Summary: Chapter XXIV — We Make Another Canoe
Crusoe begins to love Friday and, in the course of rudimentary conversations with him, learns that the cannibals periodically visit the island. Crusoe also acquires enough geographical information to locate himself near Trinidad. Crusoe finds out that Friday is aware of mainland Spaniards who kill many men. Crusoe attempts to educate Friday in religious matters and finds that his servant easily understands the notion of God, to whom Friday draws similarities with his own deity Benamuckee. Friday has more difficulty understanding the devil, not grasping why God does not rid the world of this evil being permanently, and Crusoe has trouble answering this question. Crusoe admits that he lacks the religious knowledge necessary for instructing Friday in all the aspects of God and the devil. Friday reports that the cannibals have saved the men from the shipwreck discovered by Crusoe before Friday’s liberation and that those men are living safely among the natives now. When Friday expresses a yearning to return to his country, Crusoe fears losing him, and when Crusoe considers trying to join the shipwreck survivors, Friday becomes upset and begs Crusoe not to leave him. Together, the two build a boat in which they plan to sail to Friday’s land in November or December.
Summary: Chapter XXV — We March Out Against the Cannibals
My island was now peopled, and I thought myself very rich in subjects . . . how like a king I looked.See Important Quotations Explained
Before Crusoe and Friday have a chance for their voyage to the cannibals’ land, the cannibals visit Crusoe’s island. Twenty-one natives come in three canoes to carry out another cannibalistic attack on three prisoners. Hesitant on moral grounds to kill so many, Crusoe reasons that since Friday belongs to an enemy nation, the situation can be construed as a state of war in which killing is permissible. Approaching the shore, Crusoe observes that one of the prisoners is a European. Crusoe and Friday fall upon the cannibals and quickly overcome them with their superior weapons, allowing only four to escape. Friday is overjoyed to find that another of the prisoners is his own father. Crusoe and Friday feed the dazed prisoners and carry them back to Crusoe’s dwelling, where a tent is erected for them. Crusoe reflects contentedly on the peopling of his kingdom with loyal subjects.
Summary: Chapter XXVI — We Plan a Voyage to the Colonies of America
After conversing with his “two new subjects,” Friday’s father and the Spaniard, Crusoe revisits his earlier dream of returning to the mainland. Crusoe asks the Spaniard whether he can count on the support of the remaining men held on the cannibals’ territory. The Spaniard says yes, but reminds Crusoe that food production would have to be expanded to accommodate so many extra men. With the help of his new workers, Crusoe increases his agricultural capacity. He gives each of the new men a gun.
Summary: Chapter XXVII — We Quell a Mutiny
One day Friday comes running to Crusoe with news that a boat is approaching the island, and Crusoe, with his spyglass, discovers it to be English. Crusoe is suspicious. Near the shore, Crusoe and Friday discover that the boat contains eleven men, three of whom are bound as prisoners. Friday suspects that the captors are preparing for cannibalism. When the eight free men wander around the island, Crusoe approaches the prisoners, who mistake him for an angel. One prisoner explains that he is the captain of the ship and that the sailors have mutinied. Crusoe proposes that in exchange for liberating him and the other two, he and Friday should be granted free passage to England. The captain agrees and Crusoe gives him a gun. Crusoe realizes that the other seamen may notice something wrong and send more men onshore to overpower Crusoe’s men. They disable the boat to prevent the additional men from escaping.
Sure enough, ten seamen come in from the ship to discover the boat destroyed. Leaving three in the second boat as watchmen, the other seven come ashore. Crusoe then sends Friday and another to shout at the men from various directions, and Crusoe succeeds in confusing and tiring them so that they are finally separated. The men in the boat eventually come inland and are overwhelmed by Crusoe’s stratagems. On behalf of Crusoe, the captain, finally addressing the remaining men, offers to spare everybody’s life except that of the ringleader if they surrender now. All the mutineers surrender. The captain makes up a story that the island is a royal colony and that the governor is preparing to execute the ringleader the next day.
Analysis: Chapters XXIV–XXVII
The affectionate and loyal bond between Crusoe and Friday is a remarkable feature of this early novel. Indeed, it is striking that this tender friendship is depicted in an age when Europeans were engaged in the large-scale devastation of nonwhite populations across the globe. Even to represent a Native American with the individual characterization that Defoe gives Friday, much less as an individual with admirable traits, was an unprecedented move in English literature. But, in accordance with the Eurocentric attitude of the time, Defoe ensures that Friday is not Crusoe’s equal in the novel. He is clearly a servant and an inferior in rank, power, and respect. Nevertheless, when Crusoe describes his own “singular satisfaction in the fellow himself,” and says, “I began really to love the creature,” his emotional attachment seems sincere, even if we object to Crusoe’s treatment of Friday as a creature rather than a human being.