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Chapter 6: A Dreadful Deliverance
Crusoe, somewhat recovered, walks around the island and shows joy over his deliverance. He then realizes that he has no clothes other than what he is wearing, and nothing to eat or drink. All he has in the world is a knife, a pipe, and a little tobacco. He puts some tobacco in his mouth, finds a stick with which to arm himself, and climbs a tree, where he sleeps until the next day.
When he wakes up, Crusoe finds that the waves have lifted the sinking ship and driven her closer to the shore. By noon, the tide ebbs even further, and the ship is just a quarter of a mile away. Crusoe swims to the ship and climbs aboard, gathering the things needed for survival. With supplies on board, he constructs a makeshift raft. He then empties three sea chests and lowers them onto the raft. He fills the chests with provisions, tools, weapons, powder, and shot.
When he returns to the island on the raft, he explores to find a suitable place to set up camp. He builds a crude hut to shelter him from the weather and wild animals. The next day he swims out to the ship and builds another raft and loads it with more powder, bullets, shot, clothes, and bedding. Once again, he returns safely to the island. He then makes a tent with a sail and some poles; he stores the articles that rain or sun could damage under the tent. During the next few days, he regularly goes to the ship and brings back all he can. One night the wind blows very hard, and the next morning when he looks out, the ship is gone.
When Crusoe climbs out to safety from the waves, he instinctively thanks God for his extraordinary escape, showing that he is not altogether unworthy. However, as usual, his gratitude does not last. As he realizes the grimness of his situation, deserted on an uninhabited island, he begins to despair, not trusting Providence to provide.
During the first night on the island, Crusoe's sinking ship is washed closer to shore. Because of his enterprising nature, he swims to the ship, builds a raft, and brings needed provisions and supplies back to the island. He repeats this procedure daily, bring all that he can, until the ship finally sinks. Since Crusoe has fallen from grace, the prodigal son sinks to his lowest level, marooned on an uninhabited island in the middle of nowhere. Although he initially pities himself for his situation, he does not allow his despair to continue. Instead, he busies himself with setting up a shelter to protect him. When the sinking ship is pushed towards shore, he gathers all the supplies he can. He then builds a "home" from boards, to protect him from the weather and wild animals. It is ironic that one of Crusoe's first acts is create a home for himself on the deserted island, for all his life he has been running away from home - first from his family in England and then from his plantation in Brazil.
In reality, the true tale of Robinson Crusoe begins at this point in the novel. Stranded on the island for the next twenty-eight years, the hero will have to survive circumstances that are more demanding than anything he has encountered up to this point in his life. Redemption from his fallen state is possible, but at a price.