What was the difference between the reformatory and any other three- story bricked house in Summer of My German Soldier? What did the reformatory look like?
Needless to say, the Arkansas Reformatory for Girls in Bolton, Arkansas was not the same as any other three-story brick building. First of all, Patty was not there voluntarily; she had to serve a four month minimum sentence. There were rules: The door to Patty's room must always be left open, no cigarettes, no shoes on the bed. A wake-up bell signalled the start of each morning. She had to share her room with another inmate. But the reformatory had a chapel, cafeteria, day room and a visitors' room, and Patty had plenty of time to reflect upon her future when she was released. But the biggest difference was what she saw on the night that she arrived.
In the darkness it looked no different from any other three-story brick. No! There was something different. The windows were covered, all covered, with diamond-shaped, heavy wire screening. At the Memphis Zoo they use the same kind of screening for the animals.