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Number the Stars

Lois Lowry

Chapters XII–XIII

Chapters X–XI

Chapters XIV–XV

Summary

Chapter X: Where Was Mama?

Mrs. Johansen leaves the house for the boat. With her go the Rosens. On the way out, Mr. Rosen trips, but rights himself before falling. Mrs. Johansen says it is very dark here and on the path they are going to take. The Rosens hug Annemarie goodbye. Ellen and Annemarie hug for a long time. Ellen promises that she will be back. Annemarie sits alone in the living room, crying. In her mind she walks the path with them. It is two-thirty in the morning. By Annemarie's calculations, her mother should be back one hour later. She thinks of her father. He is alone in Copenhagen. Surely he is awake, too, waiting to hear that they are all safe. Annemarie decides that it is harder to be the ones waiting, even if it is not as dangerous. She drifts off to sleep.

The light of early morning wakes Annemarie. She remembers slowly where she is. It is already four in the morning. Mrs. Johansen should be back already. Annemarie goes to look for her mother, thinking that she must have come in and not wanted to wake Annemarie. But Mrs. Johansen is not in the bedroom. She goes to the window hoping to see her mother. Instead Annemarie notices a moving shape on the ground. It is Mrs. Johansen.

Chapter XIII: Run! As Fast As You Can!

Annemarie runs out the door calling to her mother. Mrs. Johansen tries to quiet her, assuring Annemarie that she is all right. Mrs. Johansen sits up, but winces. Annemarie asks what happened. Her mother says the important thing is that the Rosens are with Henrik. Mrs. Johansen hurried to get home and fell when she was about halfway through the trip. She thinks her ankle is broken. Annemarie helps her up, despite the evident pain it causes Mrs. Johansen. Her mother praises Annemarie for being so strong and brave. They get to the steps of the house and rest. Soon the boat will sail. Annemarie notices something in the grass: the packet Peter gave Mr. Rosen.

Mrs. Johansen is stunned. The packet must have slipped from Mr. Rosen's pocket when he tripped on his way out. Annemarie asks what the packet is. Mrs. Johansen does not answer her daughter's question. She groans and says that their efforts "may have been for nothing." Annemarie says she will take it. She hides it in a basket under some food. Her mother tells her to run. If any soldiers stop her Annemarie must pretend to be a "silly, empty-headed little girl." Annemarie asks again what is in the packet, but her mother tells her to go.

Analysis

In Chapter X, Annemarie must say goodbye to her closest childhood friend. Ellen's departure is another big change in Annemarie's life. After Ellen leaves, Annemarie cries for the first time. Despite the sad fact of her separation from Ellen, Annemarie is most concerned about her mother. A role reversal has occurred. Annemarie is at home alone, waiting and worrying about Mrs. Johansen, playing the role that mothers usually play when their children are away. But now Annemarie is the one alone hoping her mother is okay. She thinks of her father, who must also be up worrying. Annemarie identifies with Mr. Johansen. Normally her mother would be the one to feel the same way as Mr. Johansen, which is also part of the reversal.

Annemarie continues to be motherly when she discovers Mrs. Johansen sprawled outside. She helps her mother and takes care of her as best she can. The discovery of Peter's packet gives Annemarie an important mission. Now it is her turn to be brave. She will have to do what an adult would do under different circumstances. The trip is dangerous, and soldiers could mean trouble. Paradoxically, Mrs. Johansen tells Annemarie to act like a dim little girl if she runs into any soldiers. Annemarie is young person doing an adult's job, but she must be prepared to play the role of an innocent child. This jumble of acting like an adult and a child is metaphorical for the struggle Annemarie has been facing. She is constantly being caught between the childhood and the adult worlds. Annemarie has already discovered that the line between lying to people and protecting them is not always clear. Now she sees the same lack of distinction complicating the difference between being a child and being an adult.

Chance plays a significant role in the unfolding of the night's events. Had Mr. Rosen not tripped, he probably would not have dropped the packet. If Mrs. Johansen had not hurt her ankle, she could have taken the packet to Henrik. If Mrs. Johansen had not hurt her ankle and had come home while it was still dark, it is unlikely that they would have noticed the packet lying on the ground. Chance influences all these things, and points to the fact that it is matter of chance whether or not Henrik will make is safely to Sweden. As Mrs. Johansen says, it might have all been for nothing. This underlines how delicate the situation is. All has gone well, but they are all still a long way from safety.

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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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