Given the monotonous grind of daily life, a grand adventure is a concept many people may only dream about. The thought of meeting new people from different cultures, exploring an untamed wilderness, or finding long lost treasure is certainly more stimulating than the 9 to 5 grind and a weekly sales meeting. Two classic pieces of literature, "Robinson Crusoe" by Daniel Defoe, and "Treasure Island" by Robert Louis Stevenson offer readers the chance to live this fantasy vicariously through their characters. While there are many story elements which overlap, such as calamity inhibiting the search for wealth, the two books take their adventures in different directions through their starkly different tones. This comparison of Robinson Crusoe and Treasure Island will show how both tales cover a broad variety of aspects, from suspense to spirituality, and the question of human morality, providing readers with an enriching experience that transcends their daily lives.
A good place to start would be to say that both of the major plots were started through some sort of calamity. In the case of Robinson Crusoe, the calamity comes from nature. Treasure Island features a calamity from human sources. Together, the two can show readers that devastation is present in both causal and karmic actions, that is to say, both nature and humankind can lay waste to the best laid plans. The eponymous Robinson Crusoe was set on a lucrative slave gathering expedition, when a freak storm scuttles that plan (Defoe 1). Jim Hawkins was part of an expedition to follow a serendipitously obtained treasure map; a plan which is soundly derailed by the machinations of a devious pirate (Stevenson 1).
The most glaring differences between "Robinson Crusoe" and "Treasure Island" are the overall tones. The latter is a suspenseful swashbuckling adventure. The former, however, is more pensive and spiritual. In "Treasure Island", one might find a sort of wish fulfillment fantasy.