Robinson Crusoe

by: Daniel Defoe

Chapters IV–VII

Summary Chapters IV–VII

Crusoe’s relation to material possessions is a prominent topic in these chapters. Crusoe repeatedly suggests that his shipwreck is a punishment for his greed for profits and that his pursuit of ever more material wealth has caused his current misery. His biblical prototype Job, another survivor of a disaster at sea, learns from his ordeal to disdain material possessions. Crusoe’s survival on the island seems like a rebirth into true Christian spirituality, a chance to live less materially and more religiously. Yet when Crusoe makes not one or two, but twelve trips to the ship for salvaged supplies, we wonder how nonmaterialistic he has really become. It is doubtful that in his solitude he needs “a dozen of good knives and forks.” He proudly entitles one of his chapters I Furnish Myself with Many Things. When he discovers thirty-six pounds in coins on the ship, he first disdains it with Christian high-mindedness, saying, “Oh drug, what art thou good for,” but then he takes the money with him anyway. His attitude toward possessions seems a major contradiction in his character, and these sorts of contradictions exist throughout the novel.