What is the main conflict in The Summer of My German Soldier?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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There are several conflicts that arise surrounding Patty Bergen in Bette Greene's teen novel Summer of My German Soldier. The main one arises over her decision to hide the escaped German POW, Anton Reiker, after he escapes from the local prison. She feels love for the escaped prisoner, who is many years older than she; Anton obviously cares for Patty, and he kisses her before boarding the train to escape Jenkinsville; however, his actions are based primarily on the desire for freedom and the safety of his hiding place. Patty's decision eventually lands her in a juvenile facility, but it also affects her Jewish family, whose members are hounded with the taunts of "Nazi Jew" by townspeople after Patty's treasonous act is discovered. It further isolates Patty from her family, who scorn Patty after she is arrested.

Other conflicts arise between Patty and her father, who beats her when she is perceived to misbehave. Patty also feels like an outcast as a Jewish girl in rural Arkansas, which has an incredibly small number of Jewish people living in the area. There are other conflicts involving her father and his estranged parents; and with Ruth, the outspoken Negro housekeeper.

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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In the book "The Summer of My German Solider" by Bette Greene a young girl befriends a German Soldier during World War II who is imprisoned in a stateside prisoner of war camp.  The main conflict is that the girl, Patty, is a Jewish girl who is abused by her father, and she is going against everything the family believes in by accepting and later harboring Anton, the German soldier. 

Anton escapes and seeks out Patty's help.  She comes to know him as a peace loving man who is caught up in a bitter battle between the United States and Nazi Germany.  Patty is caught up in her own battle by living in a hostile and unhappy environment within her family.

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