Summary and Analysis Chapter 16

 

Summary

Vianne and Sophie learn that the Fourniers’ butcher shop has been taken from them because they are Jewish. Sophie objects to this injustice, but Vianne silences her. Sophie accuses her mother of being afraid. When they return home, Beck tells Vianne that he has received a letter from her husband and that she can now send him care packages through Beck.

Isabelle meets with the Parisian resistance members, who tell her that they are preparing a false identity for her. In the meantime, they ask her to begin delivering packages for them, warning that the consequences will be severe if she is caught. While they are talking, an airman from the British Royal Air Force (RAF) appears at the door, and Isabelle speaks to him in English because he cannot speak French. Isabelle returns home and tells her father that she plans to reopen his bookshop.

Analysis

In addition to Jews, Communists, and other groups considered “undesirable” by the Nazis, Allied pilots whose planes had been shot down were another group in need of protection in Nazi-occupied France. Caring for these pilots and smuggling them safely back to Allied territory became one of the resistance movement’s primary tasks. Isabelle’s ability to speak English makes her valuable in this effort because the majority of these pilots speak little or no French.

Isabelle realizes for the first time that being a woman fighting for the resistance comes with a unique set of risks. On the one hand, being a woman makes her less likely to arouse Nazi suspicion. If she is caught, however, she is more likely to be sexually abused, as a female resistance fighter named Anouk reminds her.

 
 
 
 
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