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In Chapter 1 of The Hiding Place, why do so many people of different backgrounds...

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swimchick2012 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted August 14, 2009 at 6:25 AM via web

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In Chapter 1 of The Hiding Place, why do so many people of different backgrounds like Father so much? 

Father has many friends.  Why do so many people of different backgrounds like Father so much?

The answer has to come from Chapter 1.  If you can answer this it would be amazing!!!!!!!! Thanks.

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 21, 2009 at 3:07 PM (Answer #1)

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Father is good and kind to everybody, no matter whom they are.  He is possessed of a delightful naivete in looking at people.  As Corrie says, "That was Father's secret:  not that he overlooked the differences in people; that he didn't know they were there".

In Chapter 1, the Ten Booms are celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the family watch shop, and it seems that "all of Haarlem" will be attending.  Although the party is for the shop, however, the outpouring of love and "the affection of a city (is) for Father" as much as it is in appreciation of the long-established business.  Along with relatives and friends, the "postman and the trolley motorman and half a dozen policemen from the Haarlem Police Headquarters" are in attendance, along with the Mayor of Haarlem himself.  Casper Ten Boom is beloved by all, and when children arrive, they all go "straight to Father".

Father has lived at the Beje from the time of his birth seventy-seven years earlier.  He is known in the city for his generosity and unwavering kindness and optimism.  His "gentle courtesy...disarm(s) and mellow(s)" even the most ill-tempered individuals, as exemplified by Toos, the shop's sales-lady-bookkeeper.  Toos had been unable to keep a job because of her sour nature until she "had come to work for Father".  After having gotten to know him, she has come to "(love) him as fiercely as she dislike(s) the rest of the world".

Further evidence of Father's sheer inability to see the bad side of others is his reaction to the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Kan, who own the other watch shop on the street.  The Kans' business practices are sometimes questionable, and Mr. Kan would often visit the Beje to check out the prices there so that he can undersell them.  Even so, Father refuses to think of them as "competitors", regarding them instead as "colleagues" to be valued and welcomed (Chapter 1).

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