How did Corrie's family come to her rescue when Karel and his fiancee visited the Beje in The Hiding Place?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Corrie's family comes to her rescue when Karel and his fiancee visit the Beje by taking care of everything so that she does "not have to do or say anything." The family directs the conversation and sees to the other niceties of hospitality, knowing that Corrie is too shocked and hurt to do these things on her own.

Corrie and Karel had once had a close relationship, and although marriage was never mentioned, in her heart, Corrie felt they had an understanding. Even though her brother Willem had warned her that Karel's family would not allow him to marry someone like her because of her social standing, Corrie still held hope that eventually, they would be united somehow anyway. Corrie and Karel had been writing one another, but Karel's letters soon started coming less and less frequently. When he shows up at the Beje to introduce his fiancee, Corrie is stunned, and the family, understanding this, steps in. Corrie, who had opened the door, thinks she must have led the couple to the parlor, but actually remembers nothing other than the fact that

"...my family came to the rescue, talking, shaking hands, taking coats, finding chairs, so that I would not have to do or say anything. Mama broke even her own record for making coffee. Tante Anna passed cakes. Betsie engaged the young woman in a discussion of winter fashions and Father pinned Karel in a corner with questions of the most international and impersonal nature."

Corrie manages to keep her composure during the half-hour Karel and his fiancee are there, and even shakes their hands and wishes them happiness when they leave. It is only then that she flees up to her own room and allows her heartbreak to express itself with tears (Chapter 3).