Conversion and Narrative in "Robinson Crusoe" Book Review by JPWrite

Conversion and Narrative in "Robinson Crusoe"
An examination of the conversion and narrative in Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe".
# 67278 | 3,249 words | 17 sources | MLA | 2006 | US
Published on Jul 04, 2006 in Literature (American)

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In this paper the author looks at the biographical typology of the conversion narrative, the structurally and thematically fixed point of the conversion, the consistent intrusion of a double perspective and the allegories of spiritual progress that appear in Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe". He analyzes these points to show that they all provide the narrative with moments of coherence and meaning. The author looks at "Robinson Crusoe" not as a spiritual autobiography, or even properly a conversion narrative; but as a tangential account of Crusoe's life which intrudes only along the margins of the narrative, with flashes of coherence and pattern that serve to set off the general experience of the narrator. He looks at this as an experience which tends toward wandering, indirectness and confusion. In conclusion, the author states that the beginning of the novel "Robinson Crusoe" is actually the end of the novel where the course of human life is only touched by completeness and in doing so Defoe is cleverly telling the reader about the confusion of human experience.

From the Paper:

"The genius of Defoe's novel partly lies in the association of these two antithetical narrative structures into a single narrative. Defoe had his eye on the Puritan conversion narrative but also on the earlier long fiction of the seventeenth century, the romance. The conversion narrative, in particular the spiritual autobiography, often appears to lend the narrative pattern and coherence. The adventure or romance narrative offers Defoe not only a structure for the piling on of wonders and variety, but undercuts the coherence and meaning inherent in the conversion narrative, and ultimately the patterning of history or biography in any sense. Spiritual autobiography fails to supply an organizing principle for Crusoe's life, despite the narrator's attempts, because Crusoe's underlying "malaise", his integral restlessness, 2 constantly thrusts his life out of the enclosures imposed by the conversion event."

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