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Chapter 9

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 9 of Daniel Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe.

Robinson Crusoe | Chapter 9 | Summary



After he plants his next round of grain crops—he now has two fields to work—Robinson Crusoe learns to make pottery. The results are ugly but functional as he shapes clay into vessels and dries it in the sun. Wanting vessels to hold liquid, he devises a way to cure the pots in his campfire. Because he expects a larger crop of grain, he makes a mortar and pestle out of hard wood for milling the grain, and uses fabric from the ship to make sieves for the ground meal. These measures come in the nick of time because his supply of biscuits from the ship is running low.

He also has to fashion new clothes for himself as the ones he has are rotting after four years on the island. The weather is hot enough for him to go naked, but he needs clothing to protect him from the sun. Using the remnants of clothing he found on the ship along with skins of goats, he makes himself a new waistcoat and loose pants. He also makes himself an umbrella from the skins.

The land he sighted from the island occupies his thoughts more and more. While he worries he might run into cannibals there, he also considers the possibility of rescue. He is unable to salvage the ship's lifeboat that brought him to this shore. It is too big and too far from the shore for him to move it to the sea. So he then builds a canoe out of a single, giant tree that he fells for the purpose. It takes him months to finish, and then he discovers he is also unable to move it into the water, so his labor has been wasted.


More evidence of Robinson Crusoe's self-reliance emerges in his endeavor to bake his own bread. He expresses great pride in his ability to do this, observing how little people think of the labor that goes into everyday objects and foodstuffs. This labor has given him a new appreciation for what he has, as he preaches the virtues of simplicity and having no more than one can use. This message is one that has been taken up by writers over the centuries, and may contribute to the novel's enduring popularity. Similarly, he applies his ingenuity to the task of replacing worn-out clothing. Clothing provides protection but also reminds Crusoe of his identity as a civilized man. The umbrella is a similar item of civilization, and one that has become stereotypically English. Like clothing, the umbrella serves a practical purpose of protecting against rain and sun, but it also has psychological worth in connecting Crusoe to the world he left behind.

Likewise, Crusoe learns an important lesson about forethought in his failure with the canoe. The canoe he builds is big and heavy, and he never has a good plan to get it into the water. It's only after he has put in the effort that he understands his work has been wasted, so he now understands it is important not only to have only as much as he can use but also to know how he will use the things he makes. He reflects, again, on the uselessness of his drawer full of money and on the knowledge that any food he cannot consume will simply rot or be eaten by vermin. The failure of the canoe is particularly difficult for him, not only because it puts on hold any long-term plans for escape but also it takes away the potential freedom and diversion that boats represent for him.

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Questions for Chapter 9

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Through close reading of chapter 9 and 13 of The Catcher in the Rye write an essay in which you show how Salinger uses narrative point of view, imagery, and motif of phoniness to explore the way in wh
Through close reading of Chapter 9 and 3 of the Catcher in the rye, write an essay in which you show how Salinger uses narrative point of view, imagery and the motif of phoniness to explore the way In
Review Chapter 9 in A Christian Philosophical Journey carefully as you work on Worldview Question #5 below. Use this chapter to help you with your answers (and any further synthesis). Read Worldview Q
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