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The Progression of the Eighteenth Century Novel Shows How Society Takes Over the Role of God The progression of the Eighteenth Century novel charts the transformation of the role of God into the role of society In Daniel Defoes early Eighteenth Century novel Robinson Crusoe God makes the laws gives out the punishments and creates the terror By the end of the century the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror announce to the world that society is taking over the role of God and now people will make laws give out punishments and incite terror Early Eighteenth Century novel Robinson Crusoe shows the development of a new self one conflicted with the idea of both relying on Gods Providence while also realizing their own power to make things happen The novel shows the development of Homo Economico the economic man With the voyages to the new colonies many lower and middle class men prove able to create their own fortunes overnight The concept of the Great Chain of Being becomes lost when members of the lower classes become wealthier than many of the upper class aristocrats Now many men from the lower classes buy land andor titles When lower class members become landowners the idea of Divine Right to rule over the land no longer proves valid Defoe illustrates societys changes through Crusoe who battles with the notion of Gods Providence At certain moments he thanks God for His Providence but then later conceives that actually God did not cause the miracle but he did For example when the English barley sprung up from the ground on Crusoes remote desert island with improper climate for growing corn Crusoe thought these the pure Production of Providence and this touchd his Heart a little and brought tears to his Eyes and he began to bless 58 God He believed so fervently that the sprouting of the
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