In The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society I was upset about the way it made the reader feel about the German occupancy and WWII.At the end I got this feeling of, "Oh it wasn't so bad at...

In The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society I was upset about the way it made the reader feel about the German occupancy and WWII.

At the end I got this feeling of, "Oh it wasn't so bad at all." It's written overly sweet. Is this a good way to deal with a topic like concentration camps and the Nazi's?

Asked on by brigri

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mrs-campbell's profile pic

mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

There are so many difficult topics when the subject of the holocaust is brought up; there was so much devastation and tragedy that occurred in the concentration camps, and with WWII in general, that it is hard to ever adequately cover the topic.  The facts stand stark and horrific against the fabric of history, and no amount of writing or discussion of the topic will ever do it justice.

That being said, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society does cover a time period of German occupation on an island, and does share a few of the difficulties and trials that the people there had to face.  For example, having to say goodbye to all of your children, and hope and pray that they made it to safety.  Also, the occupation of forces on the island, and the terrible occurrences of people there that they knew and loved who were taken to the camps.  So, while the book does address these issues, it isn't the main focus of the book.  The book isn't one of depression and heartache; instead, it focuses on the inspiring example of one strong woman.  The point of the book is not to try to address in a comprehensive and serious way, the wrongs done during WWII.  The point of the book, I felt, was to tell the story of a woman who was strong, charistmatic, and positively influenced the lives of many people around her.  The fact that it occurred during WWII was more of a back-story to showcase the wonderful characters.

So, your feelings are probably accurate--the story did not focus super seriously on the war, or the many, many other atrocities that occurred during it.  But, I didn't feel that was the point of the tale.  We have to keep the puropose of the books in mind when reading them; it can help us to enjoy them for what they are.  I hope that those thoughts helped a bit!

rjking11's profile pic

rjking11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I don't think that the overly sweet nature was in relation to the German occupancy and WWII but rather attests to the strength of characters in the book showing thier fortitude and courage in dealing with thier experiences during these trying times. 

The ghastly aspects of war defies comprehension and understanding and The Guernsey LPPPS does not ask understanding but rather deals with the survival and humanity that can be maintained during incomprehendable times.

The love story between Elizabeth and her soldier also reminds us that while the German soldiers were capable of very awful inhumane acts they were also people with real feelings and emotions.  Another example of this is the German soldiers who let the potatoes fall off the cart for the children to pick up.  Interspersed throughout the story are examples of German soldiers doing things that are unexpected and kind.  It is a reminder that while they were the aggressors they were also often in the same situation of survival in a terrible situation.

I believe that the book is demonstrating an overall humanity and transcendant story of human love and survival with the back drop of WWII as the ultimate paradigm in which these themes unfold.


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