The Untold Faith of Robinson Crusoe
December 31, 2000
The hit movie by Tom Hanks The Castaway and the popular "real TV" series The Survivor both tell the compelling drama of individuals in a suspense filled battle for survival against the elements and sometimes against other humans. According to Hanks who created the idea for the movie, the film presents a metaphor for "casting away" the trappings of everyday life in order to find out what is truly important. Unfortunately, Chuck Noland, the FedEx engineer played by Hanks, never discovers some of life's most important treasures. Such was not the case for another castaway story first told almost three hundred years earlier.
Daniel Defoe first published The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe on April 25, 1719. Its central character was a young English boy who loved the sea. His elderly father repeatedly warned Robinson of the dangers of the life of a seaman, but to no avail. The teenager ran away to sea. One disaster followed another. He faced storms and near shipwrecks one after another. Every time he would get into trouble, his father's warnings would replay in his mind. Eventually Robinson was taken prisoner on a slave ship. After purchasing his freedom and being stranded in Brazil for a time, he secures a job working on a ship loaded with trinkets for the slave trade in Africa.
Once at sea, the ship encounters a fierce storm in the Caribbean. The vessel goes aground off an uncharted island in September of 1659, according to the plot. Of the fourteen seamen on board, only Robinson Crusoe survivors. He finds himself tossed up on what he discovers to be a deserted island. He salvages what he can from the sinking ship: tools, guns, gunpowder, ammunition, sails for cloth, rope, boards, food, paper, ink, and several books, including a Bible. In the months and years that follow, Crusoe experiences many misadventures as he learns to survive alone. Eventually ...
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