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Foreshadowing in Robinson Crusoe

Foreshadowing Examples in Robinson Crusoe:

Chapter I - Start In Life

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"Had I now had the sense to have gone back to Hull, and have gone home, I had been happy..."   (Chapter I - Start In Life)

Moments like this one remind readers that the narrator tells his story from a removed, future perspective. He foreshadows the tragic turn his tale will take and colors his story with the knowledge of what will happen.

"without asking God's blessing or my father's, without any consideration of circumstances or consequences, and in an ill hour, God knows, on the 1st of September 1651, I went on board a ship bound for London...."   (Chapter I - Start In Life)

Crusoe seems to feel guilt for defying his family and pursuing his own ambitions. At this time, a “blessing,” or given approval of something, from one’s family mimicked God’s blessing. Without his father’s approval, Crusoe can be seen as pursuing his ambitions against God’s will. For Crusoe, this lack of blessing foreshadows his future calamities, which in turn, demonstrates his religious mentality.

"something fatal in that propensity of nature, tending directly to the life of misery which was to befall me..."   (Chapter I - Start In Life)

Crusoe believes in the providence of his actions. He draws a direct link between his choice to deny his father’s wishes and follow his nature to pursue a career on the sea and the shipwreck. He sees the events on the island as divine punishment for his choices and suggests his deeply religious ideology.

"to such loose and misguided young fellows as I then was..."   (Chapter II - Slavery And Escape)

Crusoe as the narrator looking back on his younger self provides insight into his development. Since he considers his younger self misguided, this indicates that the character-development arc in the novel will involve the young Crusoe becoming more virtuous.

"It was my great misfortune that in all these adventures I did not ship myself as a sailor..."   (Chapter II - Slavery And Escape)

This line foreshadows many of the issues that Crusoe will face. Looking back on his adventures, here he says that he regrets not working as a sailor. This is important because it implies that Crusoe does not have much, or any, training as a sailor. His ability to navigate a ship and deal with the perils of the ocean, therefore, is severely limited.

"Now my life began to be so easy that I began to say to myself that could I but have been safe from more savages, I cared not if I was never to remove from the place where I lived...."   (Chapter XIV - A Dream Realised)

Like many other characters in literature, Crusoe suggests that what he really needed to be truly happy is true companionship. But it should also strike readers by this point in the story that Crusoe’s character never seems to be content to stay anywhere for too long, and thus readers can guess that the stasis reached here is unlikely to be long-lasting.

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