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Section 7

A Revelation

As he languishes, Robinson decides that God must have put him on the island for a purpose. Which leads him to the question: why has God done this to him? His conscience quickly answers that this misery is payback for a life of rebellion against his father and repudiation of middle-class comfortability. Before going to bed, Robinson chews some tobacco and drinks some rum -- both medicinals he's learned from the Portuguese. He also says a prayer before bed that night -- another first.

When Robinson awakes, he's miraculously better. He continues his treatment with tobacco and alcohol. As he begins to recover, he worries that if God has thus saved him, what has he done to glorify God? He knees and thanks God out loud. The next morning he begins reading the New Testament. Robinson's prayers begin to transform: whereas previously he prayed to be delivered from his isolation on the island, or from sickness, he now prays to be delivered from the weight of guilt that he bears for his misspent life, and ceases asking to be delivered from physical afflictions.

Robinson begins to get better and determines to get a better sense of the island's terrain and layout. He finds meadows that he hadn't known were there. They boast wild sugar cane and tobacco in abundance. He also locates forests, with grapes and limes growing in them. He begins stockpiling these foods in preparation for the wet season. When he forays out again, he leaves the grapes and limes back at the tent, and on his return he finds that they have been trampled and consumed by a wild animal he has not yet seen. He builds a bower, and hangs grapes from it, having gathered quite a few by the time the rains come. He also plants corn and barley, and experiments through the months of February, March and April with sowing and harvesting techniques.

With what he learns from planting, Robinson reconceptualizes his year on a non-European model. He bases this new year, instead, on the harvesting cycles, and splits it up into four sections: two rainy and two dry. He begins to refer to the bower area and its surrounding crops as his country house, or country "seat" -- a term borrowed from a tradition of British landownership. He takes up wicker-work, fashioning twigs into baskets for corn. As he explores the opposite side of the island further he finds numerous turtles and fowl, and regrets building his home on the barren side, where he washed up. On one of these journeys he gets lost, and since a haze settles over the island for several days, he is unable to use the sun as a guide to find his way home. During this time, his dog injures a young goat and Robinson makes it a collar, and leads the goat to the bower, where he leaves it. He has now been absent from his tent for a full month and is anxious to get back. He resolves to go back and get the goat, though, who had had left without food, and it is so starved that it responds to him as a dog would, following him around for sustenance.

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Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Section 12
Section 13
Section 14
Section 15
Section 16
Section 17


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