Robinson Crusoe, 1719, Robinson discovers a cave
The eighteenth century is marked by the rise of the lower middle class. This one is going to be more and more interested by the culture because it understands this one can offert a consiberable part of power. However, it is not trained enough to be interested by the seventeenth poetry, which has a impact on the type of literary production. It isin this favourable context that the novel can be born and thrive rapidly. Robinson Crusoe is known as the first novel realesed. The extract we are going to study takes place tweenty years after Robinson's shipwreck. The reader can see him gathering wood and at this moment, Robinson discovers a hidden cave. This passage shows the novel explores new ways, notably by its plot and its way of beingwritten. Indeed, the democratisation of reading makes appear new subjects, inspired by usual life, which looks like this the new readers live. Nevertheless, it also differs from it. That is why we can wonder how the writer tries to give a feeling of verisimilitude, and why it is reinforced by the specific use of the religion. But we can also ask ourselves in what this extract contains a symbolicaldimension which goes past the simple story. At first, we will show the ambivalence of the novel. Then, we will explain in what the presence of the religion serves the novel. Finally, we will see the symbolical dimention of live attented in this extract.
1. The ambivalence of the novel
a. The mystery
This extract is based on Robinson’s mysterious discovery of a cave and hisinhabitants: it is only at the end of the passage that he can know, with the reader, what is present in this dark hole. Before that he has to front many mysteries that he can perceive thanks to his senses.
At first, he asks himself what is hidden behind the “Brushwood”, he speaks about a “kind of hollow place”. When he is in the cave, two eyes appears and he wonders whom do they belong to. (maybe a“Creature”, the “Devil”, “a Man”). So here, it is the eyesight which is used.
Then, he can hear a “very loud sight”, “a broken Noise”, and “a deep Sight again”. Right from the start, his sense of hearing helps him to speculate that it is a big creature.
And he knows that it is a He-goat, there is a return to the eyesight to describe the physical appearances of the animal, in the aim to put thestress on the monstrosity of that animal : “a most monstrous frightful old He-goat”.
The fact that he uses his sense can be interpreted as a sort of return to the wild side of human. Mystery is something which looks untouchable, incomprehensible, unknown…And the shadowy light, the branches and sounds reflect these aspects.
The novel is meant to be autobiographic in the way thatthe narrator is “I”, he uses the first person narration. Moreover, this novel is a sort of diary. Futhermore, , the narrator speaks to the “Reader”. He is worried about what the Reader could think about his “story”. So he tries to make it realistic, he using his reason. And through the description the reader can imagine the places, which are natural, wild (and the narrator uses many adjectivesto describe his action and the place). The reader could identify himself through the character of Robinson because he is a man of the same time.
In opposition to that, Robinson has the sense of corruption. For example, his name is corrupted (=> cf father/ mother). And the fiction with inherent to the novel was depreciated in those days because fiction belongs to the evil,because it constitutes a lie. That is why the eighteenth century is also called “the Age of scandal”. But to make the reader subscribes to his work, Dofoe uses very frequently comparisons which belong to reality (for an effect of realism accentuated) : “if I had a Had on my Head, I will not answer of it, that my Hair might not have lifted it off”. Indeed this comparison is very pictorial....
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