Shelley vs Defoe

The passages from Frankenstein and Robinson Crusoe share similarities and differences. Both depict solitary figures striving to make a life in a world new and unfamiliar to them. Similar in construction, both passage describe day to day activities. In Robinson Crusoe, the description of day to day activities is formal: “I have already observed how I brought all my goods into this pale, and into the cave which I had made behind me.” Victor Frankenstein describes some of his daily tasks with “I collected bones from charnel houses; and disturbed, with profane fingers, the tremendous secrets of the human frame.” Both passages portray solitary figures. Victor Frankenstein is alone in his quest to create human life; his monster is alone as the only member of his race on earth, a cursed and wretched figure. Robinson Crusoe is stranded on an island, alone in his own tropical universe. Because they are alone, the figures portrayed in the passages turn to reflection as a means of self-expression.

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One thought on “Shelley vs Defoe

  1. Some good information here, but what do you make of it? One of the common threads in your post is that the two protagonists were condemned to solitude. Well, what does that solitude do for an Enlightenment figure like Crusoe, and for a Romantic one like Frankenstein? How does the reflection on that experience work differently for each character?

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