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A Post-colonial Interpretation of Robinson Crusoe

Author LiuBingJie
Tutor WangWen;SunJian
School Shaanxi Normal University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Robinson Crusoe Post-colonialism Counter-discursive Interpretation Aphasia Identity-loss
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Daniel Defoe, whose first novel was Robinson Crusoe, was considered by some critics as the first realistic novelist in British literature. His Robinson had encouraged numerous colonizers and adventurers in the colonial age. Defoe’s time was just the age when the capitalists began their oversea expansion and colonial plunder. Robinson Crusoe was also a representative of the imperial narratives of that age. Robinson’s control, cultivation, and governance of the desert island formed a vivid picture of the construction of colonies. This thesis aims to discuss the colonial factors in Robinson Crusoe within Edward Said, Homi Bhabha, and Spivak’s post-colonial theories.Present thesis is divided into six parts. Daniel Defoe and his significance in British literature are introduced in the first chapter. The second chapter reviews the relevant literature review from two parts:home and abroad, as well as the significance of this thesis. The third chapter is a brief introduction of the post-colonial theories of Said, Bhabha, and Spivak. Chapter 4 is a post-colonial interpretation of Robinson Crusoe associated with Said’s theory. Firstly, the collusion between Robinson Crusoe and the colonial power will be read from four regards:the colonial background in Defoe’s age and Robinson Crusoe, Robinson’s tough spirit and wisdom as a colonizer, his spreading of Christian thoughts and European civilization and the understatement of his colonial activities. Secondly, the duration of how Robinson turns the desert island into a colony will be discussed. Finally, three relations under colonial discourse will be analyzed including Robinson and Friday, Friday and other white men, and Friday and his countrymen. Chapter 5 also deals with the interpretation of the novel within Spivak and Bhabha’s post-colonial theories. This thesis concludes in Chapter 6.

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