Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver's Travels: the Soldier Within

The characters in Gullivers Travels and Robinson Crusoe are portrayed as resembling trained soldiers, being capable of clear thought during tense and troubled times. This quality possessed within Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver is a result of the author's background and knowledge. Daniel Defoe was knowledgeable and proficient in seamanship, he understood the workings of a ship and the skills required for its operation. Daniel Defoe, an intelligent man who is knowledgeable in self defense and military tactics, which is reflected in the actions of Robinson Crusoe who insists on always one step ahead of his opponent, wether it be an enemy, nature or himself. Robinson Crusoe is the know all, does all type of person. He becomes stranded on a desolate island and does whatever is necessary to survive. After being on the island for several years Crusoe learns to adapt to his surroundings (an important feature in becoming a good soldier) and lives with what he has.

In the 17th century, the Catholic reform was sweeping through many parts of Europe. The period from 1600 to about 1750 is known as the Baroque Era. Throughout this period the Catholic Church was fighting back against the effects of the Renaissance. The people of the Renaissance society started to question their beliefs in the church and tried to rationally explain the world around them. Several crusades were fought throughout this period and in the end England and France became "Christianized." Robinson Crusoe was published during the Baroque Era and it contained a great amount of Catholicism. Crusoe becomes a good Christian during his lonely stay on the deserted island and converts his companion Friday when he arrives on the island from cannibalism to Christianity. Crusoe has been placed on this barren island as a punishment for his sins (disobeying his father) and for leaving his middle station of life. Being lonely, home stricken and afraid has allowed Robinson Crusoe to fill his desire for company by allowing God into his life through his nightly readings of the Bible.

Defoe is a strong believer in God. He believes that God's providence shapes the lives of all men and that any unusual circumstances or misfortunes that occur happen because that is the way God wanted it. The psychological condition of Robinson Crusoe was not totally imagined by Daniel Defoe. Defoe was not a stranger to the life of solitude. In the early 18th century, Defoe was imprisoned for about six months. He was thrown in jail because of a controversial pamphlet that he wrote called The shortest Was With Dissenters. In this pamphlet Defoe humorously implied that all people who were not members of the Church of England should be killed. This imprisonment may have given Defoe several inklings of what it is like to be totally cut off from civilization. Robinson Crusoe survives on his island and adapts very well to his surroundings, but his companionship with God is not enough. In desperation he trains a parrot to speak to him just to hear another voice, even though the irony is that, the voice is just a repetition of his own.

Years later he discovers a footprint on the beach and totally flips his lid. He becomes terribly paranoid and very careful. Crusoe covers any tracks that would give the owner of the foot print an idea that he lives on the island. Crusoe becomes totally enraged with the thought of another human on the island that he prepares his house for war by surrounding it by an impenetrable fence, arming all his weapons and is ready to kill anyone that comes near his sacred home, grain, and animals. His condition is now evident: the strengths of his character that has made him flourish in isolation has now distorted all his social instincts and civilized manners. He only feels comfortable with himself, his animals, and the Lord in which he can trust. Crusoe lives in fear of the footprint for the next couple of years. Crusoe has become confused, at first he dreams for someone to come and save him, then he feels that someone may destroy him. He has been isolated form civilization for more than 15 years and it has driven him to the point of uncertainty, paranoia and slight lunacy. During the stay on the island, Robinson Crusoe became an architect, a carpenter, a baker, a tailor,