Download Milkweed Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Chapters 28-30 Summary

Chapters 28-30: "Summer" (continued)

Misha continues to go through the wall every night, pilfering food for both the orphanage and his family. Although he never acknowledges her, Janina accompanies him. She follows him everywhere. The two children continue to raid the Jackboot hotel, as well as some of the finest houses in Warsaw. One night, a little boy who lives in one of these houses accosts them, and the three children spend amiable hours sitting around a table, snacking on pickled herring, sugar cookies, and milk. The boy cries when Misha and Janina leave, and they console him by promising to return, but Misha knows they never will.

Mr. Milgrom does not discover that Janina is smuggling with Misha until the night they return from their foray during a lineup. As before, the Jackboots have come in the dead of night, rousing the ghetto dwellers and forcing them to stand at attention in the courtyard. Misha and Janina manage to sneak in and find their family, but when they squeeze into the line, Mr. Milgrom pinches Janina's ear, hard. A Jackboot with a bullhorn is at the front of the formation, shouting that the people are being fairly warned, and that those who continue will be shot, or hanged. When Misha asks Mr. Milgrom surreptitiously what the officer is talking about, Mr. Milgrom replies, "You. Smugglers. You must stop now."

Misha continues to smuggle, but he does try to get Janina to stop. The next time she follows him, he tells her to go back. She refuses, and he smacks her and pushes her to the ground. Irate, she begins to holler, "Misha's going to the wall...Misha smuggles!" drawing the attention of the authorities. Misha has no choice but to allow her to come along. Knowing that Mr. Milgrom does not want his daughter to be involved with the dangerous activity of smuggling, Misha tries to rationalize his actions by not stealing food when they go into the city proper. Instead, he distracts Janina by taking her to see the merry-go-round and the great stone angel at the cemetery. Misha tells Janina that everyone has an angel hiding inside of them, and that when a person dies, his or her angel comes out to live in heaven. He tells Janina that Enos thinks heaven is right there, on the free side of the wall, while Olek says it is in "Washington America," where there is "no wall and no lice and lots of potatoes."

When the children return to the wall that night, they are astonished to see a man spouting fire out of a hose into the sewer. At sunrise, Misha rushes to the ruins where the homeless boys sleep and is relieved to find that they are all there. Enos says that the Jackboots are "cracking down" on the smugglers, and Olek explains that the fiery hose is a flamethrower. Misha comments that the fire spewed by the flamethrower is "gorgeous," its brilliant orange color providing stark contrast in a world which is otherwise nothing but gray.

One day, Misha and Janina witness the abduction of two boys...

(The entire section is 788 words.)