Summary and Analysis
Arriving in Lisbon, Crusoe found his old friend, the captain, who informed him of Crusoe's state of affairs. He told Crusoe that his plantation had done well, and this his partner was still alive. Due to his long absence, Crusoe found his estate in a state of confusion, but one thing was assured, and that was that he had become a very wealthy man. Thus, he began the complicated task of consolidating and restoring his authority over his properties.
True to his old friends, he promised them restitutions for their labors on his behalf when he was in full control of his wealth. After making recompense to the old captain and others, Crusoe had to decide which way to steer his course "and what to do with the estate that Providence had thus put into my hands." He decided first to go to England, but was somewhat apprehensive about going by sea. Acting on his hunches, he decided not to go two different times on two different ships, and this was greatly to his advantage as both ships were lost at sea.
He resolved then to go by land and, taking Friday with him, he and five other gentlemen employed a guide and left for England.
Crusoe and the others set out from Lisbon. Because he was the oldest, and had two servants (Friday being too unfamiliar with this part of the world to serve all his needs), the other men in the troop called Crusoe "Captain."
When they came to Navarre, they were informed that heavy snow had fallen on the French side of the mountains impeding travelers greatly. On arriving in Pampeluna, all were shocked at the extreme cold, especially Friday, who had never seen snow in his life. Because the roads were impassable, they stayed twenty days at Pampeluna. Crusoe suggested taking a small voyage by sea to Bordeaux.
However, before they could act on this suggestion, four travelers arrived, having made it safely through the mountains from France with the help of an able guide. Crusoe and his company employed this same gentleman and, with twelve new arrivals, started out through the snow on the fifteenth of November. Backtracking somewhat, they found themselves in a more commodious climate, entering the mountains from an angle.
Running into some heavy snow, they were warned to be aware of the presence of bears and wolves. One night, as they journeyed in single file, they heard the guide scream out and Friday ran to his aid. The guide had been attacked by wolves but Friday killed one, and the others ran off. The entire company was alarmed. Immediately, however, a bear came out of the woods, which had been chasing the wolves.
Although the others made ready to shoot, Friday seemed amused at the sudden appearance of such an animal. Requesting that the others not shoot, Friday assured them that he could "make sport" of the bear, and then kill it. Friday spent much time taunting the bear, making a farce of the bear's clumsy behavior, thus amusing the others. Finally, as the bear was engaged in climbing down the tree following Friday, Friday dramatically pointed the gun at the bear's ear "and shot him dead as a stone." Everyone was amused as Friday explained that this was done for sport in his native country with bows and arrows instead of guns.
Because of the snow, the group hastened on. Entering a forest that they had been warned about, they encountered a dead horse being eaten by wolves. Almost immediately they began to hear wolves baying frightfully. A pack of almost a hundred wolves came at the group. Crusoe ordered the men to form, and they fired volley after volley into the creatures and "hallooed" wildly to frighten them. The wolves went off at a gallop, but during the night they heard them howling and felt themselves watched by wolves in the wilderness.
They also encountered other dead riders and horses and a rider and his horse being pursued by seventeen wolves. As more came out of the woods, Crusoe and his other men laid a line of timber around them and set fire to it. Between the fire and their bullets, at least three score of wolves were killed and many more wounded.
Their guide being ill, they found a new guide and journeyed on to Toulouse and were told by people there that they were exceedingly lucky to have escaped. Crusoe felt that he would much rather go by sea than ever cross those mountains again.
Crusoe arrived safely at Dover on January 14. After praising the old widow for her good care of his effects, he began thinking of going to Brazil. Here, however, he came to a major problem: Crusoe could not decide whether to take up the Roman Catholic religion or be killed in the Inquisition. Deciding to stay true to his principles, he determined that he should sell his plantation. His old friend in Lisbon handled the sale, and Crusoe received a handsome price. He then set up a sum of money to keep the old captain and his son for life.
Crusoe found himself restless; he wanted to travel. For seven years, his friend, the widow, persuaded him to stay at home, and Crusoe raised his nephews. Settling himself, Crusoe married and had three children. At the death of his wife, Crusoe was persuaded by his nephew to go abroad in 1694. Crusoe visited the colony on his island and got the story of the Spaniard's return and their troubles with the prisoners and how, at last, peace was restored. Crusoe brought them necessary supplies and two skilled workmen — a carpenter and a smith. Going on to Brazil, Crusoe sent "besides other supplies, I sent seven women," along with some domesticated or farm animals.
Crusoe then tells us that he went on to new adventures for ten years, which he discusses in a later account.
Defore, having delivered his hero from the island, has little else to do but tell "what happened afterward." And, after Crusoe's long imprisonment, he rewards Crusoe with an almost forgotten, but thriving plantation in Brazil. Similarly, Crusoe rewards his old friends generously, and makes recompence to the old captain. The tale could have ended here, but Defoe includes, unnecessarily, the scene with the bear and wolves. One is certain that having survived the rigors of island life, Crusoe and Friday will surmount these dangers, here on "civilized ground."
Mention should be made here of the treatment of women in this novel. Throughout, very little mention is made of females at all. In the concluding chapters, we are told that Crusoe marries, and later sends women to the island. It is interesting, and significant, that we are told nothing of the woman Crusoe marries, and, that the women sent to the island are only as important as the other "supplies." Women, for Crusoe, (and Defoe?) are only mentioned when they are useful to the men involved, or to the plot of the novel. We have encountered Crusoe's, and by extension, Defoe's, utilitarianism before in this novel. How does this trait contribute to survival on the island? Can this trait be taken too far?
At any rate, we are promised further adventures, and, indeed, a sequel to this novel appeared, although it is difficult to imagine the aging Crusoe going off in search of new escapades. Probably Defoe merely wanted to cash in on his earlier success.