Post Colonialism & Robinson Crusoe Essay Samples

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Slavery, Literature, Colonialism, Colonial, Colonization, Colony, Europe, White

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/12/31

The post-colonial theme throughout Defoe’s novel, Robinson Crusoe, is a foundational to the concepts of the novel. Superiority of the Western region and the white race are prevalent in most of the events that occur in Crusoe’s story. Dislike and minimization of Africa and the darker skin cultures is evident from the start of the book. Defoe writes about the sailors vulgarly calling the nation of Africa ‘Guinea.’ The mentality of the Europeans is evident from a simple statement like this showing the dislike towards races and cultures that were not of European descent. The tone of disregard for any other race as inferior is shown repeatedly in the novel, which is discussed explored in detail in the following essay.
A disrespectful association common to the European and white people in the post-colonial era towards African slaves is once again shown in chapter two when Robinson Crusoe is captured by the Moorish pirates off the coast of Salle in North Africa. The irony of the situation is amusing to think of this white European man who arrogantly believes he is superior, but then is captured by the people he would consider inferior that end up placing him as one of their slaves. He was treated with decency though, so he did not suffer as most slaves have been known to endure at the hands of their enslavers. It would be my guess that based on the post-colonial attitude that was held by the white man, Crusoe’s escape probably signifies higher intelligence of the white race. Because of the delusion of supremacy, he outsmarted the inferior Master who had not considered the mistake of placing a compass on the boat and allowing Robinson Crusoe to venture on his own to catch fish. From my perspective the belief system of the post-colonial racial attitude is symbolized in the way the scene plays out.
As Crusoe escapes the Moorish pirates, another slave is with him on the boat who he immediately dominates. The blatant manner of Crusoe towards the slave, who is with him during his decision to take the boat and escape, is another sign of the sense of entitlement that was common to the Europeans of the post-colonial times. Xury, the other slave remains subservient to Crusoe through the whole experience together, and then Crusoe’s lack of value for Xury as a human being is confirmed upon his decision to sell Xury along with his boat. Evidently he was just a piece of property, as most humans of darker skin color where seen as, during that time period.
A practice that was one of the worst parts of the post-colonial inhumanity of slavery implemented in the book when Crusoe settles in Brazil and decides to become a plantation owner. Many Europeans during the post-colonial times, who had the funds, were often investing in the business of plantations as a means of making use of their land to make money. The plantation owners were also known for obtaining and putting African slaves to work. Just like the white men during those times in Europe and the new colonies in America, plantation ownership as a business venture, with the use of indentured servants and African slaves were a normal part of society. When Crusoe purchased his plantation in Brazil, he also realized the owning slaves to help with the labor would be useful, so he decided that a trip to ‘Guinea’ (Africa) for a ship full of slaves would be a worthwhile trip. He would go to Africa to purchase slaves for him and his fellow plantation owners.
The trip to Africa proves to be a disaster for Crusoe as he loses his entire crew in a slew of unfortunate events. The worst of this brings him to an island full of savages that end up being cannibals. The fear of this foreign land where he has no one is comparable to the experience the slave from Africa may have experienced as they were brought to a new land where they knew no one and were often separated from their families and the life that they knew. Placing Crusoe in the position of the slaves was the association I made from this portion of the story. The sense of loneliness, hunger, lack of shelter and clothing, along with the complete depravation from familiarity was how life was for African slaves during the post-colonial age.
Just like Crusoe spent day after day in hopes of a rescue by his fellow European ships that sailed past the island, the slaves may have wished for a similar rescue to take place bringing them back to their homeland. Crusoe laid and dreamed of what it would be like to be back home again. I can only imagine that the idea of home is what kept many slaves struggling through their days to hopefully end up returning to where they came from one day. It is somewhat refreshing to see that the writer Defoe used the experience of Crusoe’s experience of years, decades on an island that had nothing for him. Relating the fear that the slaves felt, similar to Robinson Crusoe’s sentiment as he tried to get by in this frightful place where nothing was familiar to him was a bold decision by the writer. The post-colonial period when the novel was written did not show many signs of empathy toward the African slaves who often were forcefully removed from their native lands to be in a new land, pulled apart from family and comfort to suffer the life of a slave. Even the physical exhausted that Defoe wrote about Crusoe as he obtained the items from the ship to return to the boat. The physical labor was a situation that showed similarity to the life of many post-colonial folks who were living the life of indentured servants and slaves.
The challenges of Robinson Crusoe’s dilemma are seen throughout the story. He lives and follows the ways of the majority of white Europeans and Americans during the post-colonial time that heavily supported the cruel practice of slavery. The selfishness and arrogance is a sense the reader experiences from Crusoe, which may easily have been a representation of all white males of the era who had some skill or ability. I could imagine that there may have been a number of these individuals who had moments of decency and humanity that allowed them to recognize the importance of the groups of people who they considered inferior by the color of their skin. Seeing that Crusoe bonded on two occasions with men who would be slave by his standards showed that despite the laws and practices of that period in history, that sometimes the humanity of a person is bound to come through. The one-on-one interaction that requires any person to be forced to see another for more than just his race of culture is an experience that Defoe provided the reader with in the relationship of Crusoe with Xury and Friday.
This idea is one that I would hope is the message of the writer, but I cannot forget that Crusoe ultimately only misses Xury for his worth in terms of the slave labor that could have been useful to Crusoe on his plantation. Sadly the end of the novel shows signs of Crusoe’s highly selfish and materialistic ego that I feel was how the relationships with whites and blacks has continues even after the post-colonial era. The appearance of morality and decency are portrayed, but the underlying truth reveals that the sentiment of the white dominant figure remains the same as Crusoe did at the end of the novel.
Using the Robinson Crusoe novel to write a paper touching on a post-colonial theory was insightful for me in understanding the novel from a different context than I would have prior to working on the paper.

Cite this page
Choose cite format:
  • APA
  • MLA
  • Harvard
  • Vancouver
  • Chicago
  • ASA
  • IEEE
  • AMA
WePapers. (2020, December, 31) Post Colonialism & Robinson Crusoe Essay Samples. Retrieved January 30, 2023, from
"Post Colonialism & Robinson Crusoe Essay Samples." WePapers, 31 Dec. 2020, Accessed 30 January 2023.
WePapers. 2020. Post Colonialism & Robinson Crusoe Essay Samples., viewed January 30 2023, <>
WePapers. Post Colonialism & Robinson Crusoe Essay Samples. [Internet]. December 2020. [Accessed January 30, 2023]. Available from:
"Post Colonialism & Robinson Crusoe Essay Samples." WePapers, Dec 31, 2020. Accessed January 30, 2023.
WePapers. 2020. "Post Colonialism & Robinson Crusoe Essay Samples." Free Essay Examples - Retrieved January 30, 2023. (
"Post Colonialism & Robinson Crusoe Essay Samples," Free Essay Examples -, 31-Dec-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 30-Jan-2023].
Post Colonialism & Robinson Crusoe Essay Samples. Free Essay Examples - Published Dec 31, 2020. Accessed January 30, 2023.

Share with friends using:

Related Premium Essays
Contact us
Chat now