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Identity in Robinson Crusoe and Great Expectations

9 Pages 2368 Words July 2018

One goes on a physical journey to various places and another also goes on a journey, but it’s a journey heading towards manhood. These are the stories of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. What these two have in common is the theme of self awareness and identity. However, this theme is portrayed a little differently from each other. Defoe’s novel protagonist was self aware throughout most of the novel while Dicken’s main character had to develop this sense of self identity and awareness. This theme plays an important role in both novels and is one of the defining characteristics of the characters. As these two characters learned more about themselves, their journey of self identity, in some aspects, can sometimes be viewed as a reflection of the world they live in.
In Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, the main character Robinson Crusoe journeys to various locations, including a secluded island where he was stranded after a shipwreck. He started off as a young impulsive wanderer who defied his parents and went to sea. This defiance led him to experience various things, including several violent storms at sea, being taken prisoner in Sallee, becoming a sugar plantation owner, getting shipwrecked, getting stuck on an island for 15 years, and so on. Throughout his journey, he demonstrates moments of strong self awareness. This is most prominent during his time on the island. He learns things about himself that probably only years of isolation could have brought out in him. He does not revert to a brute existence who’s controlled by animal instincts. He remains logical and self conscious at all times. In fact, his time on the island had made him even more self aware since he withdrew himself from society and any social contact, leading him to turn inwards and look at himself. On various occasions, he would keep track of himself using different methods. For example, he created a makeshift calendar th...

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