How did the mother occupy herself while the tree house was being built?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Johann David Wyss's The Swiss Family Robinson is the story of the Robinson family who survive a shipwreck and are marooned onto a nearby island. The family quickly sets about preparing themselves to survive on the island, beginning with finding food, building temporary shelter, and finding supplies on the ship and around the island.

While the men build the tree house, Mrs. Robinson spends her time taking care of domestic needs. She makes dinner for the family and finds ways to use parts of the animal, a porcupine, for other household uses, such as sewing needles.

As the house grew higher in the trees, Mrs. Robinson created harnesses for the animals and attached them to a pulley system to help hoist supplies up into the house. She also wrangles the animals and decides the best ways to use and breed them so that they will flourish on the island.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

While the tree house was being built by the male members of the family, the wife was engaged in work of her own. First of all, she was involved in preparing dinner, utilizing the porcupine which would also be put to additional use in terms of its quills being repurposed for needles. Later, the wife began to put together harnesses for the ass and cow, which would be used as part of a kind of pulley system to hoist the various materials up into the tree for the purpose of building the house in its branches. She was successful in making two complete sets of functional harnesses, to the delight of her husband, and also helped in the construction of the house itself by tying the pulleys to the correct places and helping in the transportation of materials from ground to bough level.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial