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MonkeyNotes-Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
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Chapter 26: An English Ship

Eight days after the Spaniard and Friday's father leave the island, Crusoe sees a boat nearing the shore. Through his spyglass, Crusoe sees a ship at anchor in the distance and notices that both the ship and the approaching boat are English. Although he is overjoyed about the English boat, he also has his doubts.

As the boat draws near, Crusoe sees there are eleven men on board, three of who are prisoners being handled brutally by their captors. As the men debark, Friday, still fearful of savage ways, thinks that the prisoners, who are tied up, will be cannibalized. Instead, the captors leave the three prisoners behind and begin to survey the island.

Crusoe waits until it is dark before he makes his move. Then he gets close to the captives and introduces himself to them. The astonished Englishmen reveal that they are the captain, the first mate, and a passenger. The crew has mutinied and taken over the ship. Before Crusoe unties them, he makes them swear to obey him at all times on the island. He then arms them. In the attack that follows, they kill one man and severely wound another; the other three surrender themselves. Later, three other stragglers also give up.

After the battle, Crusoe and the ship's captain tell each other of their experiences. Then Crusoe takes the three former prisoners to his castle, where he feeds them and shows them all the things he has made over the years.


Notes

The arrival of the English ship changes the situation completely. After the savagery of the cannibals and the mistrust of the Spaniard, it is the Englishmen's turn to show their brutality. Friday's remark about the brutal behavior of the Englishmen towards their prisoners is interesting. He shows the same fear for the Englishmen that Crusoe had once shown for him. There is a flashback as the prisoners' behavior reminds Crusoe of his own behavior when he first landed on the island. He believes now that God has ordered things in this manner so that Crusoe can play the role of principal actor in the drama of freeing the prisoners.

The ensuing battle is an easy one to win. With the help of the ship captain and the two other freed prisoners, the mutineers are easily overcome. Crusoe's conversation with the captain reflects the great change that has come over him. He attributes everything to Providence and does not take any credit for himself. The mood of the chapter is one of heightened anticipation, with the ship still waiting recapture.

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