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Number the Stars

by Lois Lowry

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Discussion Topic

Annemarie and Ellen's relationship and character comparison in Number the Stars

Summary:

Annemarie and Ellen in Number the Stars share a close and loyal friendship despite their different backgrounds. Annemarie is brave, practical, and protective, while Ellen is more cautious and artistic. Their bond strengthens as they face the dangers of World War II together, showcasing their mutual support and courage.

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Compare and contrast Ellen and Annemarie in Number the Stars.

Ellen and Annemarie are similar in that they are both ten years old, go to the same school, and are Danish.  They live in the same apartment building.  Both friends have big dreams for their lives and for the future.  But they also have many differences.  Ellen is fearful about the Nazis, while Annemarie faces interactions with them with some level of bravery (which increases as the book goes on).  Ellen wants to be an actress when she grows up and she enjoys acting in school plays.  Annemarie loves fairy tales, and she recalls them throughout the book.  Ellen is Jewish, while Annemarie is Christian.  They also differ in their looks.  Annemarie is tall with light hair.  Ellen is shorter with dark hair.  In the end, Annemarie has to be the one who acts so that Ellen and her parents can escape from the Nazis.

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How are Ellen and Annemarie similar and different in Number the Stars?

In Lois Lowry's novel Number the StarsAnnemarie Johansen and Ellen Rosen are best friends. They share many characteristics and differences as well. Both girls live in Denmark during World War II. They attend the same school and are both good students, though Annemarie claims that Ellen is a better student than she is. They are not biological sisters, but they pretend to be so that Ellen won't be captured by the Nazis. Ellen and her family are Jewish. Annemarie's family are Lutherans. The Johansens agree to hide Ellen when the Nazis announce they are taking all Danish Jews for relocation. Annemarie had a sister who died, so Ellen takes on her persona, telling Nazi soldiers her name is Lise. Ellen is an only child and her parents have left Denmark to escape the Nazis.

Ellen wears a necklace with the Star of David, which identifies her as a Jew. Annemarie doesn't wear anything around her neck.

Physically, the girls are quite different. Ellen has dark hair worn in pigtails. Annemarie's hair is a silvery blond and she wears it down. Annemarie is tall and lanky, whereas Ellen is shorter and stockier.

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How are Ellen and Annemarie similar and different in Number the Stars?

Ellen is a dark-haired Jewish girl. Annemarie is a blond Lutheran. Ellen excels at dramatics while Annemarie is athletic, especially in running. Ellen is more timid than Annemarie. Ellen is an only child whereas Annemarie had two sisters. The girls live in the same apartment building but live on different floors. Ellen wears a necklace with a Star of David on it, but Annemarie doesn't have a necklace. Ellen has never seen the sea other than the harbor while her friend's uncle is a fisherman, so Annemarie gets to see the ocean quite frequently. Ellen is more of a city girl while Annemarie has visited and loved the countryside. Both girls are the same age, best friends, and attend the same school. They both were accosted by German soldiers on their way home from school while running along the sidewalk. Both will be in deep trouble in captured by the Germans; Ellen for her religion and Annemarie for her helping the Rosens escape. Both are Danish.

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What is the nature of Annemarie and Ellen's friendship in Number the Stars?

The girls are best friends in elementary school. They both live in the same apartment building, so they walk to school and back home again together. After school, they also spend much time together. The story is set during World War II, and Ellen is Jewish. It would not be safe for her to be out on the streets alone or after darkwhen Jews were under a curfew. So, the two girls spent time looking at magazines, gossiping, and role playing with the cut outs from the magazines. They frequently spend the night together as best friends of that age do. The friendship deepens when the Jews are being rounded up and Ellen assumes the identity of Annmarie's dead older sister. The Nazis did not know the details of the dead sister, so Ellen was able to pass as Lisle with a little prompting from Annmarie and her family. Later on, Ann Marie saves her best friend's life by a brave act in the face of the Nazis. Ellen's skill at acting helps Annmarie deceive the Nazis.

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