The religious dimension of Crusoe’s ordeal reaches its climax in his final salvation and reward. Crusoe so easily reclaims his earlier fortune—and, indeed, finds it so immensely multiplied—that the restoration of his possessions seems more like a miraculous windfall—manna from heaven—than mere good luck. We sense that Crusoe imagines God to be rewarding him for his devout patience, especially when he explicitly compares himself to Job: “I might well say now, indeed, that the latter end of Job was better than the beginning.” For Crusoe, the shipwreck, the decades of isolation, and the final rescue have not been merely events in a long adventure story, as children read it today, but elements in a religious or moral tale of instruction. Specifically, it is a Protestant tale, with its emphasis on the virtues of independence, self-examination, and hard work. Crusoe underscores this Protestant aspect by mentioning twice that he does not go to Brazil because he would have to convert and live as a Catholic there. Implicitly, Crusoe makes his survival into proof of God’s approval of his particular faith.
Crusoe’s story is often read in modern times as an allegory of colonialism, and there is much in the last chapters to defend this view. Friday’s subjugation to Crusoe reflects colonial race relations, especially in Crusoe’s unquestioning belief that he is helping Friday by making him a servant. Moreover, colonial terminology appears. When dealing with the hostile mutineers, Crusoe and the captain intimidate them by referring to a fictional “governor” of the island who will punish them severely. This fiction of a governor foreshadows the very real governor who will no doubt be installed on the island eventually, since Crusoe has apparently claimed the territory for England. The prosperity of the island after Crusoe leaves it is emphasized in the last chapter: it is no longer a wasteland, as when he first arrives, but a thriving community with women and children. This notion of triumphantly bringing the blessings of civilization to a desolate and undeveloped locale was a common theme of European colonial thought. Indeed, Crusoe explicitly refers to this community as “my new colony in the island,” which makes us wonder whether he really considers it his own, and whether it is officially a colony or merely figuratively so. In any case, Crusoe has turned his story of one man’s survival into a political tale replete with its own ideas about imperialism.