Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe Short Summary

Robinson’s Desire to Travel Abroad

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe is a novel in which the protagonist tells about his life as an adventurer making it an autobiographical novel. Robinson Crusoe while young desires to travel abroad but his idea is condemned by his parents.

However, he ignores their advice and boards a ship that takes him to London. On their way, the ship gets caught in a fierce storm and Crusoe remembers his decision against his parents. However, he and other men are rescued by another ship.

They depart for Yarmouth where they are warmly welcomed by merchants. Crusoe then goes to London from where he departs for Guinea on a ship. The captain of the ship becomes very friendly with him and desires to help him.

Having bought some goods in London on the advice of his friend (the captain), Crusoe sells them and earns a great profit and gradually becomes a merchant. He goes on a voyage which proves unlucky for him.

A Tragedy and Escape

The ship is chased and all the men are enslaved by a Turkish vessel belonging to pirates who make them slaves. After spending two years in slavery, Crusoe succeeds in escaping along with a young Moorish fellow namely Xury.

They are rescued by a Portuguese ship and taken to Brazil. With the help of his friend (that captain) he starts a sugar business which flourishes in a short span.

After spending four years as a rich and successful businessman he desires to become richer and goes on another voyage. This time again the ship is caught in a storm. All the men drown and Crusoe remains as the sole survivor.

Arrival on a New Island

He finds himself on an inhabited island. After spending some days on the island he visits the wretched ship and starts bringing all the things he finds on it to his place. With the help of tools that he gets from the ship, he builds a hut and also digs a cave.

Being in solitude he often repents over his past deeds. He starts reading the Bible for peace. He also starts maintaining a regular journal in which he describes all his day-to-day activities.

He finds an abundance of animals on the island and using his gun as he manages to kill them for food. He also makes a canoe. He spends months on it but all his hard work goes wasted as his canoe becomes too big and heavy for him to move.

Once he becomes very ill and prays to God. He is finally recovered. He has a cat, a dog (that he rescued from the ship) and a parrot whom he teaches to speak to him. All these animals give him comfort. He considers himself to be the monarch of the island.

After spending a number of years on the island he finds his gunpowder decreasing. Thus he starts domesticating animals. He visits the other side of the island and finds ample fruits there. Later on, he makes another hut there.

Once he finds a footprint and thus loses peace for years. However, he does not find any person. After some years he finds for the first time a group of cannibals eating human flesh. He runs back to his hut and starts extending the protection.

Encounter with Friday, A Cannibal

The fear of being eaten by cannibals always remains in his mind. One night he dreams of rescuing a boy. His dreams come true. He rescues a boy from cannibals killing two of them. He names the boy Friday as he was rescued on that day. Friday becomes his faithful servant.

After some time, they happen to witness another wretched ship and also two people who are brought by cannibals for eating. Crusoe desires to save them. He and Friday kill 17 cannibals. One of them turns out to be the father of Friday and the other a Spaniard.

From the father of Friday, Crusoe comes to know that on in their country (Friday’s) 17 Germans have been there who are though kept as guests by the Friday’s community yet they have difficulty as they are not cannibals and cannot eat human flesh.

Crusoe desires to rescue them as well. They start growing food so as to make it enough for all of them (including those 17 Germans) to survive during their voyage. When the food becomes sufficient, Crusoe sends Friday’s father and the Spaniard to rescue those Germans.

Escape from Island

They follow Crusoe’s order and head for the mission. Once Crusoe and his companions find an English ship on the Island from which 3 prisoners along with their captors come out. Crusoe helps the prisoners to liberate and help them defeat the rebellious men.

He makes some of those (who rebelled and later accepted their defeat) to remain on the island as a punishment. Crusoe along with Friday and Captain and his companions departed for England. On the way, they had to go by land. The way proves to be very dangerous.

Their guide is attacked and wounded by wolves. However, they reach England. From there Crusoe goes to Lisbon where he learns that his sugar business in Brazil has been yielding a regular income and also he has acquired huge money.

He marries and begets 3 children. He again makes a voyage to the East Indies and on the way, he goes to the island colonized by him. Later on, he goes to Brazil and sends some women for the people on the island to serve them as wives or slaves.

Further Reading

  1. Play Quiz on Robinson Crusoe
  2. Questions-Answers of Robinson Crusoe