All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

All the Light We Cannot See Five (January 1941): Everything Poisoned Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
At the National Institute, Werner surveys the Nazi banners hanging on the wall, ordering everyone to serve the German state. Instructors at the school are slowly disappearing—they’re being sent to fight in the army. The new instructors are all wounded or scarred in some way. Nevertheless, the news from the front is always good—the Germans are winning the war, defeating the Russians, etc. Werner’s peers tell him that their fathers are dying in battle. Werner also begins to question the school’s myths of racial purity—there can be no “purity” in a human being, Werner thinks, especially not a kind of purity that’s measurable in hair color or nose size.
It becomes clear that Werner’s knowledge of real, objective science actually guards him from being seduced by Nazi pseudoscience. The Nazis used true science in building weapons, but racial myths to further their ideology—essentially twisting anything, even the objective and amoral, to fit their needs. According to Nazism, all life ascends to the master race: the Aryans. Werner recognizes that life simply isn’t like this: life is messy and full of complication. If there is a human purity, than it’s unrelated to things as superficial as eye or hair color.
Themes
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
In 1942, Dr. Hauptmann calls Werner to his office. Hauptmann reports that he’s being called to Berlin to serve the Reich. Werner congratulates Hauptmann, and Hauptmann says nothing more to Werner. Werner walks back from Hauptmann’s office, and notices Bastian yelling at the students.
In this terrifying section, we realize that Werner is all on his own now: his one protector, Dr. Hauptmann, is has now turned against him, and is leaving him in the hands of sadists and bullies like Bastian.
Themes
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon