Robinson Crusoe And Oroonoko Essay, Research Paper
In 17th and eighteenth century literature one finds many illustrations of alien
going escapades, and glamourous narratives of find. Examples of these are
Aphra Behn? s Oroonoko, written in 1688, and Daniel Defoe? s Robinson Crusoe,
written in 1719. In both of these novels there are assorted indicants that the
alien encountered is much more European than the reader may hold first
idea. The alien is described in assorted footings, associating him to the white
and European adult male. These descriptions at many times are obvious, but there are
besides really elusive indicants of the Europeanizing of the alien. The norm
European reader had non yet encountered people of such huge cultural and
physical differences and would read about them in books. The colonisation of the
alien topographic points of the universe, was an emerging thought, and in a clip of find and
travel, many people were excited to hear about the different nutrients, animate beings,
land etc. In Aphra Behn? s Oroonoko and Defoe? s Robinson Crusoe, one discoveries
many indicants of the foreign European. It would look that these descriptions
are meant to appeal to the European audience, and do the alien other more
familiar with the audience. At a clip of trade and enlargement, travel and
find, these two novels are set in the alien universes of the more crude
lands, where great cultural, ocular, and geographical differences exist. ? The
difference between Europe and those topographic points, the West Indies and Americas, viewed
as beginnings of wealth, were themselves used to bring forth pleasance and phantasy for
the English reader? ( Wiseman, 90 ) . Throughout both of these works the writers
hold portrayed the alien with European traits, physical and psychological,
in order to appeal to an audience which has merely begun to understand other
states, and possibly is non unfastened to accept a alien as one of the chief
In Robinson Crusoe, the writer uses animate beings as a manner of first presenting the
differences with alien lands, and pull the European audience to the
cryptic animals that they have ne’er seen earlier. The animate beings which Crusoe
foremost hears? made such horrid ululations and shoutings, that I ne’er heard the
like? ( Defoe 40 ) . He continues on page 47, to state that these noises and
animate beings were? impossible to describe. ? The reader feels the suspense and
panic, conceive ofing themselves stranded on an island, with animals ne’er seen
before. Possibly the manner we would experience on another planet detecting new life,
and a new environment. For those that fear the alien and foreign animate beings and
peoples, Defoe and Behn provide other elusive descriptions, which attract the
audience to their characters.
Behn introduces the animals of Surinam in a positive mode in order to
keep the reader, and welcome the Europeans into accepting the Negro Oroonoko
as the hero of this novel. The alien other is non chilling, and non indefinable,
as in Robinson Crusoe. She describes the? small Rarities? ? ( Behn 2 ) and
concludes the description that there were? other Birds and Animals of wonderful
and surprizing Forms, Shapes, and Colours. ? The reader is prepared to accept
the staying narrative of the hero Oroonoko, and the unfavorable judgments of the Christian
? white? work forces.
Oroonoko is described as being? adorned with a native beauty, so
transcending of all those of his glooming race? ( Behn 6 ) . The description of his
expressions imply that he has a different and more attractive visual aspect than his? gloomy
race? . On page eight, Aphra Behn describes Oroonoko with his olfactory organ being? lifting
and Roman, alternatively of African and level? . He has long hair ( 8 ) and lips are non
like the? bend? 500 lips, which are so natural to the remainder of the Negroes? ( Behn
8 ) The ground that Oroonoko is so beautiful, is because he is more European
looking than the remainder of his race. Aphra Behn needs to appeal to a European and
white reader, and in order to do her Oroonoko the hero of this narrative, the
reader must accept him. This indicates that Behn believes the English audience
is more prejudiced against the alien other, instead than interested in it.
Robinson Crusoe saves Friday, and describes him in European footings, therefore
doing his rescuing of a man-eater, and befriending of him acceptable. When
Friday is foremost mentioned the reader feels dying, because Crusoe has merely
decided that he wants to salvage a man-eater, so that he may hold a slave. In salvaging
Friday, the English audience must accept that Crusoe has merely befriended a
man-eating? barbarian? , and the audience excessively will necessitate to accept and befriend
him. ? He had all the sugariness and softness of an European in his visage
excessively, particularly when he smiled. His hair was long and black, non curled like
wool? his nose little, non level like the Negroes, a really good oral cavity, thin lips?
( Defoe 203 ) . It seems that the accent is in depicting the foreign character
as non-Negro. Crusoe describes Friday as person without the typical Negro
features, yet the accent makes it about impossible to deny the fact
that Friday does hold Negro features. The fact that he says? non like
the Negroes? instead than non like the remainder of the Negroes, means that Friday
is non Negro, yet the description is so full of Negroid comparings, it seems
about like Crusoe has chosen to salvage the one man-eater that does non hold
typical Negro characteristics. This serves the same intent as it does in Oroonoko, in
depicting a chief foreign character every bit European as possible, in order to appeal
to the European audience.
Oroonoko is non merely European looking, but besides has European instruction and
cognition, which makes the reader even more attracted to this Negro hero.
Oroonoko was trained by a Frenchman in? Ethical motives, Language, and Science? ( Behn
7 ) . ? He had heard of the late Civil Wars in England, and the distressing decease
of our great Monarch? ( Behn 7 ) . Behn is mentioning to the up to day of the month
information Oroonoko has, and that he is knowing in many respects. She
goes on to state that he was? as if his Education had been in some European
Court? ( 7 ) . She explicitly is stating he might every bit good have been white and
European, because his beauty and instruction are of that background anyhow. The
seventeenth century English reader can look at him as a European with black tegument, and
nil else is different about him. This makes his slavery even more awful,
because non merely is he baronial, but he is really European. The reader non merely
accepts Oroonoko, but really feels sympathy choler for him.
Aphra Behn non merely wishes to depict the beauty and instruction of the hero,
but of his lover? s every bit good. On page six, Behn says that? there are Beauties
that can capture of that Colour. ? This is to present the thought that the Negro
adult females are beautiful, specifically the 1 that Oroonoko has fallen in love with.
Imoinda is so beautiful that Behn has seen? white work forces suspiring after her?
( 9 ) . She is stating the reader that if Imoinda is good plenty for these white
work forces, than conceive of how beautiful she is. She has made the heroine of the narrative as
beautiful and European as Oroonoko. The reader will experience love affair, escapade,
unhappiness and choler, on behalf of this Negro twosome and improbable subject for the
seventeenth century English novelist.
Oroonoko is farther Europeanized in Behn? s narrative, as she describes the love
matter between Oroonoko and Imoinda. Oroonoko? s usage in matrimony seems to be
that of polygamy, since his gramps has many married womans, and courtesans, it seems
that would be accepted by all his people. However, due to his love for Imoinda,
Behn says that? contary to the usage of his State, he made her Vows, she
shou? vitamin D be the lone Woman he wou? 500 possess while he liv? vitamin D? ( 11 ) . Oroonoko
has already taken up the Christian, European tradition of get marrieding merely one
adult female, instead than practising polygamy. The reader can further sympathise with
Oroonoko, as they have similar beliefs. Although Behn describes him as non
accepting or understanding Christian religion, she references? prevarications? and? frailty?
as the traits that are non accepted, and it is non needfully the faith
itself. The reader does non experience that Oroonoko is denying Christ, but more that
he is denying lip service in the name of God.
The first foreign character that becomes Crusoe? s buddy is Xury, the
Spanish Moor. He does non necessitate excessively much Europeanizing, as he is already from the
civilised portion of the universe, as is Crusoe, and he excessively follows a western faith
in being a Muslim. On page 47, Xury says to Crusoe? if wild adult males come, they
eat me, you go wey? ( Defoe ) . Xury stating that he is scared of the wild adult male
indicates that he is non a wild adult male, and non a man-eater. Xury is the same as
Crusoe, in this regard. Further, Crusoe describes their brush with the
Blacks on the shore, and he says? we could besides comprehend they were rather
black and stark-naked? ( Defoe 50 ) . The fact that he says? we? , indicates
that he categorizes Xury as a civilised non-black adult male, along with himself. Defoe
must do him a alien in order to do the escapades genuinely alien and
interesting, and hence makes him a Muslim, yet his similarities to Crusoe
are stronger. In presenting Xury as semi-foreign, Defoe allows the reader to
easy come to accepting Friday, the barbarian and man-eater. Where Behn introduces
the alien as the hero instantly from the beginning, Defoe bit by bit
introduces foreignness so that the reader can accept the concluding buddy of
Crusoe. This seems necessary since Oroonoko is the foreign hero of the narrative,
where as the hero in Robinson Crusoe, is a white European.
Crusoe besides is knowing in faiths, and he makes Xury? swear by
Mohammet and his male parent? s face fungus? ( Defoe 45 ) . He makes Xury swear by his ain
spiritual leader, guaranting his trueness. The fact that he makes him besides swear by
his male parent? s face fungus is an indicant of the similarities between Xury and
Crusoe. The face fungus becomes synonymous with civilised, and European. Throughout
the escapades, Crusoe encounters people and they are either without a face fungus,
intending non a European, or with a face fungus, such as the adult male to be eaten by the
man-eater, who is? one of the bearded work forces? ( 233 ) . The fact that Xury? s
male parent besides has a face fungus, indicates that they have more similarities than
differences. Xury is besides of the? bearded? people, and hence closer to
the white European adult male.
Crusoe and Behn describe their foreign friends on the evidences of their
vesture every bit good. The Caribs are natural, and bare, but the chief character
Oroonoko is non merely clad, but he looks so glamourous that he wishes to alter
into more slave like vesture. This indicates that the Negroes where apparels.
Even if Oroonoko wants to look more like a slave, he merely necessitate alter the manner
of vesture, non needfully take it all off. Xury is besides a clad adult male, as
discussed in a old subdivision, Crusoe says? we? when stating that they
observed the Negroes to be naked and black. The fact that? we? observed they
were naked, indicates Xury is a clad adult male. Friday besides begins his function as a
bare man-eater, yet when meeting Crusoe he becomes more European as he learns
Crusoe? s linguistic communication and must have on apparels ( 209 ) . Friday is besides taught to be
Christian. Making him a Christian brings the reader closer to Friday, who at one
point was a bare, cannibal barbarian. It seems that in order for a foreign adult male to
be accepted, he must go Christian.
On page 212, Crusoe says? He had bestowed upon them the same powers, the
same ground, the same fondnesss, the same sentiments of kindness and
duty, the same passions and bitternesss of wrongs? He has given to us. ?
Crusoe is associating the barbarians with the Europeans, and with the civilised people
in the universe. He feels that these people could hold been the same as his people
are, but because God did non demo Himself to them, they lacked this civility.
His word, as Crusoe describes, was hidden from? so many 1000000s of psyches?
( 212 ) . ? There is a priestcraft even amongst the most blinded ignorant heathens? the
policy of doing a secret faith? is non merely to be found in Roman, but
possibly among all faiths in the universe, even among the most beastly and
brutal barbarians? ( Defoe 219 ) . Crusoe clearly realizes that the man-eaters
hold a manner of life different than his, but they do non miss faith or supplication,
as most had assumed of these? barbarians? . They are non? Godless? , except
that they are without the Christian God. This brings the full barbarian people
closer to Crusoe and to the European adult male, since they excessively have spiritual beliefs
Another indicant of Friday coming nearer to the European adult male, is when he
says on page 250, ? you see English adult males eat captive every bit good as barbarian adult male. ?
Friday can non separate between slaying, which is committed by the European
adult male, and cannibalism, which is committed by the barbarian indigens. He assumes that
as a captive he will of course be eaten every bit good, since that is his usage.
Crusoe clarifies that? I am afraid they will murther them so, but you may
be certain they will non eat him? . Defoe seems to be bespeaking that although
there are differences in the two people? s savageness, slaying and cannibalism are
every bit incorrect. The fact that Friday is shown as non understanding slaying without
cannibalism proves to do the reader sympathize with his ignorance in the
affair, and that they both commit the same thing because they both result in the
decease of other people.
In both Oroonoko and Robinson Crusoe, the alien is described as a
European to function the European audience? s background, and let them to
welcome and understand the alien other. The European audience non merely accepts
the alien people, land and imposts, but they are besides able to compare
themselves sympathize with them. In doing the alien more similar to the
European, both writers were able to pull an English audience, and maintain them
interested non merely in the stuff and physical properties of these people, but
besides in their moralss and morale. Through these two novels, readers of 17th and
eighteenth century literature can understand what alterations writers had to do,
in order to catch an audience and keep its involvement, and besides understand the
European? s sentiment of different states at that clip.