Okay, so I’m writing this post almost two days before the final exam of my midterm tests. The course is called English 203: English Novels from Defoe to Hardy. For this course, I’ve to read four novels. Pride and Prejudice (which I absolutely love!), Robinson Crusoe, Jane Eyre and Tess of the d’Urberville. For midterms, only the first two.
So we were given two months to read these two novels and it took me two months to finish one of them. Guess which one?!
Anyway, so I picked up Robinson Crusoe today and started reading the introduction and other stuff from the first fifty pages. But I was running out of time so I began to read the actual novel instead of the introduction and discussion.
I must include one thing, that the words, the spellings of the book I bought was exactly how the first edition was published back in 1719 (Yay! I remember the year. Might come in handy during exam!). The spellings were obsolete and some words archaic. Some words were unnecessarily capitalized such as Honesty and Modesty. The obsolete spellings were harder to digest, like “persuasion” was then spelled “perswasion” and “cheerful” was spelled “chearful”. So you kinda understand my ordeal.
Anyway, as I read, it was mostly summarization of everything that happened with Crusoe’s life prior to his ultimate shipwreck. He was one heck of a guy. His dad wanted him to become a lawyer and lead a middle class life. And he didn’t. Typical father-son portrayal. Funny thing is, my current WIP has the same thing too. But let’s not go there now. We’ll have plenty of time for that later.
As I was saying, Crusoe doesn’t listen to his dad and goes to a voyage. His very first. And guess what. On his very first voyage, he gets into seastorm. And not just one but two! During the first one, he fears for his life and promises to himself never to return to sea ever again. Then his life is spared, the storm gone and they set sail again. But then there comes another storm. And this one sinks the ship. Luckily, Crusoe and his fellow shipmates get rescued. They survive, hurray!
After a few days rest, Crusoe breaks the promise he made to himself and does not return to his parents. He just goes to look for another voyage. Talk about disobedience.
I’ve only read this far. To be honest, I’d have preferred if the book had chapter breaks and more dialogues and less descriptions. So far, I’ve read six pages and only two-three lines of dialogue.
The thing that impressed me though, was Crusoe’s character. What an amazing flawed character Defoe created! Superb! Nowadays many writers, including me, cannot create balanced characters. Either Mary Sue or Evil Evie.
Crusoe had flaws. And such flaws that led him to crisis and character growth. Though the book’s archaic words with obsolete spellings and zero chapter breaks can easily dissuade a modern reader, but if you wanna be a writer like me, it’s a must read. Maybe I’m reading it for exam now, and may not think of picking it up again after that, but if you aren’t a lazy ass like me, then read it. The great characterization will teach you a thing or two about the craft.
For now I have to conclude. Until then, take care and have a nice day!