Caleb Williams and Robinson Crusoe

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The Progression of the Eighteenth Century Novel Shows How Society Takes Over the Role of God The progression of the Eighteenth Century novel charts the transformation of the role of God into the role of society. In Daniel Defoe’s early Eighteenth Century novel, Robinson Crusoe, God makes the laws, gives out the punishments, and creates the terror. By the end of the century, the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror announce to the …

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…more secularized, so do novels. Primarily, novels held the purpose of giving moral instruction, but as Caleb William shows, by the end of the century, the purpose of the novel changes. Godwin turns the novel into a means for making political statements accessible to the lower classes and eliminates all aspect of religious instruction. From Defoe to Godwin, the novel, in both its purpose and content, show dramatic change in a short amount of time.