I Go to Sea - I Go on Board in an Evil Hour Summary

Robinson Crusoe was born in 1632 in York, England to a middle class family. His father wanted him to become a lawyer, but Robinson had a different path in mind for himself; he wanted the adventure of being a sailor. Because his parents did not approve, one day, at the invitation of a friend, whose father was a ship's master, he boarded a ship to London.

He was nineteen years old and felt he would not need his parents' consent. His father had told him, if he chose this path his life would be one of misery and he would not receive help from his parents, if he had any trouble. Robinson soon found out how true his father's words were, because the first night at sea a storm passed over the ship. It so terrified Robinson he felt he might have made a mistake and promised God he would return home if he survived the storm. After the storm passed, all of his promises seemed to slip his memory. A few days later another storm took hold of the ship and the ship put in at Yarmouth Roads to ride out the storm, but the ship began to take on water. The men were rescued by a boat from a nearby ship and they were put ashore at Cromer, where the townspeople gave them lodgings and money to help them. They could either continue on to London or return to the port in Hull, which is where the voyage started. After disregarding the shipmaster's advice to stay on land, Robinson continued on to London and booked passage on another ship.

Robinson boarded a ship bound for Africa, but because he was not a sailor he traveled as a gentleman passenger. The captain took a liking to Robinson and made him his messmate and companion. Robinson learned about sailing and brought home some gold dust. The captain unfortunately died after this voyage and Robinson traveled again with the ship under the command of a new captain. It was during this voyage the ship was besieged by a pirate ship, and the men, after a battle, were taken prisoner.

Robinson was taken by the pirate ship's captain as his personal slave. He took him fishing with him and had him perform other various duties for him. Robinson was always trying to devise a way to escape, but it took two years before an opportunity presented itself.

The captain was expecting guests and needed fish for the evening meal. He sent Robinson, another man called the Moor and Xury, another prisoner, out alone in his boat to catch some fish. Robinson saw this as his opportunity to make his escape, so he had the Moor bring provisions on board the ship. He told him these were needed, because they could not use the captain's provisions. Then Robinson pretended he could not find fish in the usual spot and they would need to go farther out to sea. After sailing far enough away from shore so that the guards could not clearly see what he was doing, Robinson threw the Moor overboard. Xury agreed to go along with Robinson, because the boy, a prisoner of the pirate wanted to escape.

After sailing for a few days the two had to come ashore to retrieve fresh water. They met some natives, who gave them food and water, in return Robinson killed a leopard for the natives to eat. Xury and Robinson, after weeks at sea, were finally rescued by a Portuguese ship. The captain promised to take them to Brazil, but he wanted to purchase Xury. Robinson allowed this, with the promise Xury would be given his freedom after ten years of service.

Once in Brazil, Robinson made the acquaintance of a plantation owner. He learned how to produce sugar and grow tobacco from him, knowledge he used to start his own plantation. He sold some of his belongings to fund his new business. After receiving some money he had left in London, he used it to buy more tools and servants to help him run his plantation more efficiently. His downfall came after four years of building up his plantation, he agreed to be an agent for three men who wanted to bring slaves from Guinea to Brazil. This would mean he would have to neglect his plantation to bring back the slaves, who would be divided up among the four men. Robinson would not have to put up any money for the slaves, because he was making the trip to procure them. It was not a good idea and if he had been thinking reasonably he would not have accepted the men's terms.

At first the voyage was pleasant, until the ship became caught in a hurricane, which lasted twelve days. Finally, the storm was over and it was decided the best course would be to sail for some English islands, in order to make repairs to the ship before heading on to Africa. Unfortunately, before they could reach their destination another storm hit and the ship landed on a sandbar. The ship was badly damaged and the men had to try to take a rowboat to the shore of the mainland, but the boat was hit by a large wave and capsized. Robinson was swallowed up by the wave, but he fought to stay alive and tried to reach the shore. After enduring being swallowed up by the sea several times, he finally made it to the shore, only to realize he was the sole survivor. He was, at the age of 27, stranded with no idea where he was or how he was going to survive.

Robinson Crusoe endured many hardships in his desire to experience the world. He had many experiences which ranged from great fortune to the most miserable of circumstances. His father's prophecy of misery if he did not follow his advice came true.

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