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What is most evident in all of Bloom's books, and what is most important, is an obvious passion for reading (reading anything and everything). Bloom ranges across British and American Poets to discover how poems struggle against other poems. But, frankly, what I've always come away from a Bloom book with is a map of Bloom's misreadings that are worth a college education in and of themselves. We discover Emerson afresh and hear of Dutch Psychologist J. H. Van Den Berg, discover we must encounter Hans Jonas on Gnosticism and The Kabbalah of Isaac Luria(if we're to know anything of the roots of literary struggling against the precursor) and wish we'd memorized Paradise Lost. In short, for me, he encourages continued and life-long (mis)reading.
Slow in action; ponderous with 18th century circuitious, flowery and repetitive prose; haphazardly concerned with supportive plot details -- it wasn't a long read, but about as enjoyable and juicy as a Mexican pastry.
I'd be surprised if this is still on school reading lists today considering it reflects an appauling stance on slavery and white supremacy (though true to the era). Furthermore, it openly espouses a fundamental, Calvinist theology that most school districts would altogether avoid.
Crusoe's spiritual journey is the sole theme of the book that addresses any sort of intellectual character development. Even though it grows distastful in some respects, expunge this topic from the novel and your left with a comic book. And if reduced to a characture, why wouldn't you opt for something like Stevenson's child-friendly Swiss Family Robinson? Something filled with adventure, intrigue, humor and drama?
To make this novel more enduring it would certainly have benefitted to analyze Crusoe's enduring lonliness and its effects on his psyche. Until the character Friday appears, Defoe barely mentions solitude even being an issue for Crusoe. Is not man a fundamentally social creature? Would there not be painful, enduring mental extirpations to work through?
Sigh...what else is there to say but it's a book to check off the list and move on.
Few books require anyone to rethink the availability and nature of the fundamentals of life: Water, food, shelter, clothing, and entertainment. Then having become solitary in our own minds as a reader, Defoe adds the extraordinary complication of providing a companion who is totally different from Crusoe. This provides the important opportunity to see Crusoe's civilized limitations compared to Friday's more natural ones. The comparisons will make for thought-provoking reading for those who are able to overcome the stalled thinking that the educated, civilized route is always the best.
One of the things that I specially liked about the book is the Crusoe is an ordinary person in many ways, making lots of mistakes, and having lots of setbacks. Put a modern Superhero (from either the comic books, adventure or spy novels, or the movies) into this situation, and it would all be solved in a few minutes with devices from the heel of one's shoe. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I liked the trial-and-error explorations. They seemed just like everyday life, and made the book's many lessons come home to me in a more fundamental way.
Have a good solitary trip through this book!
The book has good round characters that almost seem real. Finny is a round character. He is so innocent he is almost too good to be true. He also is very kind to everyone. Gene is also a round character. He has many characteristics and is much like a real person, for instance he has the potential for evil just like we all do but, he has a good side too. The theme of the book is the potential for evil in the human heart and soul.
There is a war motif throughout the story. The Devon River represents innocence and they are innocent when they jump into the Devon, the pure clean river. In the end Gene jumps into the Naguamsett River, the dirty river, this is like his fall from innocence. In the beginning Devon School is like the Garden of Eden before the fall from innocence, then when war hits the school it's not an innocent world anymore.
I liked the book however; I felt all the meanings could have been talked about a little more. I like the theme of the book. It really made you think about human nature and the potential for evil in the human heart and soul.
I just want to add that English isn't my first language and I didn't have any trouble reading this book.