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European History: 1600s-1800s
Daniel Defoe



Daniel Defoe
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.86

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    castaway, colonialism, genre, pamphleteer, pillory, popularize, carving, fictional, altogether, novels, fiction, plots, tended, autobiography, survival, worthless
     content words:    Harry Potter, Robinson Crusoe, South America, Great Storm, Captain Singleton, Colonel Jack, Plague Years


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Daniel Defoe
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     It was 1719, and everyone wanted to get their copy. It must have been a little like the release of the latest Harry Potter book, but in 1719 the story that everyone wanted to get their hands on was Daniel Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe.
 
2     Robinson Crusoe was the fictional autobiography of a castaway on the island of Tobago, off the coast of South America. In the story, Robinson Crusoe sailed from England in 1651. No sooner had he set sail than disasters began. First, a storm wrecked his ship, but that didn't slow down Robinson Crusoe. He set sail again. Next, pirates took over his ship, but Crusoe escaped.
 
3     With the help of a Portuguese ship's captain, he made his way across the ocean and became a plantation owner in Brazil. He was achieving the dream that many people aspired to in this era of British colonialism. It was 1659, and Crusoe soon set sail again, this time on a ship bound for Africa to bring back slaves.
 
4     He hadn't traveled far when he was once again shipwrecked. He washed ashore on the island of Tobago. The island appeared to be deserted, and he saw no other survivors from the shipwreck. Crusoe gathered what supplies he could from the ship including money, food, guns, and gunpowder. He soon found out that the money was now worthless.
 
5     He began his new life of survival on the island. He built a wooden cross, which he used as a calendar by carving a notch in the wood each day. He built himself a shelter, and he found ways to feed himself. Crusoe hunted, grew corn, tended grape vines, and raised goats.

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European History: 1600s-1800s
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