Summer of My German Soldier

by Bette Greene

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Did the author intend for readers to sympathize with Mr. Bergen after his beating in Summer of My German Soldier?

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Following the beating that Patty takes from her father after he catches her with Freddy Dowd, it is revealed that Anton witnessed Mr. Bergen talking to himself in the garage.

Over and over he kept repeating, "Nobody loves me. In my whole life, nobody has ever loved me."

In order to show that Mr. Bergen is not a completely one-dimensional character, and capable of some emotional regret, author Bette Greene probably did hope to cast a slightly sympathetic view upon the father--a man who can't stand not having his directions followed, and a man incapable of controlling his brutal attacks on his daughter. Mr. Bergen's bad temper. self-hatred and feeling of being unloved probably stems from his own childhood poverty. His poor upbringing has led to his obsession with money, and his violent tendencies probably began when he was young, since his own father had to often restrain him, repeating over and over "you will not be violent."

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