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British Imperialism and Ethnocentrism in Robinson Crusoe

His desire to live and to escape his fate led him to flee from them. Crusoe, then, becomes Friday's savior, the role many Europeans viewed themselves as occupying compared to those of foreign cultures whose lands they occupied and eventually took control over. On the island, apart from others, Crusoe imagines himself the 'Lord of the whole Manor; or if I pleas'd, I might call my self King, or Emperor over the whole Country which I had possession of,' an attitude highly representative of British imperialism and ethnocentrism (Defoe, p. 128). We must not forget the power attributed to Crusoe, even in his ability to 'name' Friday. His actions are almost immediately repaid by Friday's servility, and his own gratitude for being relieved of his solitary condition. Yet Crusoe only acts as savior and companion to Friday because he is portrayed as exceptional and more British in characteristics than the other savages. We can only surmise that had Friday at any time exhibited to Crusoe the violence and danger that the cannibals posed; Crusoe would not have hesitated to kill him.

We see that Crusoe views Friday as exceptional because he exhibits many of the qualities and characteristics of an ideal Britain. Friday becomes a 'faithful, loving, sincere servant without passions, sullenness or designs, perfectly obliged and engaged: his very affections were tied to me, like those of a child to a father and I dare say he would have sacrificed his life for the saving of mine, upon any occasion whatever' (Defoe, p. 279). Nevertheless, Crusoe, like many European missionaries of the era, continues to convert Friday to the religion and ideals of Anglicans. He gradually weans him away from his taste for human flesh and offers Crusoe the opportunity to introduce the European Christian God into the life of a savage. Mcinelly says of Defoe's protagonist, 'Psychologically, Robinson Crusoe shows that relations with an alien Other can hone an ego tha...

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British Imperialism and Ethnocentrism in Robinson Crusoe. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:54, August 20, 2017, from
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