Short summary - The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe

British literature summaries -

Short summary - The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
Daniel Defoe

Life, unusual and amazing adventures of Robinson Crusoe, a sailor from York, who lived alone for 28 years on a desert island off the coast of America near the mouths of the Orinoco River, where he was thrown by a shipwreck during which the entire crew of the ship except him died, outlining his unexpected release by pirates; written by himself.

Robinson was the third son in the family, a spoiler, he was not prepared for any craft, and since childhood, his head was full of "all sorts of nonsense" - mainly dreams of sea voyages. His elder brother died in Flanders, fighting with the Spaniards, the middle one went missing, and therefore they do not want to hear at home about letting his last son go to sea. The father, "a man of power and intelligence," tearfully begs him to strive for a modest existence, in every way extolling the "average state" that saves a person who is sane from the evil vicissitudes of fate. The exhortations of the father only temporarily appease the 18-year-old undergrowth. An attempt by an intractable son to enlist the support of his mother is also unsuccessful, and for almost a year he breaks his parents' hearts until September 1, 1651 he saves from Gull to London,

Already the first day at sea was the harbinger of future trials. An outbreak of the storm awakens remorse in the soul of the disobedient, however, subsiding with the weather and finally dispelled by a binge ("as usual with sailors"). A week later, on a Yarmouth raid, a new, much more ferocious storm flies. The experience of the team selflessly saving the ship does not help: the ship is sinking, the sailors are picked up by a boat from a neighboring vessel. On the shore, Robinson is once again tempted to take a harsh lesson and return to his parental home, but the «evil fate» keeps him on the chosen disastrous path. In London, he meets the captain of a ship preparing to go to Guinea, and decides to sail with them - it’s good, it will not cost him anything, he will be the captain’s companion and friend. How late will reproach itself, test-wise Robinson for his prudent carelessness! Had he been a simple sailor, he would have learned the duties and work of a sailor, and so he is only a merchant, making a successful turn to his forty pounds. But he acquires some kind of seafaring knowledge: the captain willingly engages with him for a short time. Upon returning to England, the captain soon dies, and Robinson is on his own sent to Guinea.

It was an unsuccessful expedition: their ship is captured by a Turkish corsair, and young Robinson, as if in fulfillment of his father's gloomy prophecies, passes a difficult test period, turning from a merchant into a "miserable slave" of the captain of a robber ship. He uses it for homework, does not take it to the sea, and for two years Robinson has no hope of breaking free. The owner, meanwhile, weakens supervision, sends a captive with the Moor and the boy Ksuri to fish to the table, and once, far away from the coast, Robinson throws the Moor overboard and inclines Ksuri to escape. He is well prepared: the boat has a supply of crackers and fresh water, tools, guns and gunpowder. On the way, fugitives shoot animals on the shore, even kill a lion and a leopard, peace-loving natives supply them with water and food. Finally, they are picked up by the oncoming Portuguese ship. Descending to the plight of the rescued, the captain undertakes to take Robinson to Brazil for free (they sail there); moreover, he buys his longboat and «faithful Ksuri», promising ten years later («if he will accept Christianity») to return the boy freedom. «It changed the case,» Robinson concludes complacently, ending remorse.

In Brazil, he settles thoroughly and seems to be for a long time: he receives Brazilian citizenship, buys land for tobacco and sugarcane plantations, works on it with sweat, belatedly regretting that there is no Xuri (as an extra pair of hands would help!). Paradoxically, he comes precisely to that «golden mean" that his father seduced him - so why, now he laments, was leaving the parental home and climbing to the ends of the world? The plantation neighbors are located to him, willingly help, he manages to get from England, where he left money from the widow of his first captain, the necessary goods, agricultural implements and household utensils. There would calm down and continue their profitable business, but the "passion for wandering" and, most importantly, "the desire to get rich sooner than circumstances allowed" prompt Robinson to sharply break the prevailing lifestyle.

It all started with the fact that plantations required labor, and slave labor was expensive, since the delivery of blacks from Africa was fraught with the dangers of maritime crossings and was still complicated by legal obstacles (for example, the English parliament would allow the sale of slaves to private individuals only in 1698). . After listening to Robinson's stories about his trips to the shores of Guinea, the planter neighbors decide to equip the ship and secretly bring slaves to Brazil, dividing them here among themselves. Robinson is invited to participate as a ship clerk responsible for the purchase of blacks in Guinea, and he himself will not invest any money in the expedition, but he will receive slaves on an equal basis with everyone, and even in his absence, companions will oversee his plantations and observe his interests. Of course, he is seduced by favorable conditions, habitually (and not very convincingly) curse "vagrant inclinations." What «inclinations», if he thoroughly and sensibly, observing all the formalities formalities, manages the property left! Never before had fate warned him so clearly: he sailed on the first of September 1659, that is, day after day eight years after escaping from his parents' home. In the second week of the voyage, a fierce flurry struck, and for twelve days the "rage of the elements" thrilled them. The ship leaked, needed to be repaired, the crew lost three sailors (a total of seventeen people on the ship), and there was no longer Africa, it would be more likely to get to land. A second storm is being played out, they are being carried far from the trade routes, and here, in view of the land, the ship is running aground, and on the only remaining boat, the team "surrenders to the will of the surging waves." Even if they don’t sink, rowing to the shore, near land, the surf will tear their boat to pieces, and the approaching land seems to them "worse than the sea itself." A huge shaft «the size of a mountain» overturns the boat, and Robinson, exhausted, miraculously not finished by overtaking waves, gets out to land.

Alas, he alone escaped, as a witness of which three hats, a cap and two unpaired shoes were thrown ashore. Instead of frenzied joy come sorrow for the lost comrades, the pangs of hunger and cold and the fear of wild beasts. He spends the first night on a tree. By morning, the tide drove their ship close to the shore, and Robinson swims to reach him. He builds a raft from spare masts and loads on it «everything necessary for life»: food supplies, clothes, carpentry tools, guns and pistols, shotgun and gunpowder, sabers, saws, an ax and a hammer. With incredible difficulty, every minute at the risk of tipping over, he leads the raft into a calm cove and sets off to find a place to live. From the top of the hill Robinson finds out his «bitter fate»: it is an island, and, by all indications, uninhabited. Fencing on all sides with chests and drawers, he spends the second night on the island, and in the morning he again goes swimming on the ship, in a hurry to take what is possible, until the first storm breaks it into pieces. On this trip, Robinson took a lot of useful things from the ship - again guns and gunpowder, clothes, sail, mattresses and pillows, crowbars, nails, a screwdriver and a whetstone. On the shore, he builds a tent, transfers food and gunpowder into it from the sun and rain, makes his own bed. In total, he visited the ship twelve times, always getting hold of something valuable - canvas, tackle, breadcrumbs, rum, flour, "iron parts" (to the great chagrin, he almost completely drowned them). In his last race, he came across a wardrobe with money (this is one of the famous episodes of the novel) and philosophically reasoned that in his position all this «pile of gold» was not worth any of the knives that were in the next drawer, however, upon reflection, "decided to take them with me." That same night a storm broke out, and the next morning there was nothing left of the ship.

The first concern of Robinson is the establishment of reliable, safe housing - and most importantly, in view of the sea, from where salvation can be expected. On the slope of the hill he finds an even clearing and on it, against a small depression in the rock, decides to pitch a tent, fencing it with a palisade of strong trunks driven into the ground. Entering the "fortress" was possible only by a ladder. He expanded the deepening in the rock - a cave turned out, he uses it as a cellar. This work took many days. He quickly gained experience. In the midst of construction work, rain poured, lightning flashed, and Robinson's first thought: gunpowder! It was not the fear of death that frightened him, but the possibility of losing the gunpowder at once, and for two weeks he put it in bags and drawers and hid it in different places (at least a hundred). At the same time, he now knows how much gunpowder he has: two hundred and forty pounds. Without numbers (money,

This is very important at the same time: mastering a new life, Robinson, doing something «one», will always notice what is «good for the other» and «third». The famous heroes Defoe, Roxanne and Molle Flenders, faced the same task: to survive! But for this they needed to master a difficult, but one «profession» - a courtesan and, accordingly, a thief. They lived with people, skillfully used their sympathy, parasitized on their weaknesses, and sensible «mentors» helped them. But Robinson is alone, he is confronted by a world deeply indifferent to him, simply unaware of his existence - the sea, winds, rains, this island with its wild flora and fauna. And in order to survive, he will not even have to master the «profession» (or many of them, which, however, he will do), but the laws, «morals» of the world around him and interact, taking into account them. In his case, «living» means noting everything - and learning. So, he does not immediately realize that the goats do not know how to look up, but then it will be easy to get meat by shooting from a rock or a hill. He is helped by more than one natural ingenuity: from the civilized world, he brought ideas and skills that allowed him to «quickly complete the main stages of the formation of a public person in complete silence of a sad life» - in other words, to remain in that capacity, not run wild, like many prototypes. He will learn to domesticate the same goats, add milk to the meat table (he will enjoy cheese). And the saved gunpowder is still useful! In addition to cattle breeding, Robinson will establish agriculture when the grains of barley and rice shaken from the sack sprout from the bag. At first he will see in this a «miracle» created by gracious Providence, but he will soon remember the bag and,

Involved in historical memory, growing from the experience of generations and hoping for the future, Robinson, although lonely, is not lost in time, which is why the construction of a calendar becomes the first concern of this vital builder - this is a large pillar on which he makes a notch every day. The first date there is the thirtieth of September 1659. From now on, every day is named and counted, and for the reader, especially then, the reflection of a big story falls on the works and days of Robinson. During his absence in England, the monarchy was restored, and the return of Robinson «puzzles» for the «Glorious Revolution» of 1688, which led to the throne of William of Orange, the benevolent patron Defoe; during the same years, the Great Fire will happen in London (1666), and the revitalized urban development will unrecognizably change the face of the capital; during this time Milton and Spinoza will die; Charles II will issue the «Habeas Corpus Act» - the Personal Integrity Act. And in Russia, which, as it turns out, will also be not indifferent to the fate of Robinson, Avvakuma is burned at this time, Razin is executed, Sophia becomes regent under Ivan V and Peter I. These distant lightning flicker over a man burning a clay pot.

Among the «not very valuable» things that were seized from the ship (recall the «pile of gold») were ink, feathers, paper, «three very good Bibles», astronomical instruments, and telescopes. Now, when his life is getting better (by the way, three cats and a dog live with him, also a ship’s one, then a talkative parrot will be added to measure), it's time to comprehend what is happening, and until ink and paper run out, Robinson keeps a diary so that «at least to lighten your soul somehow. » This is a kind of ledger of «evil» and «good»: in the left column - he is thrown onto a desert island without hope of deliverance; in the right - he is alive, and all his comrades drowned. In the diary, he describes his activities in detail, makes observations - both remarkable (regarding the sprouts of barley and rice), and everyday («It was raining.» «Again it rained all day»).

The earthquake forced Robinson to think about a new place for housing - under the mountain is unsafe. Meanwhile, a ship crashed to the island, and Robinson takes building material and tools from it. In those same days he was struck down by a fever, and in a feverish dream he was "enveloped in flames" by a man, threatening death for the fact that he "did not repent." Grieving over his fateful fallacies, Robinson for the first time «in many years» makes a penitential prayer, reads the Bible, and is treated as much as he can. Rum, insisted on tobacco, will lift him to his feet, after which he slept for two nights. Accordingly, one day fell out of his calendar. Having recovered, Robinson finally explores the island, where he has lived for more than ten months. In its plain part, among unknown plants, he meets acquaintances - melon and grapes; the latter especially pleases him he will dry it in the sun, and in the off-season raisins will strengthen his strength. And the island is rich in wildlife - hares (very tasteless), foxes, turtles (these, on the contrary, pleasantly diversify its table) and even penguins that cause bewilderment in these latitudes. He looks at these heavenly beauties with his master's eye - he has no one to share them with. He decides to put up a hut here, fortify it well and live for several days at the «dacha» (this is his word), spending most of his time «at the old ashes» near the sea, where liberation can come from.

Continuous work, Robinson and the second and third year does not give himself relief. Here is his day: "In the foreground are religious duties and reading the Holy Scriptures (...) The second of daily activities was hunting (...) The third was sorting, drying and cooking killed or caught game." Add to this the care of the crops, and then the harvest; add cattle care; add household chores (make a shovel, hang a shelf in the cellar), which take a lot of time and effort due to a lack of tools and inexperience. Robinson has the right to be proud of himself: «With patience and work, I completed all the work to which I was forced by circumstances.» It’s a joke to say that he will bake bread without salt, yeast and a suitable oven!

His cherished dream is to build a boat and get to the mainland. He does not even think about who and what he will meet there, the main thing is to break out of captivity. Driven by impatience, without considering how to get the boat from the forest to the water, Robinson fells a huge tree and for several months squeezes a pie out of it. When she is finally ready, he will never be able to lower her into the water. He stoically suffers failure: Robinson became wiser and more restrained, he learned to balance «evil» and «good». He wisely uses the resulting leisure time to update the worn out wardrobe: he "builds" a fur suit (trousers and jacket), sews a hat and even makes an umbrella. In everyday work another five years pass, marked by the fact that he did build a boat, put it down into the water and equipped it with a sail. You cannot reach the distant land on it, but you can go around the island. The current takes him to the open sea, he returns with great difficulty to the coast near the "summer cottage". Fearing fear, he will long lose the desire for boat trips. This year, Robinson is improving in pottery and basketry (stocks are growing), and most importantly, he makes himself a royal gift - a pipe! There is an abyss of tobacco on the island.

Its measured existence, filled with labor and useful leisure, suddenly bursts like a soap bubble. In one of his walks, Robinson sees a trace of his bare foot in the sand. Frightened to death, he returns to the "fortress" and sat there for three days, puzzling over an incomprehensible riddle: whose trace? Most likely, these are savages from the mainland. Fear settles in his soul: what if they discover him? Savages can eat it (he heard about this), they can ruin the crops and disperse the herd. Having started to go out a little, he takes security measures: strengthens the «fortress», sets up a new (distant) corral for goats. Among these troubles, he again wanders on human footprints, and then he sees the remains of the cannibal feast. It seems that guests have again visited the island. The horror has been in his possession for all two years, that he has been staying in his own part of the island (where the «fortress» and «summer house») living "always on guard." But life is gradually returning to the "former deceased channel", although he continues to build bloodthirsty plans for how to drive savages away from the island. Two considerations cool his ardor: 1) these are tribal feuds; the savages personally did nothing wrong to him; 2) why are they worse than the Spaniards who shed blood on South America? A new visit to the savages (the twenty-third anniversary of his stay on the island), who landed this time on «his» side of the island, does not strengthen these conciliatory thoughts. Having finished their terrible fever, the savages swim away, and Robinson is still afraid to look towards the sea for a long time. the savages did not do anything bad to him personally; 2) why are they worse than the Spaniards who shed blood on South America? A new visit to the savages (the twenty-third anniversary of his stay on the island), who landed this time on «his» side of the island, does not strengthen these conciliatory thoughts. Having finished their terrible fever, the savages swim away, and Robinson is still afraid to look towards the sea for a long time. the savages did not do anything bad to him personally; 2) why are they worse than the Spaniards who shed blood on South America? A new visit to the savages (the twenty-third anniversary of his stay on the island), who landed this time on «his» side of the island, does not strengthen these conciliatory thoughts. Having finished their terrible fever, the savages swim away, and Robinson is still afraid to look towards the sea for a long time.

And the same sea beckons him with hope of liberation. On a stormy night, he hears a cannon shot - some ship is giving a distress signal. All night he burns a huge bonfire, and in the morning he sees in the distance the skeleton of a ship crashed on reefs. After longing for loneliness, Robinson prays to the sky so that «even one» of the team will be saved, but «evil rock», as if in a mockery, throws the corpse of a young man ashore. And on the ship he will not find a single living soul. It is noteworthy that the poor «booty» from the ship does not upset him very much: he stands firmly on his feet, fully provides for himself, and only gunpowder, shirts, a canvas please him, and, from old memory, money. He is not obsessed with the idea of fleeing to the mainland, and since this is not feasible alone, Robinson dreams of saving the savage intended for slaughter, arguing in the usual categories: «get a servant, or maybe comrade or assistant. " He has been making cunning plans for a year and a half, but in life, as usual, everything comes out simply: cannibals arrive, the captive escapes, Robinson dumps one of the pursuers with the butt of his gun, and shoots the other to death.

Robinson’s life is filled with new - and enjoyable - concerns. Friday, as he called the saved, turned out to be a capable student, a loyal and kind comrade. Robinson lays the foundation of his education with three words: "master" (meaning himself), "yes" and "no." He eradicates bad savage habits, teaching Friday to eat broth and wear clothes, as well as «know the true god» (before this, Friday worshiped «an old man named Bunamuki who lives high»). Mastering the English language. Friday says that seventeen Spaniards who survived from the lost ship live on the mainland with his fellow tribesmen. Robinson decides to build a new pie and rescue the captives along with Friday. A new arrival of savages violates their plans. This time the cannibals bring the Spaniard and the old man, who turned out to be the father of Friday. Robinson and Friday no worse than their master, controlled with a gun, release them. The Spaniard likes the idea of gathering everything on the island, building a reliable ship and trying his luck at sea. In the meantime, a new plot is sown, goats are caught - a considerable replenishment is expected. Having taken from the Spaniard an oath promise not to surrender his Inquisition, Robinson sends him with his father Friday to the mainland. And on the eighth day new guests come to the island. The rebellious team from the English ship brings the captain, assistant and passenger to death. Robinson cannot miss such a chance. Taking advantage of the fact that he knows every path here, he frees the captain and his comrades in misfortune, and the five of them deal with the villains. The only condition Robinson sets is to deliver him Friday to England. The rebellion is pacified, two notorious villains hang on the yard, three more are left on the island, humanely supplying with everything necessary; but more valuable than provisions, tools and weapons - the very survival experience that Robinson shares with the new settlers, there will be five in all - two more will escape from the ship, not really trusting the captain's forgiveness.

Robinson’s twenty-eight odyssey ended: on June 11, 1686, he returned to England. His parents died long ago, but a kind friend, the widow of his first captain, is still alive. In Lisbon, he learns that for all these years, his Brazilian plantation was controlled by an official from the treasury, and since it now turns out that he is alive, all income for this period is returned to him. A wealthy man, he takes two nephews in his care, and he prepares the second for sailors. Finally, Robinson marries (he is sixty-one years old) "uneconomical and quite successful in every way." He has two sons and a daughter.