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Chapter 7: Securing Myself Against Savages and Wild Beasts
Crusoe decides to build a place that will be secure from both men and wild animals. He chooses a location on a little plain on the side of a hill, whose seaward face is so steep that nothing can descend from above. On the side of the rock is a small, hollow place, and he decides to pitch his tent on a patch of grass right in front of that spot. He also drives in two rows of sharp, pointed stakes in a semi- circle around his chosen site to form a fence so strong that nobody can pass through or over it. His "fort" becomes accessible only by means of a short ladder, which he draws up after himself. He makes a double ten, one within the other, to keep out the rain. He then stores all his supplies within the tent. Behind the tent he digs a cave leading to the hollow, which serves as a cellar.
Every day, Crusoe finds time, in the midst of his work on his home, to go out and hunt with his gun. It serves as his amusement and also acquaints him with the island. He succeeds in killing a she-goat, and later, its kid; these two animals serve as his main food for a long time. After he has been on the island for a while, he realizes that he could lose track of time unless he keeps some kind of calendar. He makes a large wooden cross and cuts into it notches to keep count of the weeks, months and years. Since he has brought pens, ink, and paper from the ship, he also keeps a strict account of his routine, as long as the ink lasts. Crusoe sometimes becomes depressed by his state of affairs and weeps, but in the end, his reason prevails and he becomes grateful that he has survived the shipwreck when all the others did not. He is also appreciative for the two cats and a dog that he rescued from the ship, for they remain his faithful companions for a long time.
In this chapter, Crusoe, hardened by difficulties but not defeated by them, is pictured as industrious. Refusing to be idle and mourn his fate, he conquers his fear and prepares for survival. For almost an entire year, he works assiduously until every important task is done. In the process, he builds "a fort" on the side of a hill, creates a shelter for himself that will protect him from men, animals and weather, fashions a double tent in which to store his supplies, and hunts for food. He creates a crude form of a calendar to keep track of time and faithfully writes a journal of his routine until the inks runs out. When depression over his situation overcomes him, he counts his blessings for surviving the shipwreck and acknowledges that God's hand spared him from a watery grave.
The great wooden cross that Crusoe makes to mark time is a symbol of his journey towards regeneration. His salvation will not come easily to him, but must be bought over a period of time, that he carefully marks with notches. The entire image is an appropriate and intentional symbol, recalling the cross of Christ that symbolizes forgiveness and redemption for all of Christianity. The symbol, in turn, casts a new, somewhat romantic light on the adventure, for it gives hope and foreshadows success for Robinson Crusoe