YMMV / Robinson Crusoe

  • Ass Pull: Robinson (as the narrator) does this a LOT. It is probably justified by the age of this work (many literary conventions were not in place in 1719), but it is a bit jarring when Robinson suddenly "remembers" to tell the reader something that occurred earlier, like rescuing a dog and some cats or two additional mutineers coming to the island.
  • Ending Fatigue: After Crusoe finally gets off the island, we are treated to a very, very detailed account of him putting his financial affairs in order. After all this, there is an extended sequence of Crusoe, Friday, and others going on a winter journey through the mountains and of them doing battle with a bear and then a pack of wolves.
  • Fair for Its Day: Though violently disgusted by the cannibals, Crusoe ultimately decides against an offensive attack using arguments surprisingly close to modern cultural relativism. He also points out that Europeans (namely, the Spanish) are guilty of many atrocities in the New World themselves. When he finally does attack the cannibals, it's specifically to save people's lives.
    I debated this very often with myself thus: "How do I know what God Himself judges in this particular case? It is certain these people do not commit this as a crime; it is not against their own consciences reproving, or their light reproaching them; they do not know it to be an offence, and then commit it in defiance of divine justice, as we do in almost all the sins we commit. They think it no more a crime to kill a captive taken in war than we do to kill an ox; or to eat human flesh than we do to eat mutton."
    • Also seen in the book's depiction of Friday. It was common in this era for indigenous peoples to be portrayed as simply brute savages (think Shakespeare's Caliban). But Friday is never anything but kind, brave, loyal, handsome, and intelligent - the exact opposite of what you would call savage. He may still be Crusoe's inferior, but he's also an extremely likeable character.
  • First Installment Wins: Most people are completely unaware of the existence of The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. There was also a third book called Serious Reflections of Robinson Crusoe, but that was just a series of essays with Crusoe's name attached to boost sales. Needless to say, that one's even less well-known.
  • Ho Yay: Crusoe and Friday seem to have this going on, beginning with the fact that they're perfectly happy living on a deserted island alone together for years. The first thing Crusoe notices about Friday is that he's a "comely, handsome fellow, perfectly well made, . . . and well-shaped" and often rhapsodizes about how much he loves him, while Friday would rather die than be separated from his master. Neither ever shows any interest in women. Crusoe briefly mentions marrying and then becoming a widower all in one sentence, and that's all we ever hear about it. In fact, he never shows much affection for any other character - for example, he never says anything about missing his family during all his time on the island.
  • Iconic Character, Forgotten Title: As explained on the main page, "Robinson Crusoe" is not the actual name of the book.
  • Race Lift: Friday is described as a Carib Indian in the book. (This is the tribe the Caribbean was named after. Incidentally, the word "cannibal" comes from the Spanish name for them.) Yet many illustrations and film adaptations over the centuries have portrayed him as everything from African to South Pacific Islander to New Guinean.
    • Pop-Cultural Osmosis: Most people who haven't read the original book seem to think Friday is black. A famous example, and blatant Critical Research Failure, is Toni Morrison's essay "Race-ing Justice, Engendering Power: Essays on Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and the Construction of Social Reality."
  • Values Dissonance: Most notable in Friday's total subservience to his white master and complete willingness to let himself be remade in the European image. Considered downright racist today.
    • Crusoe is also very much okay with slavery, as he sells his companion Xury into the service a Portuguese captain (with the promise that Xury will be released in ten years if he converts to Christianity), owns a slave on his plantation, and conducts the voyage which ultimately results in his shipwreck in order to trade for more slaves.