English Class: Western Literature

The Coins Crusoe Saved

In chapter five of Daniel Defoe’s book Robinson Crusoe, Crusoe is rummaging through the ship wreck and comes upon some coins. He says to himself:

“what art thou good for?  Thou art not worth to me—no, not the taking off the ground; one of those knives is worth all this heap; I have no manner of use for thee—e’en remain where thou art, and go to the bottom as a creature whose life is not worth saying [saving].”  However, upon second thoughts I took it away;

 

It is somewhat curious why Crusoe would take the coins that were not worth anything to him on the island. There was no one to trade with and no store where he could purchase items. However, when we realize that Crusoe, like most people, hoped to be rescued from the island, it makes sense that he would save the coins. In the possible event of being rescued, Crusoe would indeed find those coins valuable to him. Without some money, Crusoe would fare rather poorly in society. Therefore, with the possibility of being rescued from the island, Crusoe saw a future benefit in saving the coins.

It should also be remembered that Crusoe grew up in a society where without money one could not live comfortably. Throughout his whole childhood and into adulthood he witnessed the extensive use of money. One would need money to buy household goods, clothes, tools, and food. He knew that the coins he found were valuable in society and he probably realized, on second thoughts, that something of such value should not go to the bottom of the ocean. Even though he could not necessarily use them on the island, their considerable value in society most likely kept him from leaving them.

Overall I would say that it was normal for Robinson Crusoe to take the coins considering their value and use in society. He wished to be rescued, and if that would ever happen, the coins would help him along. I believe that his upbringing and habits led him to his decision to save the coins.

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