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Number the Stars

Lois Lowry

Chapters III–IV

Chapters I–II

Chapters III–IV, page 2

page 1 of 3
Summary

Chapter III: Where Is Mrs. Hirsch?

September goes by and the girls have no more trouble with soldiers, though they are careful not to pass the two who stopped them. The mothers start to prepare for the hard winter ahead. Because there is no fuel, the winters are very cold. Annemarie remarks to her mother that she is lucky to share a bed with her sister since it is warmer that way. Annemarie tells her mother she remembers when Kirsti slept in her parent's bed. Annemarie worries that the comment will upset her mother because Kirsti slept with them while Lise was still alive. But her mother is not upset, and laughs remembering that Kirsti would sometimes wet the bed.

Mrs. Johansen notices that Kirsti's jacket is missing a button. She sends the girls to Mrs. Hirsch's shop. When Annemarie, Kirsti and Ellen get there, however, the shop is closed. On the door hangs a sign written in German and labeled with a swastika. Kirsti suggests that maybe the Hirsch family went on a picnic. Mrs. Johansen is upset when Annemarie tells her that the shop is closed. Annemarie thinks her mother is concerned because Kirsti's coat will still be missing a button. Mrs. Johansen goes to talk with Mrs. Rosen.

Later, when Annemarie is almost asleep, her mother comes to get her. Peter Neilsen has come for a visit. Annemarie is happy to see him, though she knows that it is past curfew and dangerous for him to be there. Peter has brought a seashell for Annemarie and beer for her parents. Mr. Johansen seems serious and tells Annemarie that the Germans are closing many shops owned by Jews. Peter explains that this is the Germans' way of "tormenting" and that it has already happened in other countries. Annemarie is perplexed; she wants to know why they would close a harmless button shop. She asks how the Hirsch family will earn a living. Mrs. Johansen says that their friends will take care of them. Suddenly, Annemarie remembers that the Rosens are Jewish. She is worried about them, but feels better once she remembers that Mr. Rosen is a teacher, not a shop owner. She reminds father of his story about the soldier and young man and says that now "all of Denmark must be the bodyguard for the Jews." Peter leaves and they go back to bed.

As she falls asleep, Annemarie wonders if, now that she is older, she would have the courage to die protecting Denmark's Jews. The thought frightens her, but she reassures herself that people are only called on to die in fairy tales, not in real life. Annemarie goes to sleep glad that she "would never be called upon for courage."

Chapter IV: It Will Be a Long Night

Ellen and Annemarie play Gone With the Wind with paper dolls cut from magazines. Annemarie is Scarlett and Ellen is Melanie. Ellen is good at using an accent and a sophisticated tone. She likes acting and had parts in school plays. Mrs. Johansen and Kirsti come home from shoe shopping. Kirsti has been crying, upset that the store only had shoes made of fish skin because there is no leather. Kirsti hates the green color and the scales. Ellen offers to make them black with ink, which quiets Kirsti. Annemarie lets Kirsti join their game. They pretend they are going to Tivoli gardens in Copenhagen. Kirsti says she remembers the fireworks in Tivoli gardens on her birthday, even though they have been closed since she was very little.

Annemarie remembers that only a month ago, on her sister's birthday, the Danes destroyed their own navel fleet to keep the Germans from using it. To calm Kirsti, Mrs. Johansen told her that the explosions were fireworks for her birthday. Thinking about this, Annemarie does not want to play anymore. Ellen leaves to help her mother prepare for the Jewish New Year. She invites Annemarie and Kirsti to come watch her mother light the candles on Thursday night. On Thursday, Annemarie and Kirsti see Ellen going to synagogue. In the afternoon Mrs. Rosen comes by and talks quickly with Mrs. Johansen. Mrs. Johansen tells the girls that Ellen will be coming to stay with them for a few days while the Rosens visit some relatives. Kirsti will sleep in her parents' bed and Mrs. Johansen promises to tell her a special story. Kirsti ask for a story about a king. They have a big chicken dinner that Mrs. Rosen had made for New Years. Everyone is quiet except for a giggling Kirsti.

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Rating. I loved it!

by SoldierGina, November 26, 2014

Honestly, Number the Stars really had me thinking about life. It was just the realistic description of things that really made it go deep. It changed my whole outlook on life in general. It also helped me spiritually. It showed me that people go through bad hardships sometimes, but, you can make it through. It has helped me come to terms with some of the hardships I face in my life. Whenever something miserable happens, my mind immediately goes back to this story. This story really goes beyond a story, it touches you spiritually and emotiona... Read more

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2 out of 2 people found this helpful

question

by anon_2223147754, February 04, 2015

How wouldo you describe Copenhagen after the war ended?

I WAS SO MAD

by Different-In-Every-Way, March 17, 2015

I can't believe that Peter DIED.He was my favorite character!!

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