Of Goats, Caves, and Cannibals: Daniel Defoe's <i>Robinson Crusoe</i>

Rodolphe Gasché

in The Stelliferous Fold

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780823234349
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823241279 | DOI:
Of Goats, Caves, and Cannibals: Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Literary Theory and Cultural Studies


Show Summary Details


This chapter inquires into a variety of themes and images in the novel of Daniel Defoe. This novel is frequently construed as an allegory of colonization. Its interpretation is instructed by the question of why it had to be set in the Caribbean, that is, in the lands of the cannibals. The point that this chapter makes is that the religious context in which Defoe raises the question of selfhood requires that the first encounter with another be an encounter with one who threatens to eat the other, and whom in turn one must eat and assimilate, and thus dominate, in order to become a self. This chapter focuses on Crusoe's spiritual journey on the island alone. Indeed, the central role of the encounter with the cannibals, more precisely, the novel's Caribbean flavor, is meaningful only in the context of Crusoe's spiritual transformation.

Keywords: Daniel Defoe; colonization; Caribbean; cannibals; spiritual journey

Chapter.  10815 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Fordham University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.