Summer of My German Soldier

by Bette Greene

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What events or experiences in Summer of My German Soldier led to Patty's transformation?

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At the beginning of the story, Patty is a girl who is lonely and frustrated. She feels she's an outcast because of her rich, Jewish family and knows her parents view her as a failure. She feels isolated and tries to cope with her boredom and loneliness by escaping into her own world of make-believe, exaggeration, and lies.She is a patriotic young woman to her country and to her family. She struggles to fit the demands placed on her.

At the end of the story, Patty is an outcast from her country because she harbored a German POW, a treasonous act. However, she has gained an understanding of the consequences of her actions, the reality of family relationsips, and the racial prejudices of society. When it's discovered she helped Anton, her Jewish religion becomes important, and she's called a "Jew-Nazi". Her parents are also forced out of their store because of her actions.

Patty's loyalty changes to her personal loyalty to Anton, contrasted with the national and family loyalty she felt at the beginning. Her loyalty is based on her emotions and her responsibilities to Anton. This means she's disloyal to her country and to her parents, and she must decide which is more important. She learns to tell the truth and to tell her parents that she's disappointed in them and angry with them. Even though she's unaware of important facts of the world, such as the Holocaust, her growing awareness is symbolized by her waiting at the half-way house of the correctional facility.

Nothing is ever the same for Patty. In Anton, she discovers the love denied to her by her parents. He helps her to understand the world and life. She knows he truly cares for her when he tries to save her from her father's beating. The book ends uncertainly, but Patty realizes she needs to mature even more.

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