‘Hayy Bin Yakzan’ and ‘Robinson Crusoe’

Written by Şerif Mardin

The 10 differences between the story of Hayy Bin Yakzan written about a deserted island by Ibn-i Tufeyl of Andalusia during the 12th century and Daniel Defoe’s English novel Robinson Crusoe that was published in 1719.

1. How does one’s self reveal itself on a deserted island, how does it procure values, and what do these values mean? Both of these novels search for the answers of these questions. They are similar biographies.
2. Hayy, Ibn-i Tufeyl’s protagonist, is a recluse who does not have any ties to society. The novel explores his encounter
with Absal, who has come from faraway mystical lands, and how he attains the truth. While Robinson, who ends up on a deserted island as a result of a shipwreck on his way to buy slaves from Africa for his plantation, is not as innocent as he seems. He does not abstain from being destructive of nature and people in order to form a habitat for his living.
3. Robinson has a master-slave relation with Cuma who keeps him company on the island. He considers himself to be superior as he is white. In his own words, the deserted island is his own kingdom.
4. There are two fundamental features that make both these works important: The first is due to the fact that they claim a philosophical contention. While the second is the fact that their literary style correspond to their ideas, enrichening it.
061f5732a9e90372306750b2bb94e2105. The narrative in the story Hayy Bin Yakzan is in third person, while Robinson Crusoe is narrated directly by the author. This difference is crucial as the fact that the narrator is different influences both the style as well as the depth of knowledge.
6. Robinson wants to control time and location. He makes a notch on a piece of long wood in order to be aware of the time. In fact, he does not contend with administering time, but in his own words, “I make these notches in order not to forget of Sabbath.”
7. In fact, Robinson makes a reference to his family when speaking of Sabbath. He comes from a religious family. According to tradition, he must not lead astray from the path of God. However, he chooses to become a seaman and this choice leads him from one adventure to the next. Crusoe eases his conscience of his betrayal against his family by expressing his rememberance of Sabbath.
8. The story of Hayy is a narrative with depth, stemming from Islamic thought and following this path.
9. It is widely unknown but the story of ‘Robinson Crusoe’ is not only about a story of a deserted island. The story continues in three volumes under the title of ‘The Adventures of Crusoe’.
10. Before ending up on a deserted island, Robinson has a colourful life. He undertakes many sea journeys from Brazil to Russia. He is taken captive by Arabs, escapes captivity and establishes plantations… Even after finding himself stranded on a deserted island, he still continues to be a selfish and oppressive individual.

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Şerif Mardin

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