The Pros and Cons of Stranding
Robinson next lists things which are less obvious necessities -- less obvious, that is, than the saving of his life, and the making of shelter -- such as the tools he uses for keeping track of time, carving such information into a post, and cutting a notch for every day he spends on the island. He also tells us that a dog and two cats have survived the shipwreck, and cohabit the island with him. He finds pen, ink, and paper, and explains that he is interested in writing down his experiences on the island -- not to leave to any spawn he may produce, for he feels sure that he is unlikely to have any heirs, but in order to give vent to the thoughts that besiege him during the day. He has no outlet, no other human beings to distract him or converse with him. He turns to writing instead. He lists the pros and cons of his situation, referring to them as the evils and the goods of his life on the island. Among the evils, he lists:
The impossibility of his recovery.
His lack of sufficient clothes.
His relative lack of defense against wild beasts.
His lack of another person to speak with .
Among the goods are the following:
The fact that he is alive.
The possibility that if he was saved by divine providence from the shipwreck, he may be saved from the island by divine providence as well.
That he is not starving.
That he has not seen any menacing wild beasts yet.
The fact that he was able to get supplies from the ship.
Robinson uses the list as an example for the reader that anything negative, such as his shipwreck, can also contain positive elements in it. Sufficiently cheered, Robinson sets about learning how to build things that he previously did not know how to construct, such as a chair and a table. He reflects happily that any man can learn mechanical skills, given the opportunity. He also begins to keep a journal, which he then reproduces for the reader. We should note also that Robinson reconstructs the journal as if he'd been keeping it from the beginning of his stranding, when, in fact, he has not.
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