The Swiss Family Robinson Study Guide

The Swiss Family Robinson By Johnathan David Wyss

A new world of adventure and knowledge reveals itself to a Swiss family shipwrecked on an uninhabited desert island. The become closer to one another, bonding over the experience of facing the formidable challenges of island life.

Their first task upon being shipwrecked is to rescue as much material from the ship as they can. They mistakenly think only of their present needs, and fail to collect important items for future use such as salt - without which, the meat they hunt goes bad over the long, wet winter. They also build a tree house in the wrong place and cannot keep warm and dry.

They learn quickly, however, and they make the changes they need to make to survive. They move to a house built in a cave, and begin collecting salt; they also build huts and collect seeds to start a garden, the better to survive the next winter with.

The island they live on, luckily for them, seems to have everything they need to survive. They find bamboo, plants from which they can make paper and cloth, buffalo, and plenty of salt to preserve their food with. They even learn to dive for oysters, some of which bear pearls that they believe may someday make them rich.

The only thing they don't find is another living person -- until the eldest son, Fritz, gets brave enough to explore the sea and discovers another nearby island which has another shipwreck victim on it. Jenny was on her way to meet her father when her ship went down. She has faith that her father will eventually find her, and sure enough, eventually he does. Fritz and Jenny return to the mainland - but the rest of the family, having adapted to island life, decides to stay.

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