Crusoe Paper - Validity of the Tradition of Money in...

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Validity of the Tradition of Money in Robinson Crusoe Robinson Crusoe's father raises Crusoe to have a traditional conception of money by educating his son about wealth. He does that with lessons such as “the middle state. .. [is] the most suited to human happiness” (Defoe, 4). The middle state that Crusoe's father talks about is the middle class of society which has a sufficient amount of monetary wealth. Since the middle class is defined here solely by the amount of money possessed, happiness is likewise defined by money. Crusoe learns his father's lessons and starts to apply them to his future situations to define whether he is happy or not. Crusoe carries this notion of money with him through Robinson Crusoe until he gets on the island. Daniel Defoe creates a change in Crusoe's conception of money in order to show Crusoe as a character outside of society and make the reader think more critically about the rationality of his views versus that of tradition. Crusoe applies his traditional perception of money to his first adventures to set up the eventual change that will occur on his view of money. One of Crusoe's first voyages is traveling to Africa on a merchant ship. Crusoe has much success on this voyage and he “took delight to learn. .. [he] brought home L. 5.9 ounces of gold dust” (Defoe, 17). The diction that Defoe uses in this line, especially the word “delight”, indicates that Crusoe thinks that he is happy because of this discovery. He is delighted because his current conception of money is that money equates to happiness. Although Crusoe believes that he is happy because of his newfound fortune, he certainly is not content because he turns right around and goes back out for another voyage. Crusoe similarly encounters money in a later adventure of his. Crusoe gets rich again when he is starting his plantation in Brazil. He gets so rich that he has “room for all the happy things to. .. befallen [him]” (Defoe, 38). Because Crusoe is now rich, he believe that everything he can dream of 1
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will just “befallen” him and make his life perfect. Once again, Crusoe thinks that he is
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Crusoe Paper - Validity of the Tradition of Money in...

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