Jonathan Brown AP English IV 12/30/08 Finding Meaning in Life’s Adventures

Adventure. The word alone brings to mind endless treks through lost civilizations, buried treasure and a blissful day on an idyllic beach, among other ideas. But what is it really? Many poets and authors have tried their best to depict this often misinterpreted facet of life, often to little or no acclaim. Two legendary writers, Daniel Defoe and Robert Stevenson, defined the concept of adventure perfectly when they penned the defining works of their respective careers: Robinson Crusoe and Treasure Island. By “…allowing his island adventurer barely enough in the way of tool and equipment to keep himself alive…” Defoe in particular does an admirable job of keeping the reader’s interest while not allowing the story to become stale (Robins 782). Though the authors themselves are different on a variety of spectrums, both captured very similar themes by writing such novels. By writing novels like these, Defoe and Stevenson were able to reach a much larger audience than they ever could have imagined, largely due to the appeal of the theme of “…the ordinary decent man triumphing over the circumstances…” (Robins 784). Combining the essence of both works creates a viable compendium of information for those looking to improve their quality of life, whether in a survival situation or a routine day at the office. At first glance, both novels appear to be the typical seafaring adventure story: they both are written in a first-person point of view, both involve a young male protagonist, and both plots are accomplished through the use of an island as the primary setting. The further one looks, however, the true intent of the authors begins to really shine through. Though the novels are


written by two completely different people, they share much the same theme: When life deals you a bad hand, make something good of it. This attitude is best exemplified by the extended soliloquies Crusoe delivers while alone on the island. Though the idea he mulls over are at times very complex, critic Maximillian E. Novak puts it best when he notes that “Throughout the narrative, Crusoe is aware of a terrible ‘original sin’…which he regards as the direct cause of all his sufferings” (Novak 19).


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