Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Definition: Imperatives are verbs used to give orders, commands,warning or instructions, and (if you use "please") to make a request. It is one of the three moods of an English verb (indicative, imperative and subjunctive). For example:

  • Give me that tape, please.
To make the imperative, use the infinitive of the verb without "to"
For example:

  • Come here!
  • Sit down!
To make a negative imperative, put "do not" or "don't" before the verb:
For example:

  • Don't go!
  • Do not walk on the grass.
You can also use "let's" before the verb if you are including yourself in the imperative. The negative of "let's" is "let's not".
For example:

  • Let's stop now.
  • Let's have some lunch.
  • Let's not argue
  • Let's not tell her about it.
Adults do not usually give each other orders, unless they are in a position of authority. However, adults can give orders to children and to animals. The intonation of an order is important: each word is stressed, and the tone falls at the end of the sentence:
For example:
  • Sit down now!
    * "Sit", "down" and "now" are all stressed, and the tone falls on "now".
You can use the imperative to warn someone of danger. All the words in the warning are stressed, but the last word has a higher tone than the first word:
For example:
  • Sit down now!
    * "Sit", "down" and "now" are all stressed, and the tone falls on "now".
  • Watch out!
  • Look out!
  • Don't cross!
When you give advice using the imperative, the words are stressed normally.
For example:
  • Don't tell him you're resigning now! Wait until Monday when he's in a better mood.
  • Don't drink alcohol
  • Don't eat heavy meals
You can also use the imperative to make a request, but you should use a polite word before the verb:
For example:
  • Please take a seat.
  • Please wait here.
  • Please hold the line.



Robinson Crusoe must overcome his fear in order to survive his long ordeal on the deserted island. The trial by fear begins when he runs about like a madman, scared of every shadow, and sleeps in a tree with a weapon: "fear banished all my religious hope, all that former confidence in God." He quickly realizes that he must recover his wits and reason if he is to survive.

At several points in the narrative, Crusoe is almost overwhelmed by his fear of the unknown. It propels him to colonize the island, securing his shelter and becoming self-sufficient. His ability to funnel his fear into productivity and creativity allows him to survive under extreme conditions.

Crusoe masters his fear when he faces the ultimate challenge — the devil. Investigating a cave, he is met by a pair of eyes. At first scared, he realizes that he can confront this enemy just like he has met every other challenge on the island. "He that was afraid to see the devil, was not fit to live twenty years in an island all alone."

With that, he rushes in to confront the devil and discovers a dying goat. He has passed his trial. Had he not faced his fears, he would have run away in full belief that the devil lived in that cave. Instead, he investigates and confronts his fear.

Human Condition

Robinson Crusoe is a meditation on the human condition, and an argument for challenging traditional notions about that condition. Finding himself alone in a deserted island, Crusoe struggles to maintain reason, order, and civilization. His "original sin" is his rejection of a conventional life. When he leaves England for a life on the high seas, he refuses to be "satisfied with the station wherein God and Nature hath placed" him.

Crusoe struggles with — and eventually triumphs over — nature. The book suggests that this struggle is at the heart of human nature: man is on earth to triumph and gain profit from nature. Any profit makes sense in this view of the world, whether that means getting just one plank out of a huge tree or building a boat too heavy to bring to the water. Once Crusoe is able to overcome his fear and subdue nature is rewarded handsomely.


Consistent with Defoe's writings on economics, money is an important theme in Robinson Crusoe. At the beginning of the narrative, Crusoe details how much money he has, what he does with it, and what he gains by his actions.

On the island, money loses all value. Crusoe has to find another way to measure his worth. While rummaging through a ship for salvage he laments aloud at the sight of some money, "O Drug! what are thou good for." At that point he realizes that just one knife is worth more than money. Usefulness is the key to evaluation of worth.

Crusoe's hope of returning to England is symbolized by these tokens of civilization — on the island, the money is only a reminder of his old life and he treasures it as a memento. In all of his other endeavors he freely admits his success or failure. But as a merchant, he knows that though separated from the world now, he can only reconnect with it if he has money. Once he returns to London, his old reliance on money returns.


Industrialization is defined here as a process whereby humans channel the forces of nature into the production and manufacture of goods for their economic consumption. This industrialization is Crusoe's occupation, according to his cultural background and his religion. He immediately sets out to be productive and self-sufficient on the island.

By the time of Robinson Crusoe, most villages were experiencing labor specialization. People began to buy bread instead of baking it. Thus Crusoe has to relearn many of these arts to survive. With practice, Crusoe is able to increase the level of industrialization on his island.

Crusoe has a few implements with which he is able to reconstruct a semblance of civilization as well as create more advanced technology. While building his house, he notes that every task is exhausting. In brief, he praises the idea of "division of labor" as he describes cutting timber out of trees, bringing the wood from the trees to the construction site, and then constructing his shelter. He soon devises labor-saving devices, thus increasing his efficiency and productivity.

The necessity of a sharp ax leads Crusoe to invent his own foot-powered sharpener. He has "no notion of a kiln," but he manages to fire pottery. He needs a mill for grinding his grain, but not finding a proper stone, he settles for a block of hard wood. The entire process of baking his own bread spurs a realization of how wonderful the state of human technology is.

People take the labor behind the necessities of life for granted when such items can be easily purchased in the market. Crusoe is not suggesting that people return to a world of self-sufficient households. Instead, as he goes about his Herculean tasks, like creating a simple shelf in his house, he comments that a carpenter could have finished the two-day job in an hour. Thus he appreciates the process of specialization that helps make industrialization so successful.

Robinson Crusoe

the main character of the story, he is a rebellious youth with an inexplicable need to travel. Because of this need, he brings misfortune on himself and is left to fend for himself in a primitive land. The novel essentially chronicles his mental and spiritual development as a result of his isolation. He is a contradictory character; at the same time he is practical ingenuity and immature decisiveness.


a friend/servant of Crusoe's, he also escapes from the Moors. A simple youth who is dedicated to Crusoe, he is admirable for his willingness to stand by the narrator. However, he does not think for himself.


another friend/servant of Crusoe's, he spends a number of years on the island with the main character, who saves him from cannibalistic death. Friday is basically Crusoe's protege, a living example of religious justification of the slavery relationship between the two men. His eagerness to be redone in the European image is supposed to convey that this image is indeed the right one.

Crusoe's father

although he appears only briefly in the beginning, he embodies the theme of the merits of Protestant, middle-class living. It is his teachings from which Crusoe is running, with poor suc
Crusoe's mother
one of the few female figures, she fully supports her husband and will not let Crusoe go on a voyage.

Moorish patron

Crusoe's slave master, he allows for a role reversal of white men as slaves. He apparently is not too swift, however, in that he basically hands Crusoe an escape opportunity.

Portuguese sea captain

one of the kindest figures in the book, he is an honest man who embodies all the Christian ideals. Everyone is supposed to admire him for his extreme generosity to the narrator. He almost takes the place of Crusoe's father.


one of the prisoners saved by Crusoe, it is interesting to note that he is treated with much more respect in Crusoe's mind than any of the colored peoples with whom Crusoe is in contact.

Captured sea captain

he is an ideal soldier, the intersection between civilized European and savage white man. Crusoe's support of his fight reveals that the narrator no longer has purely religious motivations.


she is goodness personified, and keeps Crusoe's money safe for him. She is in some way a foil to his mother, who does not support him at all.


the cannibals from across the way, they represent the threat to Crusoe's religious and moral convictions, as well as his safety. He must conquer them before returning to his own world.


they help Xury and Crusoe when they land on their island, and exist in stark contrast to the savages.

Traitorous crew members

they are an example of white men who do not heed God; they are white savages.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Cat technical support problems

Panda This is an actual account by a worker at a technical support and service center. One particular customer had an old console-type machine with a print head that would ride back and forth on a spiral shaft. They also had a big bushy cat who liked to sit on the edge of the printer next to the operator.

Well, one day we got a service call that said, "Cat caught in machine, come quick!"

When I arrived I saw everyone sitting around mending their various wounds, scratches and contusions. No sight of the cat. It appears that while they were running the machine the cat was twirling his tail in his usual fashion and stuck it down into the printer at the most inopportune time and got sucked in! Apparently, the cat absolutely freaked out and clawed at everyone who came close. They finally freed the cat, and to this day, the cat goes nowhere near the machine.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010



Reasoning or explaining from parallel cases. A simile is an expressed analogy; a metaphor is an implied one. Adjective: analogous. See also:



Adjectives are words that describe or modify another person or thing in the sentence. The Articlesa, an, and the — are adjectives.

  • the tall professor
  • the lugubrious lieutenant
  • a solid commitment
  • a month's pay
  • a six-year-old child
  • the unhappiest, richest man

idioms and examples

far-fetched: difficult to accept; difficult to believe.

"That story's pretty far-fetched. Nobody's going to believe it."

feel blue: feel sad and depressed.

"I'm feeling blue because I haven't had any mail except bills for a long, long time."

fire someone: dismiss someone from a job because of poor performance.

"If you continue to be late for work, the company will fire you."

feel puny: feel unwell, ill.

"Ted was feeling puny yesterday, so he decided not to go to work."

fender-bender: automobile accident.

"Traffic was really slow on the freeway this morning
because of a fender-bender in one of the westbound lanes."

for ages: for a very long time.

"Where's Marie? I haven't seen her for ages