Last week, we read Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and we brought up some key issues about racism, class, colonialism/imperialism, violence, and even government, as well as metaphors for the island: the island as… (according to Shelby’s Discussion Leading) a vehicle for separation, a vehicle for conflict, and a vehicle for questioning.
We also talked about how the island functions as a smaller version of a country. For example, there are no actual indigenous people on the island. Sycorax, whom we never meet and is often thought a “native of the island,” and Caliban are actually emigrants in exile from Algiers, and so are Prospero and Miranda emigrants from Milan. The rest of the cast is either from Naples or Milan, too. Yet on this island of populated by 15 people, we clearly see an upper class of royalty, numbering 6, and the other 9 people are either servants, counsellors, or slaves. A question to think about is “how does separation or estrangement/alienation play a role in light of their situation?”
In this week’s reading of Robinson Crusoe, I want you to think about some of these themes–separation, slavery, government, violence, colonialism, and any others you might be interested in. What values do the characters from Robinson Crusoe (or the text itself) share with The Tempest? What’s similar between these two texts? What’s dissimilar or completely different?
In your blog post, you should focus on only 1 or 2 of those themes (also known as tropes), and give a detailed analysis of the connections between the two texts, however focusing primarily on Robinson Crusoe.
Your posts should follow these requirements:
- Posts must be at least 250 words.
- Posts must include at least one quotation from Robinson Crusoe, though you may quote more from the text (and also from The Tempest, but your one required quotation can’t be from The Tempest).
- Stay focused on answering the prompt question above. Avoid repeating the question and be as specific as possible in your answer. Remember to clarify the importance of your post. Don’t just tell us that separation is an “important” trope; rather explain why, with textual evidence and logical thinking, separation is important.
- Your response should make an argument, not summarize the text. In this case, your post should link a connection between The Tempest and Robinson Crusoe.
- Use specific moments from Robinson Crusoe to support and illustrate your argument.
- Be sure to introduce, quote, cite, and comment on all quotations. For example, don’t just quote a passage from Robinson Crusoe and hope that your readers understand what you mean by using that specific quotation. Introduce the quotation (e.g., “This passage occurs when the main character goes to the neighboring island…”), cite the text using MLA style, i.e., author’s last name and page number (e.g., Defoe 22), and finally explaining why the quotation proves your point (e.g., “We can see in the text that Crusoe’s reaction constitutes a racist way of thinking…”).
This response is due before class on Tuesday, January 18th. Blog comments (at least 2) are due before class on Thursday, January 20th.