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

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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.



Summer of My German Soldier


Bette Greene

Date Published


Meaning of the Title

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


Jenkinsville, Arkansas, during WWII.


Young Adult, Historical Fiction


Patty Bergen


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.



Point of View

First person


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


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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Radisch, Sharon. "TheBestNotes on Summer of My German Soldier". . 09 May 2017