Daniel Defoe’s most famous work, “Robinson Crusoe,” is written from the first-person limited perspective. Because “Robinson Crusoe” used this point of view, and the text’s frontispiece for its original 1719 publication read “Written by Himself,” many contemporary readers thought that Crusoe was a real person who had actually been shipwrecked and made it home to tell the tale. Defoe is best remembered for pioneering this kind of narrative realism, a style informed by his work as a journalist.
Through Crusoe's Eyes
The point of view is called “first person” because Robinson Crusoe narrates the story and speaks about himself using first-person pronouns, such as “I” and “me.” For instance, the book begins, “I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good family.” The term “limited” means that Crusoe, as a narrator, doesn’t have access to the thoughts or feelings of any other characters. Soon after he meets Friday, for example, Crusoe indicates that they can only communicate by gestures: “He came and kneeled down to me, and embracing my knees, said a great many things I did not understand.”