All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

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Summary
Analysis
It is January, 1942, and Werner has just asked Dr. Hauptmann to be sent back to his home in the orphanage. Hauptmann is furious with Werner’s request. Hauptmann reminds Werner that he’s only being treated well because of Hauptmann’s influence. He adds that Werner will stay in the school, “serving the Reich,” for the foreseeable future. Werner will receive no more special treatment from Hauptmann, he stresses. This is devastating for Werner. He thinks to himself that he can’t stay at the Institute any longer.
Werner finally decides to take some action and stand up for what he believes is right (in contrast to Etienne in the last chapter), but it’s basically too late now—Werner is too entrenched in the Nazi system, and the authorities have too much control over his future. Hauptmann again shows his true colors—he doesn’t care at all about Werner, except as an intelligent assistant to help him in furthering the Nazi cause. The Nazi ideology of strength above all else means that even those who act like friends are quick to turn on each other at the first sign of weakness. This was true even at the highest levels of the Nazi government.
Themes
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon