Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Robinson Crusoe as figure and (almost) reality in Charles Dickens's "Dombey and Son"

In Charles Dickens's "Martin Chuzzlewit", Robinson Crusoe is a cultural reference for Tom Pinch, a memory of childhood reading and a figure for his bachelor friend John Westlock's life. Crusoe reappears as a figure in "Dombey and Son" for both Walter Gay's uncle Solomon Gills and their friend Captain Cuttle. Solomon tells Walter they are not "like the Savages who came on Robinson Crusoe's Island"; later, after Walter has gone to sea and Solomon has gone to look for him, Captain Cuttle feels "as lonely as Robinson Crusoe." But Walter Gay himself comes close to being a real Crusoe: he survives a shipwreck and unexpectedly returns to London many years later. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 3 November 2021)
The return of Walter Gay

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