In Summer of My German Soldier, summarize how the town is insensitive to groups of people who are different than the cultural majority.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that this becomes one of Patty's central recognitions in the story.  Patty understands that the town is insensitive to those who are different in a variety of contexts.  The first one is her own experience through her father.  Being the only Jewish family in the largely Protestant town, Patty's father demands that his heritage be put aside and that the family "blend in."  From this, Patty recognizes that the town has fundamental problems accepting those who are different. Those who dissent face social ostracizing, and conformity becomes the only reality for those who wish to not make waves and bury their own identity.  Patty sees from her mother that the poor in the town are only useful when they can spend for the rich.  Patty's mother specializes in getting poor people to spend beyond their means so that she can become more wealthy.  At the same time, the constant use of the term "poor white trash" and other expressions that demean on the grounds of class reflect the economic disparity between "the haves" and the "have nots" in the town.  Finally, Patty recognizes that her town struggles with difference in the way she is silenced and marginalized for her feelings.  It is here where Patty's development makes the largest jump, something that she recognizes in full force in the town.  It is also here where maturation for Patty will continue.

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