Robinson Crusoe and Simon Pilkins are characters in two different stories. Even though they appear in different literature pieces, they have similarities as well as differences in characterization. Robinson Crusoe can be considered as an ordinary citizen who has a task to complete in respect to his fathers wish. (Defoe 2007). He is determined to fulfill his father’s desire consequently travelling is inevitable. Simon Pilkins is a soldier sent on behalf of the British colonialist. His aim is to colonize the Yoruba people and subject them to colonization. Simon feels he has power to stop Elesin from committing suicide. According to him, Elesin is an innocent man who has just been bounded by a misleading culture. In British law, it is a crime to attempt suicide and it is viewed as a ritual for the equestrian’s leader to commit suicide.
Robinson Crusoe is a humble man who prefers to stay calm and not brag about his efforts. He has made several achievements that have made him endowed before people as a hero. For example, his patience enabled him to construct a canoe and he taught himself how to make clay pots. He also put up a house, built a goat shed, a dairy and a grape abor. Analysts who have studied Robin Crusoe’s praise him and add that children should grow learning similar characteristics. It is important when children grow up learning some of these important life skills. The District officer is a man full of racism and discrimination towards the Black. He is an officer who represents British colonial presence in Oyo. According to him, the local people are very back- dated and their practices hindered the colonialism.
In regard to their feelings for their families, the District officer called Simon Pilkins and Robinson a contrast. Robinson seems less concern about his family and all he worries about is his father. He is concerned about not pleasing his father but shows no remorse about leaving his family. On the other hand, Simon Pilkins is family oriented. Simon and his wife dance tango before the talking drums of Yoruba are hit. This shows that Simon is a family man and he has time for his wife. The District officer has a position in the government. He is politically empowered therefore; he can easily influence the people. The District officer is a learned person who attempts to send Elesin abroad for education purposes but becomes unsuccessful. On the other hand, Robinson Crusoe is in a setting of primitiveness (Defoe &Shinagel, 1994). He makes his tools from the materials available. This shows that Robinson is more creative and innovative and can adapt to whichever environment he finds himself in. than the District officer.
Both Robinson and Simon Pilkins could be viewed as selfish people. Simon does not care about respecting the culture practices. He arrests Elesin because he considers suicide a crime according to the British law. Simon could be doing this because he considers Yoruba culture inferior or because he is supposed to establish power, possession and prestige in this community. This contrasts the Yoruba culture because such kind of suicide is considered a ritual. Robinson is also selfish and anti-social because he does not feel anything for his family even when he was away. Although he is kind to his sister and the captain, he does not bond with family members regularly. For example, he mentions that he was married but adds that his wife oases on in the same sentence. One can easily tell that he is not a family man.
Robinson is a man who likes people and respects them. For example, he gives gifts to his sister and the captain. He does not make any conflicts with the people he lives with because he prefers to be reserved. He does not believe in putting on airs who is. Instead, he enjoys being a casual person. Simon is a racist who undermines the African race. He finds pleasure in establishing power and prestige among the African community. That is why he dictates on what will happen. He is in Africa only because his superiors have sent him to the Yoruba people. He respects neither these people nor their culture. This is why he stops the suicide ritual from taking place. He is more interested in having dominion over them marking the beginning of colonialism (Matthew & Whitlock, 1992).
Although he does not boast about being a hero, Crusoe is not interested in having possessions and getting power. When he first refers to himself as a king of the island, it suggests a joke but when he explains the Spaniard as his servants, it should be considered that he really sees himself like a king. He wants Friday to learn how to call him “Master.” Simon derives pleasure from the fact that he has power over the Yoruba people. He considers himself more superior than them and he should be the one to say what is going to done and what should not. It shows power is an important thing in a human being’s life. Regardless of whether one is humble or proud everyone desires to have power to a certain level (Defoe, 2007).
Simon and his wife are preparing for a ball. A Yoruba police officer, who works for the Britons, comes in and finds them in masks. He is shocked because these masks are worn only during rituals. They symbolize presence of the ancestors. According to Simon and his wife, these are just mere masks that they hope to use and win in the ball. Robinson does not also seem to mind a lot about culture. He does things his own way and ignores whatever he feels unnecessary. This shows contrasting beliefs of culture between the Africans and the Europeans. Concern could also be mentioned about the African police officer who works for the British colonies. This would be considered betrayal to the Yoruba community because he has proved to defect from their cultures. This is evident when he goes to stop the ritual from happening.
Defoe, D. (2007). Robinson Crusoe. New York, NY: Oxford University press.
Defoe, D. & Shinagel, M. (1994). Robinson Crusoe: an authoritative text, contexts, critisms. New York, NY: Norton Publishers.
Matthews, J. P. & Whitlock, G. (1992). Re-siting Queen’s English: text and tradition in post-colonial literatures. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Rodopi.
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