What is the author saying about life and the human condition in The Swiss Family Robinson?

Expert Answers
marilynn07 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The author of The Swiss Family Robinson,Johann Rudolph Wyss (and collaborators), is saying that the human condition is basically good when removed from civilization. The practical and ingenious hard working spirit helped the family survive the island life for 10 years with no outside help.  Life is hard, but when the family works together, they are able to survive and even flourish. They are happy together, well entertained and civil to one another in the face of unhappy circumstances.

The family hides from pirates rather than signal for help when they think they might be discovered, they hang out a plague flag to fend off pirates. But this flag may have caused possible rescuers to avoide the wreck of their ship.

In this story, nature is basically good too.  Nature does no terrible harm to the family with the exception of the donkey being lost to a boa constrictor. They never lack for food, and no one becomes seriously ill from a tropical disease.  So, the human is considered to be part of nature to learn from it rather than isolated from nature and in combat with the natural elements.

It is obvious from reading this story that the author was heavily influenced by Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe and other adventure stories. The heroes of the story have fantastic luck, super-human strength, and amazing outcomes when faced with possible tragic situations.