Summer of My German Soldier

by Bette Greene

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Explain the virtues that are discussed in Summer of My German Soldier.

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I think that one of the strongest virtues that is brought out in Greene's work is the idea of tolerance.  The setting of Jenkinsville is an arena that is fraught with intolerance of all kinds.  There is racial, class based, as well as the personal intolerance of those who are different from the norm.  One of the strongest statements that the book makes in terms of virtue is how there has to be a spirit of inclusion and acceptance if a community seeks to aspire to the democratic ideals of which it is capable.  This becomes extremely important in the construction of how individuals view society and for this reason it becomes an example of a virtue that the book seeks to advocate.  Another virtue that is present in the book is the idea that the individual can rise up against society and represent an example of what should be as opposed to what is.  Patty experiences a transformation from insider to outsider.  Within this evolution and at the end of the novel, one gets the impression that Patty understands more of who she is and the extent of her society around her.  In doing so, Patty becomes a "champion" of sorts, and one that embodies the virtue of endurance and personal strength, elements that allow her to sustain the difficult times and gain some level of redemption in the process.

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