drug!” said I aloud, “what art thou good for? Thou art not worth
to me, no, not the taking off of 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 saving.” However, upon second thoughts, I took it away.
. . .
Crusoe’s contradictory relationship
with money is seen in this affirmation in Chapter VI, when he declares
that the gold he discovers is worthless, only moments before hauling
it away for safekeeping. He does the same thing many years later,
expressing scorn for the treasure on the Spanish wreck, but then
taking it to shore. The conflict between spiritual aims (scorning
worldly wealth) and material ambitions (hoarding gold) reflects
the novel’s tension between the practical and the religious. Moreover,
Crusoe’s combination of disdain and desire for money is also interesting
because Crusoe is conscious of his conflicted feelings only in a
limited way. He calls money a drug and admits that he is addicted—but
he is not interested in the way he fails to practice what he preaches.
We see how Defoe’s focus in the novel is primarily on the practical
rather than the psychological, despite the fascinating aspects of
Crusoe’s mind. Crusoe’s mixed feelings about the gold also reflect
his nostalgia for human society, since he tells us that money has
no value in itself, unlike the useful knives to which he compares
it. It has only a social worth, and thus reminds us that Crusoe
may still be a social creature despite his isolation.