When Patty evaluates her life in Summer of My German Soldier, what does she decide are her losses and gains?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Patty looks at the relationships in her life and tallies up her losses and gains.  Interestingly, she looks at her father, and concludes that her situation with him adds up to a gain, although a qualified one.  She recognizes a new ingredient in the way he looks at her; it is not love, it is not quite as good as that.  Patty calls it more an attitude of respect, "respect for a person who he's incapable of destroying".  Patty's father now knows that "whatever he may say or do, (Patty is) going to survive pretty much intact".

The relationship Patty has with her mother is still not even as positive as the one she has with her father.  Patty's mother remains needy and self-centered, and she still takes every opportunity to tear her older daughter down.  The difference now is that Patty is aware of what is going on, and it doesn't affect her quite as much.  Patty's mother still has a great capacity to hurt her, but Patty has grown strong enough to not be completely devastated by her petty cruelties.  Her mother remains the same, but Patty has developed a stronger sense of self and is better able to withstand her abuses.  She concludes that her situation with her mother is a "tie score".

Patty has one loss which she must count, and that is Anton.  His leaving has left a huge void in her life; in Patty's estimation, the loss of her German soldier "far outdistance(s) any gains".

In conclusion, Patty tallies up the relationships in her life this way - "one loss, one gain, and one tie score" (Chapter 16).

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Summer of My German Soldier

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