Discuss the use of settings in 'Robinson Crusoe'.

Essay by kelleeUniversity, Bachelor'sB, April 2005

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The settings in a novel and a characters physical surrounding such as a room or a house can be useful in interpreting and indicating a character's traits. For example Crusoe's ability to create a dwelling from scratch reveals his character to be strong willed and determined. The physical or social environment of a character does not only present a trait, but being man made, may also cause it or be caused by it. This can also be seen in Robinson Crusoe as the enclosed perimeter around his fortified shelter on the island mirrors his isolated situation. However, the island setting is a landscape and thus it is independent of man, but despite this, the island and indeed the other countries that Crusoe visits still entertain a relation of story-casuality with him as they represent chances for Crusoe to change the direction of his life as well as foreshadowing future events.

The repetitive and monotonous settings are also reflective of events to come.

The settings in this novel are very descriptive and Defoe may have employed this technique in order to convince the readers that they were literally true. Defoe's narrative art combined with his realistic detail allows the reader to imagine the events at hand as it is almost as if he puts himself in the situation that he is describing and this can especially be seen in the indepth journals. His truth to reality however springs from imagination and not observation, for example the seals and penguins are out of place in the tropical setting of the island situated in the mouth of the Orinoko. Yet Defoe himself must have had a thorough knowledge of geography as he describes many places and the natives and the cultures associated with them. In addition to this Defoe gives us an unforgettable...