Course Hero. "Robinson Crusoe Study Guide." Course Hero. 15 Sep. 2016. Web. 18 Jan. 2019. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Robinson-Crusoe/>.
Course Hero. (2016, September 15). Robinson Crusoe Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved January 18, 2019, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Robinson-Crusoe/
(Course Hero, 2016)
Course Hero. "Robinson Crusoe Study Guide." September 15, 2016. Accessed January 18, 2019. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Robinson-Crusoe/.
Course Hero, "Robinson Crusoe Study Guide," September 15, 2016, accessed January 18, 2019, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Robinson-Crusoe/.
Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 5 of Daniel Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe.
Robinson Crusoe's journal recounts his early days on the island, starting on September 30, 1659, the day of his landing. He describes the trips he makes to the wreck and building his early settlement, as well as daily hunting trips with his gun and his dog. He enlarges the cave on the hillside and builds a table. He then turns his attention to making the tools he does not have, such as a shovel. He wants a wheelbarrow but, unable to make a wheel, settles for a kind of sled to move the earth out of his cave. After a minor collapse in the cave, he shores up the construction with wooden posts. He spends a lot of time fortifying his wall as the weather allows.
After he lames a goat and nurses it back to health, he begins to consider the possibility of domesticating some goats for food, but he has no food to spare for them. He attempts to domesticate pigeons as well, but again, the lack of extra food is problematic. He finds a few stalks of rice and barley growing from seeds he discarded out of a bag ravaged by rats. He keeps the grains that grow so he may plant more the following season, but it will take him four years to produce enough for eating.
In April of his first year, the island is hit by an earthquake and a hurricane in short order. He considers building a new habitation, but he lacks wood and his tools are dull. He figures out a way to turn the grindstone with his feet while he holds blades for sharpening, but he continues to live in the cave until he can make an alternative arrangement. The hurricane also washes the remains of the ship closer to shore, so Crusoe is able to salvage a little more gunpowder and dismantle the wood from the wreck for his own use.
Providence and nature figure heavily into the events of Chapter 5. Because Robinson Crusoe sees every event as a form of reward or punishment, he sees the emergence of the barley and rice stalks as a miracle and blessing from God. Although he doesn't say so directly, the storm that enables him to recover the last of the ship at the precise time he needs more wood seems like an act of Providence as well.
Crusoe's best assets at this point are his self-reliance and his inventiveness, as demonstrated in his decision to reinforce his cave with wooden beams. He also makes his own tools, and even if they don't function exactly as he hopes, he makes do with them. Possibly the best example of his inventiveness is his solution with the grindstone. His tools are dull, and he is unable to operate the grindstone to sharpen them by himself. Rather than give up on sharp tools, he devises a pulley system that allows him to turn the stone with his feet. Crusoe's efforts in all these matters demonstrate his ingenuity and ability to work with what he has that make his long-term survival and comfort possible. He begins to think about how he might domesticate the animals on the island in order to reduce his dependence on his guns and a gunpowder supply that will eventually run out. This ability to plan ahead and innovate represent his best defense against the whims of nature. Crusoe's pride in his "machines," such as his grindstone contraption, also match the rising interest in new inventions and mechanization in 18th-century Britain, which would eventually lead to the Industrial Revolution.