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

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SYMBOLISM / MOTIFS / SYMBOLS

The major symbolism throughout the story resides in the ring that Anton gave Patty. Although Patty frequently asks requests from God, it does not appear that she is very religious and faithful to the Jewish religion. It seems that Patty believes in a God, but that she does not devoutly practice one religion. This is also noted when Patty asks if she can attend Baptist Camp. Patty does not have much faith or belief in anything, including herself; which is understandable given her torturous home life.

When Anton gives Patty his ring it symbolizes his love for Patty, and how valuable he thinks she is. For Patty, this ring serves as her confidence and belief in herself. She treats the ring like a religious symbol: she wears it around her neck, touches it, kisses it and talks to it, just like Ruth does her cross. Patty feels that as long as she has this ring, she can do anything, and be confident with herself. When she does not have the ring in her possession we can see a change in her personality and the way she feels about herself. It is almost as if she reverts back to her self-conscious personality without the ring; without it she loses her confidence and belief in herself.


KEY FACTS

Title

Summer of My German Soldier

Author

Bette Greene

Date Published

1973

Meaning of the Title

The “German Soldier” refers to Anton. Anton is the escaped POW who Patty befriends and secretly houses in her hideout.

Setting

Jenkinsville, Arkansas, during WWII.

Genre

Young Adult, Historical Fiction

Protagonist

Patty Bergen


Antagonist

The antagonist of the story is the character that challenges the protagonist. In this story there are several but the most important antagonists are Patty’s parents, Pearl and Harry Bergen.

Mood

Somber

Point of View

First person

Climax

The Climax takes place when Patty is being interviewed by the FBI agent. He shows her a picture of Anton and his bloody shirt and we know Patty is going to get caught for sheltering Anton and that he is dead.

Major Theme

Race and Ethnicity, Inner Beauty

Minor Themes

Racism, Love


VOCABULARY


Saboteurs -
someone who commits sabotage and deliberately causes wrecks; a member of an organization who tries to help a potential invader.

Nazi - member of the National Socialist German Workers' Party, founded in Germany around 1919 and brought to controlling power in the 1930s by Adolf Hitler.


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