Robinson Crusoe Close Reading | Online Homework Aiders

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Response Papers: They should be around 2-3 pages in length. These responses will be due after the lecture concluding the text and will be evaluated as an exercise in close reading. Each response paper should accomplish the following three things:

  • Describe what is literally happening in the chosen passage (literal level).
  • Analyze the passage for the literary meaning; this means paying close attention to language and imagery (literary level).
  • Connect the part to the whole: how does the selected passage relate to a thematic recurrence in the work? Why is the selected passage significant to our understanding of the larger work?
  • MLA format: double spaced, 12 font times roman, include passage at top of your response
  • The Stages of Close-Reading
  • Sumarize
    • Determine WHAT the text says,
    • General understanding
    • Summary, central idea, and theme
    • Key details, text organization
    • Literal meaning of the text—No speculation
  • Analyze
    • Determine HOW the text says it
    • Vocabulary words, syntax
    • Literary devices, genre, textual structure
    • Authorial intent, perspective, Point of View
    • Read for inferences
    • What is suggested by the passage?
  • Synthesize
    • Determine WHY the text matters
    • Connection of the part to the whole
    • Mold your inferences about the material
    • Offer an assessment of the text
    • PASSAGE TO ANALYZE: Crusoe finding a footprint in the sand. This shows that his world if falling apart because he thought he was the only one on the island and wants to maintain order of the island because organization is his passion. This causes him to run away and start mixing reality and imagination because he starts to see stumps become men. He believes he’s on the island for a bigger reason and this footprint might be the reason.
  • Notes from class on close reading of footprint passage

    • Talks about what’s literally happening instead of what he’s trying to organize, talk about how his word choice and after he sees the footprint he uses the word FANCY a lot which is an old world for imagination because the footprint throws him off on what’s real and what’s not. Shows he is losing the materialistic world, loss of control over imagination is equivalent to loss of sovereignty because his home is becoming threatening. Describe metaphors, personification, and literary words.
    • Why he uses the words “APPARITION” and “IMPRESSION” – Footprint is a symbol of chaos which subverts Crusoe’s Control. The history of the footprint is irretrievable which opens the question of where it came from.
    • “like a man perfectly confused and out of myself” – returns to his castle (he sees it as that because he believes he’s king of the island) where he feels safe because his imagination of being king becomes intertwined with the reality that other people live there and he was getting caught up in his head.
    • When he gets home he decides he must rebuild himself as a self-contained subject so he creates a self-rationalist list: he is not the devil, he wants human company, he wants control of all things, or maybe it’s his own footprints (he checks it’s not the same size)
      The footprint is an index or a dietic pointing to something we don’t know yet. Skews space and time, marks molestations of Defoe’s writing: fictional replaces real.
    • Crusoe regains control over imagination by having a dream where he saves a savage and makes him a slave, this eventually happens when he meets Friday. It comes full circle when he places his FOOT on Friday’s neck showing dominance and that he has gained control back


  • “It happened one day, about noon, going towards my boat, I was exceedingly surprised with the print of a man’s naked foot on the shore, which was very plain to be seen on the sand. I stood like one thunderstruck, or as if I had seen an apparition. …I went to it again to see if there were any more, and to observe if it might not be my fancy; but there was no room for that, for there was exactly the print of a foot – toes, heel, and every part of a foot. How it came thither I knew not, nor could I in the least imagine; but after innumerable fluttering thoughts, like a man perfectly confused and out of myself, I came home to my fortification, not feeling, as we say, the ground I went on, but terrified to the last degree, looking behind me at every two or three steps, mistaking every bush and tree, and fancying every stump at a distance to be a man.”

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