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Does Harry fear that Patty's outsiderness will upset the family's already tenuous position in the town's hierarchy? The only other minority, a Chinese greengrocer, has been chased out already: "Our boys at Pearl Harbor would have got a lot of laughs at the farewell party we gave the Chink," comments the Sheriff, to which Patty's father laughs weakly, while the black residents of the town, who live in "Nigger bottoms," are subject to a constant level of seemingly banal persecution. We never know exactly, but we do understand that it is partly her parents refusal to love Patty — to even recognize her—that puts her in the way of Anton Reiker, the POW who, like Ruth and her grandmother, finds much in Patty to respect and like.
When Jenkinsville becomes the site for a POW camp housing German prisoners this kind of thing apparently totally happened! Patty, who is so open to the outside world she actually instinctively waves at the prisoners, is disappointed by the banal nature of the crew: "In the movies war criminals being hustled off to prison would be dramatic. But in real life it didn't seem all that important.
Not really a big deal. My stomach growled, reminding me it must be nearing lunchtime. When she meets Anton at her father's store the prisoners, put to work picking cotton, are brought in to by straw hats , she is further confused by how different he is from what she has been led to expect:. He placed six yellow pencils and three stenographic pads on the counter.
How could he have been one of those—those brutal, black-booted Nazis? Reiker laughed and for a moment, this moment, we were friends. And now I knew something more. He wasn't a bad man. Like Ruth, who likes to learn each new word from the dictionary along with Patty, or her grandfather, who praises her letters to the editor, her grandmother, who gives her money to buy books, and even Charlene Madlee, the reporter who helps Patty when it all comes crashing down, Anton is a seeker of knowledge, not a rejecter of it.
Author-subconscious alert: You can actually mark who will be Patty's friend simply by who is interested in her "words" and who rejects them. But Patty is right: Anton Reiker, the son of a historian who mocked Hitler and a devoted gardener from Manchester, is hardly the kind of conscript Himmler dreamed of. So when she finds him stumbling along the railroad tracks, having escaped from the camp, she takes him in, not caring what might happen to her family, who are a far greater danger to her than he could ever be — or to herself, all in the name of friendship.
Even Anton, like some reverse Anne Frank, now housed, clothed and fed by Patty, is perplexed — then amused — by the absurdity:. His mouth came open. I thought he knew. I guess I thought everybody knew As I nodded Yes, my breathing came to a halt while my eyes clamped shut. Suddenly, strong baritone laughter flooded the room It wasn't complicated.
Summer of My German Soldier - Encyclopedia of Arkansas
Why didn't he know? There was really only one word for it. A simple little word that in itself is reason enough. All this, baritone laughter, little-words aside, as you can imagine, does not end well. In fact, it ends about as badly as you could expect if you'd like to not know, stop reading now with Anton dead, shot by the FBI, and Patty in juvenile detention — more estranged from her family than ever, having humiliated them in the eyes of Jenkinsville, the larger Jewish community, and America as a whole beyond reason. But in the end, this does not matter, Bette Green's work is stunning not only for it's tragic proportions, but for the revelation of the great complexities of love and cruelty, and how we find them in the strangest places.
I cried about times while rereading this book, but I cried the most in two instances—when Anton, seeing Patty's father beating her, comes running out of his hiding place to protect her, and then when Ruth, who sees Anton run out, accepts that, as horrible as it is, Patty's refusal to hate will always put her in harm's way:. You hear me talking, girl?
Ruth signed like she sometimes does before tackling a really big job. Not the one from the prison camp? Her forehead crinkled up like a washboard. Yes, he's the one. They were the only Jewish family in town, a fact that influenced the plot and themes. Bette spent her formative years in Parkin before marrying Donald Greene, a physician, in and moving to Brookline, Massachusetts. Patty Bergen, the central character, is a tomboyish twelve-year-old who is out of school for the summer.
Not far from Jenkinsville is a prisoner-of-war camp holding German soldiers being used as day labor on local farms. He impresses her as kind and charming. After Anton escapes from the camp, Patty conceals him from search parties. When she is found out, her family is humiliated, and the court sends her to reform school. In the movie, she walks with Patty through downtown Jenkinsville, bravely shielding her from the ostracism of the townspeople.
The Summer of My German Soldier
A prisoner-of-war camp was actually located near Wynne, ten miles from Parkin. But Bette never aided an escaped German prisoner. Bergen, and Barbara Barrie as Mrs. The film follows the novel closely except for minor changes, mostly omissions and a few substitutions: The book concludes with Patty in reform school, but the novel ends with the dramatic walk with Ruth through downtown Jenkinsville.
The novel is valued for its poignant depiction of a young girl surviving isolation from community and family. The emotional support provided to Patty by Ruth—a black house servant in the era before civil rights in America—makes the story a powerful statement about courage and dignity in the face of alienation and adversity. Many readers have thanked her for helping them through a difficult childhood, for helping them see that they were not alone in feeling friendless or unloved. It is a journey of self-discovery and healing that includes reflections on the Holocaust.
En route, she has a coming-of-age romance with a young Frenchman. Osa, Osayimwense. Most purchases from business sellers are protected by the Consumer Contract Regulations which give you the right to cancel the purchase within 14 days after the day you receive the item. Find out more about your rights as a buyer - opens in a new window or tab and exceptions - opens in a new window or tab. Postage and packaging. The seller hasn't specified a postage method to Germany. Contact the seller - opens in a new window or tab and request post to your location.
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