How do Mr. Bergen and Grandpa relate to each other in "The Summer of My German Soldier"?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mr. Bergen doesn't like Grandpa.  Patty doesn't quite understand why, but she believes it has something to do with the fact that, when Mr. Bergen married Mrs. Bergen, Grandpa didn't give him a job in his business, even though that business was large enough to employ many people.  This may be true, but it appears that the root of the problem is Mr. Bergen's pride - he is sensitive about having been poor, and frustrated at not having been able to make it on his own.  Grandpa lent Mr. Bergen the money to go into business, and instead of being grateful, Mr. Bergen is resentful, he "hates having needed (him)".  The thinly veiled, underlying tension between the two men is evident when they greet each other in Chapter 2.  Mr. Bergen jokes, "'How are you, Boss-man'...(he) asked, without shaking hands.  'Tell me when you poor folks...are going to be able to afford some sidewalks'".   Grandpa replies, "'Soon as my rich son-in-law lends me the money'".

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Summer of My German Soldier

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