Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua Facultad de Filosofía y Letras Passengers as a Robinsonade

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Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua

Facultad de Filosofía y Letras

Passengers as a Robinsonade

Thabata Patricia Sanchez Escobedo


XVIII British Literature

Carmen Salazar

Passengers as a Robinsonade

Robinson Crusoe was first published on 25 April in 1719 by Daniel Defoe (Wikipedia, 2020). It tells the story of a man who is trapped in an island alone and does everything he can to survive. This story sounds very much alike to the 2016 film Passengers (Wikipedia, 2020), a movie in which a man, after the ship he was travelling to a new planet starts to malfunction, is trapped inside of it and condemned to die, so he does everything he can to survive. In this essay, I will compare three elements that make the movie Passengers a new version of the classis Robinson Crusoe.

First, after a time had passed, Robinson found himself writing a journal. He said that he did it “not so much to leave them to any that were to come after me - for I was likely to have but few heirs - as to deliver my thoughts from daily poring over them, and afflicting my mind” (p. 20). Similar to the movie Passengers, Jim discovered a robot named Andrew who could talk and respond properly to his questions. After a time had passed, Jim started to see him all days of the week to tell him how he feels, what he thinks. Thus, both characters had their own way to deal with his loneliness: Robinson wrote a diary and Jim talked to the robot.

Second, both characters had a moment in which they considered the possibility of killing themselves. While Robinson only wrote about it and never actually attempted to do it, Jim started to live without caring about his health or mental condition, and it ended up in him almost killing himself as we can see it in the scenes from 24:01 to 24:41.

The last element that appears in both works is the representation of Aurora as Friday. In Robinson Crusoe, Robinson started to obsess himself with the idea of finding another human being since he saw the foot prints in the sand. He said that coming back to his habitation, he was feeling nothing “but terrified to the last degree, looking behind me at every two or three steps, mistaking every bush and tree, and fancying every stump at a distance to be a man,” (p. 23) demonstrating his fascination and the beginning of his obsession of knowing that there seemed to be another human being on the island. Similar to that, in Passengers, after Jim saw Aurora for the first time, he began to look for the interviews she did, and when the thought of waking Aurora up came to his mind, it became worst. Both characters could not sleep that night. Moreover, when Robinson found out that there were another man in the island, and saw Friday in danger, he decided to help him. Friday was at first scare of him, doubting. This is something that happened with Aurora when she found out that Jim wake her up in purpose. She was terrified of what he did and that he trusted him. Furthermore, when Friday understood that Robinsons saved him, Friday “kneeled down again, kissed the ground, and laid his head upon the ground, and taking me by the foot, set my foot upon his head,” (p- 26) accepting to be Robinson’s slave. Regarding Aurora, when Jim saved her and the other passengers of dying, she understood that he was not enemy and that he was a good person after all, and kissed him as soon as he wake up as we can see at the end of the movie. Both Friday and Aurora became docile and obedient when someone saved them, and decided to spend the rest of their lives with the person who saved them respectively.

In conclusion, the movie Passengers is another one of many works which story is similar to the one of Robinson Crusoe. It depicts three significant elements that are found in the novel: a way of relieving the characters feelings and thoughts as they ended up by their own, thinking of killing yourself, and a character who decides to spend his/her life with the person who save him/her.


Salazar Palmer, M. C. 18th Century Literature. (n/d). Retrieved from https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ot7hiFJ2em2TP3FUr90CjHMo7Bgz8Cp5RVaN1ferqhc/edit

Tyldum, M. (2016). Passengers [Film]. Start Motion Pictures.

Wikipedia. (2020). Passengers (2016 film). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passengers_(2016_film)

Wikipedia. (2020). Robinson Crusoe. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robinson_Crusoe
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