Literary Devices in Robinson Crusoe
Repetition: In order to survive, Crusoe keeps extensive catalogues of goods and resources he has available to him. Often, similar events—such as visiting the wrecked ship multiple times, or building different-sized canoes—happen more than once. Defoe uses this repetition to present not only the monotony of island life but also Crusoe’s obsessive personality. Recounting many mundane events also helps contribute to the realism of the novel.
Point of View: The novel is narrated in first-person point of view, showcasing Crusoe’s firsthand experiences and recounting events in his own words. Because of his subjectivity, not all of Crusoe’s words should be taken at face value. Unreliability is especially notable in scenes where Crusoe describes his encounters with native wildlife and people, due to his upbringing in English society making him likely to see them as less civilized than he is. Furthermore, several scenes where Crusoe is under the influence of alcohol and tobacco may portray events differently from how they actually occurred.
Allusion: Since Daniel Defoe was a Puritan Christian, Crusoe shares his beliefs and frequently references biblical stories or figures. These references serve as ways for Defoe to show Crusoe’s struggle to be pious or to provide guidance for Crusoe in tough situations.
Literary Devices Examples in Robinson Crusoe:
Chapter I - Start In Life🔒
Chapter II - Slavery And Escape🔒
Chapter III - Wrecked On A Desert Island🔒
"in order to act the rebel to their authority, and the fool to my own interests..." See in text (Chapter III - Wrecked On A Desert Island)
"I was still to be the wilful agent of all my own miseries; and particularly, to increase my fault, and double the reflections upon myself, which in my future sorrows I should have leisure to make..." See in text (Chapter III - Wrecked On A Desert Island)
Chapter VII - Agricultural Experience🔒
"and afterwards served for a defence also, as I shall observe in its order...." See in text (Chapter VII - Agricultural Experience)
" I kept this day as a solemn fast, setting it apart for religious exercise, prostrating myself on the ground with the most serious humiliation, confessing my sins to God, acknowledging His righteous judgments upon me, and praying to Him to have mercy on me through Jesus Christ..." See in text (Chapter VII - Agricultural Experience)
Chapter XI - Finds Print Of Man's Foot On The Sand🔒
Chapter XII - A Cave Retreat🔒
"How do I know what God Himself judges in this particular case? It is certain these people do not commit this as a crime; it is not against their own consciences reproving, or their light reproaching them; they do not know it to be an offence, and then commit it in defiance of divine justice, as we do in almost all the sins we commit. ..." See in text (Chapter XII - A Cave Retreat)
"Sometimes I thought if digging a hole under the place where they made their fire, and putting in five or six pounds of gunpowder, which, when they kindled their fire, would consequently take fire, and blow up all that was near it:..." See in text (Chapter XII - A Cave Retreat)
Chapter XIII - Wreck Of A Spanish Ship🔒
Chapter XIV - A Dream Realised🔒
"Pray note, all this was the fruit of a disturbed mind, an impatient temper, made desperate, as it were, by the long continuance of my troubles, and the disappointments I had met in the wreck I had been on board of, and where I had been so near obtaining what I so earnestly longed for - somebody to speak to, and to learn some knowledge from them of the place where I was, and of the probable means of my deliverance...." See in text (Chapter XIV - A Dream Realised)
"I ran over the whole history of my life in miniature, or by abridgment, as I may call it, to my coming to this island, and also of that part of my life since I came to this island...." See in text (Chapter XIV - A Dream Realised)
Chapter XVII - Visit Of Mutineers🔒
""No no," says I, "Friday; I am afraid they will murder them, indeed; but you may be sure they will not eat them." ..." See in text (Chapter XVII - Visit Of Mutineers)
"nor had I kept even the number of years so punctually as to be sure I was right; though, as it proved when I afterwards examined my account, I found I had kept a true reckoning of years...." See in text (Chapter XVII - Visit Of Mutineers)