Number the Stars | Study Guide

Lois Lowry

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Number the Stars | Chapter 11 : Will We See You Again Soon, Peter? | Summary

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Summary

Inside the casket are blankets and clothes, which Peter Neilsen begins to distribute. There is nothing for a baby, so Mrs. Johansen gets Kirsti's red sweater and gives it to the baby's mother. Peter asks the baby's weight, and—against the mother's protest—measures a liquid into a dropper and gives the solution to her to give to the baby so the baby sleeps and won't make noise by crying. Annemarie's mother gives each person a package of food containing apples, cheese, and bread. Peter gives a package to Mr. Rosen, telling him it must get to Uncle Henrik. Mr. Rosen puts it in his pocket, but he doesn't ask what it is.

Peter takes the first group, the old man and the young couple with the baby. He instructs Mrs. Johansen to wait 20 minutes, and then bring the Rosens. After he says his goodbyes, he leaves. A bit later the old man stumbles on the path outside, and Peter helps him. Mrs. Johansen notes that all the old man injured was his pride, which causes Annemarie to ponder pride and what it means.

Analysis

The chapter further humanizes the people who are fleeing. There are young families and the elderly. Neighbors and the Rosens are there. These are not strangers, not simply faces or names who are leaving Denmark. They have lost everything material—homes, businesses, and possessions. They are accepting the help of strangers, risking their lives to go to a new country, and yet they are not defeated. They accept warm clothes and food, much as they accept the help of the Resistance to escape the Nazis.

Despite all of these dangers, they stand with strength and courage. They have not lost their pride, nor their hope or faith. Lowry represents the victimized here as resilient, stubborn, strong people. This is done, in part, by way of the Rosen family. It is also done here in this section of the novel by developing characters' personalities that are still barely known to readers, such as Peter Neilsen and Uncle Henrik. These two men are caring and sensitive, as well as committed and brave, risking their lives in the face of great danger. Mr. Rosen wonders what Peter has given him in the packet but knows he should not ask or look to see what it is. All those getting on Uncle Henrik's boat to escape to Sweden know the risks involved. Lowry's writing makes this clear.

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