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The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss is a story about a family who are shipwrecked on an uninhabited island.
The ship was being tossed by angry waves. The whole crew and captain had deserted their ship only to perish to the sea. The only ones remaining on board was the Robinson family. When the storm was over, they discussed about how to get to shore. After much thinking, they built a sort of raft big enough for the family of six, taking with them things that could be of use. Once on shore, they began to search for food and made up somewhere to sleep. The next day, Father and the eldest son, Fritz, went into the forest to explore the island further. They found food like sugar cane, potatoes, and figs. Father, Fritz and two other sons, Ernest and Jack, built a sort of tree house for the family to sleep. Father and Fritz went back to the wreck for supplies and took with them all the animals they had left on board. The two dogs, which they named Juno and Turk, would be guard dogs, the cow would be good for milk, the sheep for wool, the donkey for travel and the chickens for eggs. The family soon learned that there were other animals on land for they had to hunt for food. There were penguins, lobsters, oysters, agouti, monkeys, and jackals. Fritz took a baby monkey and named him Knips and Jack took a young jackal, who he named Fangs. Mother planted roots for lemon, apple, and pear trees.
The more the Robinsons explored the woods, the more they found things that would make life easier. They soon discovered some kind of wax berries which they melted and made into candles. They even found a huge salt cavern! The cavern was big enough for them and their supplies, so they moved in, for the rainy season was coming fast. They built stables for their animals, a canoe, and a loom for Mother. The Robinsons were very creative. They made the worst situation into something good and before they knew it, they had spent ten years living on that deserted island! They knew the island like the back of their own hands and Father and Mother watched their sons grow into manhood, as they too got older.
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One day when Fritz was out fishing, he came across an albatross. And tied to the bird’s leg was a message asking someone to rescue an Englishwoman from the smoking rock. Fritz told only his father about the message and they agreed not to tell the rest of the family, as to not raise any hopes of returning to civilization. Father agreed for his son to go find the woman, but when Fritz was gone for almost five days, Father and the rest of the family went to go find the missing Robinson. As they came across another island they had only visited once, they fired a gun to see if there were any answer. They then saw a dark native man and were alarmed but learned that it was Fritz who had disguised himself, not knowing if it was a pirates shot. Fritz had found the English girl, named Jenny, on an entirely different island of which the Robinsons knew nothing about! Jenny had been stranded on an island for three years when her ship wrecked as well, she being the only survivor. Her father had been in another ship which had reached its destiny. Father and Mother accepted her as their own and they all started off toward New Switzerland, as they called their island.
It was only a few months later that after the family and Jenny had finished their day of work, they fired off their guns as a shout of triumph, that from somewhere on the island came three gunshots, as though in answer. Father and Fritz got inside their canoe and went the way the shots were heard and sure enough, their was a ship with the English flag! They did not go to meet them, but returned home with the news and all agreed to greet the ship when they were all presentable. Two days later, they were ready. The Robinsons and Jenny sailed to the English ship and were happily greeted by the ship’s crew and Captain Littlestone. It so happened that the reason the ship was at sea was to search for Jenny, for her father had never truly believed she was dead. The family feasted with all aboard the ship and the next evening, all on the ship feasted at the Robinson’s home.
Father and Mother had a long discussion about whether they wanted to go back to Switzerland. They decided that neither one of them thought it was God’s will for them to return but to stay on the island, New Switzerland, and that two of their sons should leave to Switzerland. The next day they told the captain their decision and were surprised to find out that three of the passengers on the ship wanted to stay on the island! Father and Captain Littlestone agreed that a colony would be established on the island. Mother and Father let their sons decide which two of them would stay and who would go. Ernest and Jack decided to live their lives on the island with their parents, who were pleased, while Fritz and Franz would leave to Switzerland. Jenny would be leaving as well to return to her father, but she did not know that Fritz would ask for her hand in marriage. Father and Mother gave their blessings to their darling sons. Being the last time the united Swiss family Robinson would be together, they had a huge feast and invited the whole English ship. And all who were there that night gave three cheers for New Switzerland.
This book has a lot of meaning. It shows how a family helped each other survive during a hard time. This book has shown me that we should all help each other survive through the hard times. I would recommend anyone who can read, to read this book.