusoe is already a practical, rational thinking, scientific man. Franklin who considered himself as such, wanted to bring these enlightened ideas to people that would otherwise never quite know or understand them. One could say that the writers appeal were quite different, as Franklin would draw ordinary and common people, and Defoe people who were already considered “enlightened”. Defoe’s story is also different in the sense that it is much more a thought about how man, civilization and society works, and how to improve it. Defoe’s’ and Kant’s thought that the answer is to remove man from civilization, and people or institutions that did not help in a reasonable way. Franklin believed that it was best to change man first, then
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