The Swiss Family Robinson
THE SWISS AMILY ROBINSO
SYNOPSIS The story is about the Robinson Family members who are shipwrecked on an island in the early 19th century. They are Mr and Mrs Robinson, their four son, Fritz, Jack, Ernest and Franz, as well two dogs, Turk and Juno. The were travelling to Australia to serve as missionaries. They found themselves off the coast of a mysterious island, where they decided to take shelter. The novel is mostly about a family’s struggle to survive in an unfamiliar environment for about ten years. Besides building a tree house for shelter, they also find plants and animals to use for food, clothing and their daily needs.
Later, the eldest son, Fritz, explores to the other side of the island on a canoe. During his exploration he finds a girl called Jenny Montrose and brought her back to his family. She was a young English woman who was shipwrecked three years ago on that same island. A few days later, they were spotted by a British ship. The captain invited all of them to return to Europe with him. Fritz and Jenny went to London, where they were married. The other three sons, Ernest, Jack and Franz continued their education in Europe, while Mr and Mrs Robinson decided to stay on the
THEME * Survival After the shipwrecked, the family had to figure out ways to survive. After they landed on the island, they looked for a place to live, food to eat, made good use materials from the ship. Throughout the years, they learn how to make the most what they had and came up with new ideas to make their life there better.
* Teamwork The Robinsons work together to build themselves a new home and a new life after landing on the island. Their teamwork led to a good life and they manage to fulfil their needs.
* Being Thankful The family was always thankful for what they had. Mr Robinson always thank God for the good things they had and taught his children to do so too.
THEME Family support and love This was demonstrated repeatedly throughout the story. They worked and lived as a united and happy family. They had a good relationship and love each other very much. Mr and Mrs Robinson kept saying how blessed they were to have such helpful and caring sons.
THEME Perseverence The Robinson worked hard to build themselves a new home, especially when building Falconhurst. The house in the tree protected them during the rainy season and when they were chased by the cape buffaloes. They also worked hard to tend to their livestock and garden which provided them with food throughout the years on the island.
THEME * Faith in God The family was on their way to Australia to become missionaries when they were shipwrecked. Their faith in religion and God help them to survive as they believed God would help them in whatever they do.
CHARACTERS * Mr Robinson He is a narrator of the story. A loving husband and father of four sons. He is religious, resourceful and knowledgeable. He is strong, brave, wise and God-fearing. He takes care of his family very well and manages to utilise what he finds in the shipwrecked and also around the island to build a home for his family. He also, recognises many species of plants and animals. He accepts his fate and makes the most of his situation. At the end of the stories, he chooses to remain on the island with his wife while his sons return to Europe.
CHARACTERS * Mrs Robinson A brave and hardworking woman. She is always by her husband’s side and assists him in his ventures. She is a loving mother and concern. When the family home, Falconhurst was built, she was worried that the rope ladder at the entrance was unsafe for the children. She was eventually proven right. She also prepared the family meals.
* Fritz Robinson The eldest son of the Robinson family. He is his father’s right-hand man and a very responsible person. He is brave and isn’t afraid of the unknown. A skilled engineer and builder, he contributes greatly in the family’s effort to make the island their new home. He was determined to explore the island completely, and built a canoe by himself in order to achieve that purpose. Eventually, he meets and rescues Jenny Montrose. At the end of the story, he leaves the island to marry her in London.
* Ernest Robinson The second son of the Robinson family. He is also brave and adventurous. He often ventures out on his own to make important discoveries on the island. He discovered the cave of rock salt, which the family used for storage.
* Jack Robinson The third son. His character and personality isn’t developed widely in the story and he role is of his mother’s helper. When the family arrived on the island, he made fishing poles with his younger brother and used them to catch fish for their meal. He also alerted his family when the rain stopped.
CHARACTERS * Franz Robinson The youngers Robinson son. Being the youngers his role in the story is very limited. He was chased by a lobster when they first arrived on the island, and make fishing poles with his older brother. He finds a beehive in the trunk of the tree in which the family home was built. This discoveries let to the stairwell being built to replace the rope ladder.
CHARACTERS * Turk and Juno The Robinsons’ pet dogs. They were initially the mascots of the ship on which the Robinson were travelling. Mr Robinson and his sons saved them from the shipwrecked and brought them to live on the island where they enjoy roaming around guarding the livestock. Sadly Juno is killed by the boa constrictor that also preyed on the Robinsons’ livestock.
CHARACTERS * Jenny Montrose A young English girl. She was shipwrecked while travelling from India to England to meet her grandfather and ended up on another part of the island, near a volcano. She sent a note asking for help by attaching it to the leg of an albatross. Fritz find the note and rescues her. They fall in love and eventually got married in England.
MORAL VALUES We must never give up in whatever we do The Robinson looked for away to save themselves and they were shipwrecked and found ways to survive on deserted island. Not once did they give up. * In order to live well, you must learn to cooperate with the people around you Look at how the Robinsons cooperate to build themselves a new home and a new life. Through their cooperation, they succeeded.
MORAL VALUES * One must always seek God’s help in times of trouble and thank God for the good things He has given us. Mr Robinson always felt blessed for what he and his family had been given. The Robinsons’ strong faith in God sustained throughwhat their happens difficulties. *them No matter to you in life, it is important to accept what life has given you and make the most of it. Even though the Robinsons were involved in a tragedy, they were thankful that they were alive and managed to built a new life by using what was available from the ship
* Family is very important Throughout the story, the Robinsons were always helping each other and were supportive of each other as a family. They lived harmoniously together and each family member always acted for the benefit of the family. You must love your family members always, no matter where * Determination you are. They never gave up. When you set your mind on a goal, determination will help you succeed.
MORAL VALUES * Be creative In times of need, we need to be creative in order to survive or get ourselves out of trouble. The Robinsons’ creativity and enabled them to think of ways to make the things they used to enjoy previously in their home country. For example, they made flour from roots instead of wheat. The flour was turned into bread, food they enjoy back in Switzerland.
* Exposition (Beginning) The Robinsons were on their way to Australia from Switzerland when they were shipwrecked. The crew abandoned the ship and left the Robinsons to save themselves. Luckily they managed to build a raft and rowed to the nearest island.
PLOT * Rising Action (Conflict) On the island, they built a new life and manage to get by with items they saved from the ship and whatever they found on the island. They overcame difficulties and problems by working together. They had many adventures and the most frightening was the battle boa constrictor.
PLOT Climax ( The most exiting event) Fritz, in secret, built a canoe. On his first trial to test out the canoe, he found a message tied to the leg of an albatross. The message was from a shipwrecked girl. He went to look for the girl and found her on the different part of the island, near the volcano. He took her, Jenny, back with him to his part of the island.
alling action ( What happened after the climax One day, the Robinsons sighted a ship. When they saw a Union Jack flying, they send a signal to the ship. The captain of the ship came to show to meet them and invited them to return to Europe with him.
PLOT * Resolution At the end of the story, the Robinsons decided to go their own ways. Fritz planned to marry Jenny in England. The three younger brothers wanted to go to schools in Europe while the parents decided that they were happy to remain on the island.
ACTIVITIES PRE, WHILE,POST ANSWERS
QUESTIONS (LOTS) Write ‘T” for true and “F” for the statements. 1. Jack runs after Juno into the woods. 2. A manioc root can be used to make flour. 3. Ernest finds a cave of rock salt on the island. 4. A tiger prowls in the pen during the rain at night. 5. A large lobster tries to attack Jenny on the island.
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A. won’t do anything he demands he can do it himself B. 3 years C. mixed poison with milk, hung with coconuts too high for animals to reach D. by chasing on horseback or stratagem-run around them till they are tired E. jackals
Why does father refuse to make goggles for Jack? (2 reasons) How long had Jenny been stranded on the island? How did the natives in Africa capture ostriches? What attacked the dogs during the night? How did the boys try to rid of the monkeys?
Matching questions •
Characters and characteristics
William – The father. He is the narrator of the story and leads the family. He knows a great deal of information on everything from roots to hunting, demonstrating bravery and self-reliance.
Elizabeth – The mother. She is intelligent and resourceful, arming herself even before leaving the ship with a "magic bag" filled with supplies, including sewing materials and seeds for food crops. She is also a remarkably versatile cook, taking on anything from Porcupine Soup to Roast Penguin.
Fritz – The oldest of the four boys, he is 15. Fritz is intelligent but impetuous. Fritz is the strongest and accompanies his father on many quests.
Ernest – The second oldest of the boys, he is 13. Ernest is the most intelligent, but a less physically active boy, often described by his father as "indolent". Like Fritz however, he comes to be an excellent shot.
Jack – The third oldest of the boys, 11 years old. He is thoughtless, bold, vivacious, and the quickest of the group.
Franz (sometimes translated as Francis) – The youngest of the boys, he is 8 years old when the story opens. He usually stays home with his mother.
Emily Montrose (called Jenny in the original German text) – An English girl found on Smoking Rock near the end of the novel. She is shy, but soon is adopted into the family.
Nip (also called Knips or Nips in some editions) – An orphan monkey adopted by the family after their dogs have killed its mother. The family use him as a test subject for unfamiliar foods.
Fangs – A jackal that was tamed by the family.
Based on the story, describe Mr. Robinson’s characteristics in six words.
• Does the oldest son in the Swiss family Robinson get along with his siblings • Which character in the story that changed the most? • List four advantages of living on the island? • How did the father apply creativity in getting the oysters open?
Chapter 1 •
Questions: 1. The first sentence of the first chapter begins, “For many days we had been tempest-tossed.” How many days? 2. What were the names of the four sons in the family? 3. What was the one thing that brought comfort to the family during the storm? 4. When the storm was over and each family member went to get what might be most useful for them to escape with, where did each family member head? Do you think this says something of what their characters might develop into later in the story? 5. What was the first thing the family did after reaching shore? 6. What scared Jack so badly in the tidal pool? 7. What convinced father that they were near the equator?
Chapter 2 •
1. What did the family have for breakfast the first day on the island? 2. What did father insist on searching for any sailors that may have been washed ashore when those same sailors had abandoned them in the storm? 3. How did father use the monkeys to get coconuts? 4. What unusual bird did the family have for their dinner? 5. The second breakfast was much less sumptuous than the previous dinner. Ernest brought something back from the shore. What was it? 6. What did father and Fritz chose to bring back from the ship? 7. How did father and Fritz get the animals from the ship to the shore?
Chapter 3 •
1. Explain how Jack made the dogs their collars. 2. Why did mother allow the boys to carry guns on their expedition? [Note: some answers may vary based on personal opinion, but the one in the book is that father taught all of the boys at a very young age how to handle firearms.] 3. Describe the “wood” that mother and the boys investigated. What was peculiar about these woods? 4. Why weren’t the dogs hungry and begging for food as they had been? 5. What happened to the shark that was shot in chapter two? 6. How did the father and his sons determine if they had enough wood to build their bridge? 7. Why do you think father gave the boys a reminder of safety precautions? [Answer: one possible answer is the cliché “familiarity breeds contempt” which means the boys were becoming comfortable in their new surroundings and that father wanted to remind them that they must still remember to be cautious at all times.] 8. What is a nomad and why did Ernest say that his family reminded him of one? 9. What uses were the porcupine and ocelot put to use? 10. How did father tame the flamingo?
1. Explain how Jack made the dogs their collars.
2. Why did mother allow the boys to carry guns on their expedition? [Note: some answers may vary based on personal opinion, but the one in the book is that father taught all of the boys at a very young age how to handle firearms.] 3. Describe the “wood” that mother and the boys investigated. What was peculiar about these woods? 4. Why weren’t the dogs hungry and begging for food as they had been? 5. What happened to the shark that was shot in chapter two? 6. How did the father and his sons determine if they had enough wood to build their bridge? 7. Why do you think father gave the boys a reminder of safety precautions? [Answer: one possible answer is the cliché “familiarity breeds contempt” which means the boys were becoming comfortable in their new surroundings and that father wanted to remind them that they must still remember to be cautious at all times.] 8. What is a nomad and why did Ernest say that his family reminded him of one?