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The Swiss Family Robinson Research Papers

The Swiss Family Robinson, written by Johann Wyss and published in 1812, continues to captivate readers of all ages. It is the elaborate tale of a shipwrecked family and their triumph over the misfortune that has befallen them.

Facts to include in your introduction of a research paper on The Swiss Family Robinson are as follows:The Swiss Family Robinson

  • Written by Johann David Wyss
  • Published first in 1812
  • The main characters are:
    • Fritz
    • Ernest
    • Elizabeth
    • Jack
    • The Father

Written in the voice of the father, Mr. Robinson, this classic piece of fiction contains page after page of high drama, sound, color and smell.

The Swiss Family Robinson begins even as the family’s voyage at sea is ending. Tossed in a violent storm their ship comes aground on a reef off the shore of an unknown island. The unexplained desertion of the ships crew on the only life- boats available leaves the Robinson family alone and stranded on the disabled ship.

From this point on Mr. Robinson, his wife and their four young boys Franz, Fritz, Jack and Ernest begin the adventure of their lives. And it is clear from the start that their status as castaways is not as bad as it might be. The ship, having sailed with goods to be delivered to a new colony carried all the necessities of life. Building a makeshift raft, the family Robinson makes for shore and the island that would be their home for many years.

The Swiss Family Robinson details at great length the challenges the Robinson family face as they attempt to recreate the comforts of home. The family sets about constructing a dwelling place with great energy and obvious expertise. And apparently one home was not enough. Throughout the years they build other homesteads on the island, giving them names like Tentholm, Falconhurst, Rockburg, and Woodlands plantation.

Eating is a very important ritual in the Robinson’s family life. Once ashore, lobster bisque is the first meal for the hungry landlubbers and throughout the book Mother appears more than happy to cook gourmet meals with food from the ship or gathered in the wild. Exotic foods like guava, coconut figs, iguana, herring and oysters are all included in the island menu.

Which brings us to author Wyss’ apparent fascination with animals. Mr. Robinson displays surplus knowledge of animal species (it is surprising however that in chapter nine “papa” could not name what was obviously a duck-billed platypus). He and the boys display particular joy in the capture and slaughter of animals, often for no reason other than sport. Monkeys, bears, giant snakes, jackals, hyenas, ostriches and flamingoes are only a few of the seemingly limitless variety of wild creatures encountered by the Robinson family. Many of these animals, unlikely to be domesticated in the real world, were tamed as pets for the boys. This preoccupation with animals is unnerving at times but definitely adds a “savage” flavor to the story.

It is really not surprising that when rescue comes not everyone is eager to leave. Why should they abandon the “fantasy island” they had worked so hard to create? In the end only Franz and Fritz join the rescue ship on its voyage to England along with Jenny Montrose the daughter of a British officer, another shipwreck victim discovered late in the story. It would have been interesting had this young and pretty castaway entered the story earlier but I imagine author Wyss didn’t want to touch on the adventures her presence might have generated. The rest of the family remains behind to live out there lives in their ”New Switzerland”.       

The story lines are a bit contrived at times. Reading Wyss’ account of the Robinson family exploits is often like sharing notes with the producer of an adventure movie. Every scene is set, all the characters are in place and when the lighting and sound are just right, Mr. Wyss says “action”. While the embellished wording guarantees the reader feels they have been castaway themselves, the extreme detail does become tedious at times. Still it is never boring. Perhaps this is why it will continue to be read to little ones in need of dream material before they fall off to sleep.

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