The most amazing attribute of Corrie Ten Boom, the author, central character, and narrator of The Hiding Place, is her complete ordinariness. Born the youngest of four children in the late 1890s, Corrie is middle-aged and unmarried in the years before the second world war. Feisty and intelligent, her persona is firmly grounded in her Christian beliefs. She has a remarkable propensity for taking things as they come, no matter how disagreeable, and responding as needed, firm in the knowledge that the ultimate result rests in the hands of an omnipotent God.

Corrie is deeply human, humbly seeking the advice of those more knowledgeable when there are things she does not understand. When Karel, the one love of her life, throws her aside for another, her father counsels her to ask God to teach her to love the boy with a perfect love that asks nothing in return. In following this directive, Corrie finds solace, even though she knows Karel is forever out of reach, and that for her, there will never be another. Corrie never seeks to be a heroic figure as an active participant in the underground, but when circumstance requires it, she responds in love, doing what needs to be done. Gifted with an astute business sense, she allows her talents to be used to save others, following the lead of more experienced individuals to establish connections and organize, efficiently managing to secure hundreds of extra ration cards and other necessities to minister to those in her family's care. When the inevitable consequences of her actions result in dehumanizing incarceration, first in Holland and ultimately in the notoriously barbaric concentration camp at Ravensbruck, Corrie continues to struggle on, one day at a time, outwitting the system to smuggle in a small Bible and vitamins, ever on guard for the well-being of her sister Betsie and the others imprisoned with them.

Corrie derides herself at times for harboring feelings of anger and bitterness towards the unspeakably cruel people and situations she encounters throughout her ordeal. She strives to live up to her creed, but must be constantly vigilant to meet the standards she has resolved to uphold despite her intensely passionate nature. Though she struggles inwardly, her closeness to God is evident to others and influences their lives, as is illustrated by the Gestapo Lieutanant at Scheveningen, who is so amazed at the tranquility she maintains even though her earthly fate rests on the caprices of his own tortured soul. When she is released from Ravensbruck and the war finally comes to an end, Corrie is overcome with restlessness, and discovers that she is unable to slip back into her former life at the Beje. Following the urgings of her heart, she devotes the remainder of her life to sharing the story of God's faithfulness through the darkest of days, so that it might be an inspiration to others.


(The entire section is 1169 words.)