Sample - 1231 words essay topic, essay writing: Religion Throughout
Religion throughoutRobinson Crusoe is more than just a book or a story. It is a small encyclopedia in a manner of speaking. It tells us things about the era and the people of the time period in which it was written.
Defoe introduces to us, the readers, the importance of the protestant work ethic to the European world in his time. He goes into great detail about religion, and demonstrates to us the gripping effect that it has on the person who places their faith in it.
Robinson Crusoe is a story of a man that ran from God until he could run no longer. The question rings out loudly; was Crusoe changed forever because of his spiritual experience or was he just frightened into a fearful respect for God? The man Crusoe is when he steps back into the world and out of the comfortable isolation he was used to on the island makes Crusoe's faith in God seem flaky to most, but I do not doubt the truthfulness of his conversion because God changed his heart. Robinson Crusoe didn't really have a choice about the way his parents believed. They pushed their ideals him, or so they tried. His father's counsel about staying in his native country and "raising fortunes by application and industry, with a life of ease and pleasure"(p.4) was our first sign of the religious ideology of DeFoe's time. This Protestant work ethic revealed to us here by Crusoe's father is "a code of morals based on the principles of thrift, discipline, hard work, and individualism"(Westby)
Young Crusoe would not fall victim to this conformity that his parents desired for him. He was determined to not stick around home and work for the rest of his existence. Crusoe wanted to sail and that did not change even after his first few sailing mishaps. The work ethic Defoe brought to our attention seems to consume Crusoe later in the story, only after he refrains from sailing for a while and tries to settle. During his time in the Brasils, on his plantation, he is devoted to doing well for himself, but his adventuresome spirit soon returns and he wants to set sail again. When Crusoe is shipwrecked he is overcome by a chronic desire to modify and upgrade his "castle." He spends months building a wall for his humble abode; "all this time I work'd very hard, the rains hindering me many days"(p.71).
His appetite for improvement also drives him to better his living conditions on the island. He plants corn and raises a crop for harvest so he might have bread to eat. Crusoe says "It might be truly said, that now I work'd for my bread; 'tis a little wonderful"(p.109). Crusoe begins to take joy in his work. Perhaps in reality Crusoe does have a protestant mindset after all? He does continue to work for the rest of his life, and take much pride in it. From the very beginning of the story Crusoe starts his pattern of not listening to God.
He leaves home "without God's blessing" and "with the breach of his duty to God"(p.7). He begins to make deals with God and asks that his life be spared on his maiden voyage. Soon after he is bailed out of danger he breaks his agreement with God and sails again. Crusoe only called on God in time of need or distress. He forgets about God for a long time, as seen in these passages: All this while I had not the least serious religious thought, nothing but the common, Lord ha' mercy upon me; and when it was over, that went away too. (p.75)Pray'd to god for the first time since the storm off Hull.
(p.80) Crusoe continues his 'in need praying' until the day he has a "terrible dream." During his dream he gets extremely terrified: Lord look upon me, lord pity me, Lord have mercy upon me, (p.81) he repeats for hours. After the dream Crusoe's spiritual life seems to change and he makes God a big part of everything he does. Crusoe one day reflects on his "life past" (p.122); the way he treated God before; evident in the following passages:I never had once so much as thought to pray to God, or so much as to say, Lord have mercy upon me; no nor to mention the name of God, unless it was to swear by, and blaspheme it. With these reflections I work'd my mind up, not only to resignation to the will of God; but even to a sincere thankfulness for my condition (p.122). Crusoe appears very passionate about his faith in God.
It looks like he is truly grateful to be alive and to be able to communicate with God after he neglected God's existence for so long. Although Crusoe is scared one day by a human footprint and denounces his faith in God, he comes back to his senses, and begins to follow God again. When Friday comes into the story Crusoe begins to try and convert him to Christianity. He tells him the truths of God and prays for Friday's salvation. This deed alone shows us that he is sincere about trying to please God.
He and Friday continue on learning about God and seeking to please him every day after Friday's conversion. When Crusoe is rescued from the island and he returns to the world he does not mention much of God anymore. He gets distracted by his business dealings and trying to start a life for himself. He does decide though not to go back to the Brasils to live because of his religious beliefs. He did not want to die having converted to Roman Catholicism: "When I began to think of living and dying among them, I began to regret my having profess'd myself a papist, and thought it might not be the best religion to die with" (p.264).
He was not willing to denounce Protestantism for the sake of money. Like most people in the world today Crusoe, when returned to the world, became so wrapped up in all his affairs that his relationship with God began to falter a bit. When all you have is isolation, a companion, and lots of time to waste it is easy to be conscious of God. When faced with the situations and temptations that the world has to offer it becomes much harder to do the right thing all of the time. Crusoe becomes a man of God in this story.
Why then does he waiver so much throughout his whole life we speculate? Crusoe is a man and men are prone to err. God forgave Crusoe for his mistakes and he was able to carry on with life. Why did it take Crusoe being shipwrecked and isolated from everything of the world for God to get his attention? Christians believe that God is sovereign and that He knows what is best for his children. Therefore, I believe that Crusoe needed complete isolation for God to grab his attention, and keep it long enough to change him. His change was sincere although he made it harder and harder to see after being rescued. He went from being an immoral sailor to a kind-hearted man of God. Crusoe's transformation was exactly that, a complete and real change.
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