Crusoe, toil and temptation
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Crusoe, toil and temptation book
This chapter focuses on historically and geographically specific discourses to unfold a more complex and potentially unstable masculinity. Daniel Defoe's belief in the imperial needs of Britain powers this narrative on: Robinson Crusoe's discontent is essential for the narrative to venture into the tempting riches of the East. The importance of taking both parts of the Crusoe series together reveals their emphasis on insistent repetition and a lack of spiritual or psychological development. The picture of the Jamaican epicure painted in Edmund Hickeringill's poem is renounced by the picture of Crusoe's ostensibly solitary manly toil. Temptation and toil, metaphors normatively grounded in gender stereotypes, become untrustworthy grounds for establishing manliness. The contingency of manliness is emphasised by the inescapable summons to rehearse the spectacle of irrationality and discontent. George Cheyne's delineation of effeminacy, excess and disease was a cautionary tale for England that offered a distinctly civic humanist narrative of national improvement.