Chapters 25-27 Summary
Chapters 25-27: "Summer"
The long months of deprivation in the ghetto have taken their toll on Janina. She no longer wears bows in her hair or socks on her feet, and her shoes are muddy scraps. Janina cries a lot and is prone to fits of temper. She frequently demands unreasonably that her mother make her favorite food, pickled eggs, but Mrs. Milgrom remains unresponsive on the mattress, facing the wall.
On their nightly forays out of the ghetto to search for food and smuggle it back in from the other side, Misha simply squeezes through the two-brick-wide hole in the wall, but the other boys must find alternate means of escape. Kuba uses thick coats to cover the barbed wire atop the wall, and hauls himself over and back with the help of Big Henryk. Enos, Ferdi, and one-armed Olek make the odious trek through the sewers. One night, when Misha approaches the wall to slip through the hole, Janina is there waiting for him. Although he tries to deter her, Janina insists on going with him. Because she is even smaller than he is and so is able to fit through the opening too, there is nothing he can do to stop her.
An establishment with a blue neon sign in the shape of a camel is Misha's favorite location to forage for food. The place is a "hotel for Jackboots," and Misha is able to get into the food cellar by pushing open one of the small windows and squeezing between the iron bars that protect it. On this particular night, Janina follows him. Though she has not brought a sack like Misha has, she immediately begins to search for pickled eggs. Unable to find any, she looks for Misha, who has filled his sack and is treating himself to some peaches stored in a jar of syrup in the corner of the room. Janina demands some peaches, and when Misha at first refuses, she screams petulantly, "I'm hun-greee!" Her cry is heard by an employee of the hotel, and the two children hide as someone comes down the stairs into the cellar, pauses for a while, then fortunately retreats. Hauling Janina along with him, Misha climbs back out of the window and returns to the ghetto. When he stops at the orphanage to drop off half of the contents of his sack, Janina asks him what he is doing, and Misha replies that he is "feeding the orphans." Janina retorts that he is supposed to be feeding her family, and he snaps back, "I feed whoever I want to feed."
Misha visits the boys the next day and finds Big Henryk holding Kuba upside down by the ankles while Ferdi pounds Kuba's backside with a large bone. Each time Ferdi strikes, a blizzard of lice fall from Kuba's head. When Kuba is finished, he cordially invites Misha to take a turn. As Misha is being beaten, with a book inserted into the back of his pants so that he will not be hurt, Janina, who now seems...
(The entire section is 766 words.)