1. What features of the site cause Crusoe to build his home where he does?

There’s a level plain that is backed by a steep hill that would prevent anything from attacking in that direction. There is a hollow in the hill in front of which Crusoe can pitch his tent, using the hollow for storage. The plain descends to the seaside and is sheltered from the heat of the sun until just before sunset.

2. How does Crusoe make his home as safe as possible from the beginning?

He makes a fence of sharpened stakes pointing out from his compound and connected by lengths of chain. There is not an opening in the fence; instead, Crusoe climbs in over a ladder, which he pulls over the fence after him at night.

3. What particularly worries Crusoe about lightning?

He fears that it could ignite his ammunition, destroying it all with one strike. To solve this, he separates the powder into 100 parcels and stores them at some distance from each other.

4. How does Crusoe get his first meat?

He stalks a goat and finally gets a shot off by firing from above her. He tries to raise her kid but it won’t eat, so he has to kill it as well.

5. When Crusoe is facing feelings of despair, how is he able to reason his way out of this mood?

He asks himself why he was “singled out to be saved,” implying that he believes there must be some reason behind his remaining alive. He also reminds himself that “evils must be considered with the good that is in them,” proof of which is how well prepared he is to survive.

6. Describe the calendar Crusoe creates to keep track of time.

He erects a large post and carves a notch for each day, making the seventh notch twice as large to keep track of the beginning of a new week. (You might point out the narrative shift that occurs at this point. Defoe draws attention to the fact that he will now take the story “from the beginning and continue in order.” He has finished describing setting and summarizing Crusoe’s mental state; he will now move on to more discreet episodes.

7. Why does Crusoe decide to write down his account of what is happening to him?

He is NOT leaving a record for others who might come after him. Instead, he is his own audience because he believes writing down his thoughts will keep them from “afflicting” his mind. He knows that he will thus be able to find something in his situation for which to be thankful. (Defoe is placing Crusoe in the tradition of Puritans who kept journals for the purpose of examining their consciences and reflecting on the states of their souls.)

8. What improvements does Crusoe make to his cave?

He digs out the loose, sandy rock, first to make storage room and then to create an alternative entrance to his compound.

9. What does Crusoe learn about his – or any person’s – ability to make basic things?

His success at making a table and chair despite never having used tools before makes him realize, “By making the most logical judgments of things, every man may master every mechanical art.” (Such an insight is in keeping with the ideas of a century that came to be called The Age of Reason.)

10. How does Crusoe first react when he realizes barley is growing outside his house?

He thinks that God has miraculously caused this to happen so that he will have food.

11. What does he realize is the real reason the barley sprouted?

He remembers that he shook out a bag of chicken feed and that these sprouts must have come from seed that was still inside. (This causes Crusoe to be less thankful to God, a change that many critics say is indicative of his not yet having had the insight that everything is part of God’s plan. They see his first reaction as evidence of his original egocentricity and his comment that he “should have seen that it was the work of Providence” as the voice of post-insight Crusoe realizing that a more moderate interpretation exists. The mature Crusoe realizes that it was a bit of a miracle that a few seeds survived the rats and he just happened to throw them down in the right place at the right time for them to germinate!)

1. What features of the site cause Crusoe to build his home where he does?
2. How does Crusoe make his home as safe as possible from the beginning?
3. What particularly worries Crusoe about lightning?
4. How does Crusoe get his first meat?
5. When Crusoe is facing feelings of despair, how is he able to reason his way out of this mood?
6. Describe the calendar Crusoe creates to keep track of time.
7. Why does Crusoe decide to write down his account of what is happening to him?
8. What improvements does Crusoe make to his cave?
9. What does Crusoe learn about his – or any person’s – ability to make basic things?
10. How does Crusoe first react when he realizes barley is growing outside his house?
11. What does he realize is the real reason the barley sprouted?

Robinson Crusoe – Chapter 5 download to read the PDF file.

At the same time, listen to the following MP3 files taken from the audiobook version:

Part a

Part b

Part c

Part d

Part e

Part f

Part g

Part h

Part i

Part j

Robinson Crusoe – Plot Overview

Research

March 11, 2012

Researching Daniel Defoe and Robinson Crusoe on the web.

 

First Edition

The one I handed out in class:

http://www.casawomo.com/essays/the-irony-of-racism

 

and another one for further reading :

http://lit205a.blogspot.fr/2008/01/week-10-telephone-conversation-by-wole.html

A cartoon and an interview

February 12, 2012

A cartoon made by some students to explain the literal meaning of the poem.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFRHZL3OIeM

An interview with Nobel Prize Wole Soyinka.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQ_uRef2ZT0

Telephone Conversation

February 6, 2012

The price seemed reasonable, location

Indifferent. The landlady swore she lived

Off premises. Nothing remained

But self-confession. “Madam,” I warned,

“I hate a wasted journey–I am African.”

Silence. Silenced transmission of

Pressurized good-breeding. Voice, when it came,

Lipstick coated, long gold-rolled

Cigarette-holder pipped. Caught I was foully.

“HOW DARK?” . . . I had not misheard . . . “ARE YOU LIGHT

OR VERY DARK?” Button B, Button A.* Stench

Of rancid breath of public hide-and-speak.

Red booth. Red pillar box. Red double-tiered

Omnibus squelching tar. It was real! Shamed

By ill-mannered silence, surrender

Pushed dumbfounded to beg simplification.

Considerate she was, varying the emphasis–

“ARE YOU DARK? OR VERY LIGHT?” Revelation came.

“You mean–like plain or milk chocolate?”

Her assent was clinical, crushing in its light

Impersonality. Rapidly, wave-length adjusted,

I chose. “West African sepia”–and as afterthought,

“Down in my passport.” Silence for spectroscopic

Flight of fancy, till truthfulness clanged her accent

Hard on the mouthpiece. “WHAT’S THAT?” conceding

“DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT IS.” “Like brunette.”

“THAT’S DARK, ISN’T IT?” “Not altogether.

Facially, I am brunette, but, madam, you should see

The rest of me. Palm of my hand, soles of my feet

Are a peroxide blond. Friction, caused–

Foolishly, madam–by sitting down, has turned

My bottom raven black–One moment, madam!”–sensing

Her receiver rearing on the thunderclap

About my ears–“Madam,” I pleaded, “wouldn’t you rather

See for yourself?”

Wole Soyinka 1962

* Buttons to be pressed by caller who has inserted a coin into an old type of British public pay phone.

Soyinka, Wole (1934)

Nigerian playwright, novelist and poet, educated at the Government College, Ibadan and the University of Leeds.

After his degree at Leeds, he worked as a reader for the Royal Court Theatre in London before returning to Nigeria in 1959, where he subsequently held various research and teaching posts in drama at the universities of Ibadan, Ife and Lagos as well as working for Nigerian radio and television. He was imprisoned 1967-69 for alleged pro-Biafra activities, an experience recorded in his The Man Died: Prison Notes (1972). In 1975 he became Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Ife. Soyinka is primarily a dramatist, his work ranging from the early comedy of village life, The Swamp Dwellers (1958), to The Road (1965), a Beckettian drama set in a Lagos `motor park’, and The Bacchae: A Communion Rite (1973), based on the classical tragedy by Euripides. Much of his drama uses mime, dance, myth and supernatural elements. In 1976 he became the first African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Bloomsbury Dictionary of English Literature

Into The Wild

January 3, 2012

The complete Etext of the book is here : https://7chan.org/lit/src/Into_The_Wild-_John_Krakauer.pdf

“I liked this text because the writer describes the scene very realistically.”

 

“I would like to go on reading the Beach someday.”

 

“I enjoyed the dark and strange atmosphere. It’s a modern story with themes such as travelling, drugs and the danger of big cities.”

 

“The passage with the cockroaches is funny because when I am in my bed and that everything is silent I also hear strange noises”.

 

“The main character is engaging and he makes us want to follow his adventures.”

 

“I find that in this book, contrary to many others, the author tries to depict a realistic version of life.”

 

“I have always wanted to travel around the world, ever since I can remember. So, reading the beginning of this book, I had the feeling to be there already!”

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