Book 2, Chapter 24

Summary:

Rolf takes over driving and immediately begins driving too fast, though Theo knows better than to say anything. Eventually, Miriam orders Rolf to slow down, concerned that the bumpy ride will be bad for Julian. Rolf begins to decelerate but it is too late, and the car blows a tire. They have a spare in the trunk but decide that they should maneuver the car into a nearby growth of trees to avoid being seen on the main road. Theo must drive the car slowly while everyone but Julian walks. By the time they are able to cross a small gully and reach the grove of trees, it is dark outside. Using a flashlight, they attempt to remove the punctured tire, but it proves more difficult than they anticipated. Their flashlight dies before they can change the tire, and Rolf declares that they will have to camp out until daylight.

Analysis:

After their talk, Theo is clearly trying to be less combative with Rolf. He does not speak up when he notices Rolf driving too fast, and when Rolf unsurprisingly causes a flat tire, Theo refrains from remarking on it. Theo even privately agrees with Rolf’s assessment that the group needs to move the car to the nearby trees before repairing it. Meanwhile, Rolf is trying to take initiative and prove himself a leader. He runs ahead of the car multiple times to plan out their route. He and Theo even work together to try to repair the tire. When the flashlight dies, everyone braces for Rolf’s explosion of anger, but he surprises them by calmly suggesting that they make camp and get some rest, showing a different side to his personality.