The Swiss Family Robinson

by Johann David Wyss, Johann Rudolf Wyss

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Why does the family in The Swiss Family Robinson decide to leave the beach?

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Initially, the beach seems like a good place to stay. It's close to the water, where the Robinsons can catch fish. It also gives them a good vantage point from which to spot any other survivors from the shipwreck who may be in need of assistance. But it soon becomes clear that the beach is too exposed a location to stay there very long. The downside of being able to spot survivors is that you're also more likely to be seen by any pirates that might be in the vicinity. Moreover, low ground doesn't offer much in the way of protection from the elements or from the various dangerous wild animals that stalk the island.

The Robinsons need to think strategically. That means finding a place inland that's relatively safe and warm and can be used for storing provisions. The move from the beach is important as it shows that the Robinsons are no longer thinking about their imminent rescue. They now realize that they're in it for the long haul and so must make appropriate living arrangements.

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If you remember that the family left Switzerland to begin a new life in another place, the ship contained what they needed to start that new life.  However, when chased by pirates they crash landed on the shore, and the family needed to make critical decisions.  To erase all trace of their living place, the family needed to move off the beach, taking with them all the supplies so that the pirates would not find them.  If they were to live and survive, they needed to escape from the shore, find a place where they could not be seen from a passing ship or pirates, take all the provisions which had survived the landing, and build a home in the woods where they would be invisible from the water.  They also needed a defense system in case the pirates ever came to the island looking for them, and that they could only really build away from the beach.

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