In Summer of my German Soldier, what is some of the irony besides the obvious?In Summer of my German Soldier, what is some of the irony besides the obvious?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the most elemental statement of irony in the novel is how the town persecutes Anton because he is a Nazi.  This is because Nazism is shown to be associated with racism, discrimination, and human cruelty.  Yet, I think that Jenkinsville is ironic in its condemnation of him as the town practices much of the same thing.  Patty's father has to "play down" the family's Jewish heritage in order to blend in.  Ironic, considering that America was seen as the moral opposite of Nazi Germany, yet the same reality confronts people who are Jewish.  The town has nothing but disdain for African- Americans, reflected in how Ruth is perceived as "uppity."  Poor people are viewed as "trash," and this is ironic because there are distinctions in Jenkinsville society that are similar to Nazi Germany.  There is a general feeling of social isolation and exclusion, traits that are commonly associated with the Nazis.  When Patty's affair with Anton is revealed, this isolation results in the labeling and targeting of the family as "Jew- Nazi," the very same name calling and public targeting that defined Germany under Nazism. I think that these become the major ironies in the town setting.  These might be obvious, but I think that each of them uniquely shows how morally and ethically wrong the town is for its hatred of Anton, when it, ironically, demonstrates many of the same tendencies in coping with differences.

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Summer of My German Soldier

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