Summary and Analysis
When an Allied airplane is shot down over Carriveau, Isabelle and her resistance friends rescue the wounded pilot and hide him in Vianne’s cellar. Isabelle stays with the pilot, trying to keep him alive, but he dies.
Beck and his men have been searching for the missing pilot, and Beck tells Vianne he will be killed if the pilot isn’t found. Vianne notices that her barn door is open, and she thinks that Rachel has returned. Instead, she finds Isabelle and the dead pilot. Furious, Vianne informs Isabelle that she is no longer welcome, threatening to turn her in to the Germans if she isn’t gone by the next morning.
That night, Beck decides to search Vianne’s house. When he reaches the barn cellar, he shoots Isabelle through the shoulder just as Vianne hits him in the head with a shovel and Isabelle shoots him in the chest. Beck dies and Isabelle falls unconscious. Resistance fighters appear to dispose of the pilot’s and Beck’s bodies, and after Vianne tends to her sister’s wound they all prepare to smuggle Isabelle out of Carriveau.
When Vianne first sees Isabelle and the dead pilot in the cellar, she thinks the worst of her sister. She blames Isabelle for putting Sophie in danger through her refusal to comply with Nazi authority. Vianne finds herself thinking that she would be willing to turn her sister in to the authorities rather than incur risks due to Isabelle’s actions. However, when the moment to choose between her sister and Beck arrives, Vianne chooses her sister without a second thought, killing Beck rather than losing Isabelle.
The war has placed Vianne in a situation where she seems to have only bad options: either to betray her sister or to kill a kind German whom she has grown to like, perhaps even love. The war places traditional ethics in question by making every choice seem reprehensible.