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Word Count: 695
The quest for the meaning of life has preoccupied philosophers theologians and authors since the beginning of the written word How does man find his place in the world understand himself and obtain peace with his God Daniel Defoes Robinson Crusoe finds his answer only in solitude in isolation from the distractions and static of the civilized world The novel focuses on a single man whose few companions are presented only as bit parts in the chief protagonists journey and who ultimately completes his journey of discovery in a location that is a perfect metaphor for his quest an isolated tropical island Crusoe is first presented as a young man who has everything but finds himself unhappy and unfulfilled Against his parents wishes he abandons this comfortable middle class existence in search of fulfillment His quest leads him all over the world and as travels his segregation increases Defoe appears to intentionally leave all supporting characters unformed Their lack of depth forces the focus on Crusoe and his growing isolation Crusoe never pauses in his search long enough for us to be distracted with the details of other peoples lives This is not to say that these other characters are not important Xury is a significant character because it is through him that we see Crusoes reliance on Christianity to justify his dealings with people of dark skin When Xury is sold to the Portuguese Captain Crusoe is at first uneasy about selling him but when the captain agrees to free Xury after ten years if he converts to Christianity Crusoe agrees Yet even though Xury is Crusoes companion for a significant period of time his character is never fully developed Like the Portuguese Captain and Friday Xury is merely part of the landscape that Crusoe must ultimately shape himself and his character When Crusoe first comes to the island he despairs over his situation Crusoe sees the island as a miserable place
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