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Free Study Guide for Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene

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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES


CHAPTER 16


Summary

One fall afternoon Patty’s father comes home, bringing members of the FBI. Mr. Pierce, who had questioned Patty earlier in the story, begins to question her again, about her encounter with the old, hungry man around who her story is based. Patty retells her story. Mr. Pierces shows Patty a picture of Anton and asks if this is the man to who she had given the food. Patty reports that the picture does not, at all, resemble the man.

Then Mr. Pierce shows Patty the shirt that she had given her father for Father’s Day, which she had given to Anton. The shirt had a tiny tear surrounded by bloodstains. Upon seeing this, Patty lost her composure and asked Mr. Pierce if he had hurt Anton. Patty told Mr. Pierce Anton’s full name; he then reported that Anton had been shot, and killed, that morning while trying to escape arrest in New York.


Notes

Patty is very lonely now that Anton is gone. She realizes that when she turns eighteen she will be able to attend college anywhere she wants. This idea excites her and gives her something to look forward to: education and moving away from home. She suddenly feels like she has a little hope in her life.

Patty also looks forward to turning eighteen because she thinks that she will be grown up, with nice curves and long hair. Patty is becoming more concerned about her appearance, thinking that she will be able to see Anton when she is eighteen (in six years). She even prays to God that she will have long, beautiful hair and a bosom of her own for Anton to love.

When the FBI appears at Patty’s house she kisses her ring for good luck. She also compares it to being her “Bible” (175). This ring serves as a religious symbol to Patty. She believes in the ring; she believes that it will make her a better person and give her confidence and value. She claims it carries the same message as the Bible, “love thy neighbor” (175).

Patty’s father says an interesting statement in this chapter. When he brought the FBI to his house, he scolded Patty and told her to tell the FBI everything she knows. Mr. Pierce told her father to calm down and that Patty was merely a kid. Upon hearing this, Mr. Bergen’s face turned purple with anger and he said to Mr. Pierce, “...that’s no little kid, never has been, ‘cause when she was born her brain was bigger than yours is now” (177). Here it is evident that Patty’s father is very proud of her. It appears that he takes out his frustrations on her because he feels that she is so intelligent and he cannot give her what she wants. Although Mr. Bergen is a terrible and belligerent father to Patty, we now see that he is proud of her intelligence and respects her.



CHAPTER 17


Summary

The FBI has to take Patty away for a trial because she was housing a prisoner of war. Patty’s father says that he wants her taken to Memphis because he knows a lawyer there who he wants to handle the case.

Patty and her father have a fight and, as usual her father yells violently at her. Ruth becomes upset that Patty is getting scolded and defends her. Mr. Bergen becomes furious at Ruth’s interjections and fires her.


Notes

Patty tells her father that Anton treated her better than he does; this was the root of the fight between the two. Mr. Bergen is furious that Patty compared him to a Nazi. The irony of this situation is that Anton, the actual Nazi, is a better person than Mr. Bergen. This coincides with one of the themes of this story: Patty sees good, in good people; Ruth and Anton were her closest friends. During this time period, it would have been unheard of for a Caucasian person, such as Patty, to befriend a German and an African American.

Patty’s father represents the racism of society during this time also. He does not treat Ruth like a human being and he refuses to understand that a Nazi could be a good person.


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