All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

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All the Light We Cannot See Three (June 1940): Letters #2-4: Werner to Jutta Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Werner writes a letter to Jutta, telling his sister that Dr. Hauptmann is planning to recommend him to high-ranking Nazi officials, who’ll set him up with a good education. The letter is difficult to read because phrases and entire sentences are censored. For instance, Werner tries to describe the projects that Hauptmann has assigned him to research, but his descriptions are blacked out. Nevertheless, Werner suggests that Hauptmann is stimulating his creativity, and urging him to work hard to support the Führer.
We begin to see other forms of blindness in the novel. Marie-Laure is literally blind, but the extreme censorship of the German state is another, more willful kind of blindness. For the time being this censorship is fairly minor—the only notable thing left blacked out is Werner’s description of his scientific project But we can sense that this trend will lead to more dangerous situations of censorship and “turning a blind eye” to wrongdoing.
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
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
In a second letter to his sister, Werner explains that the Institute has taught the students the story of Reiner Schicker, a soldier who supposedly volunteered to go behind enemy lines in Poland, and was arrested and killed by the Poles for his loyalty to the Nazis. Schicker is rumored to have said, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” Frederick, Werner reports, thinks that this story is—but the rest of the sentence is blacked out. Werner ends his letter, “Sieg Heil.”
The Nazi propaganda becomes more disturbing here, as Werner is being told that his own life is worthless compared to the value of the German state. Werner cannot yet know about the evils of the Holocaust, but his conscience is clearly already uneasy about Nazism. Frederick already shows himself to be willing to criticize the propaganda, saying things that must be censored by the authorities.
Themes
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
In his final letter to Jutta, Werner describes the field exercises in which he’s participated. The other boys are excited for the day when they’ll cross the English channel and conquer Britain. In the meantime, Werner takes pleasure in spending time with Frederick, who entertains him by pointing out the different types of birds in the fields.
For the time being, Werner’s love for his sister, passion for science, and friendship with Frederick are more powerful than any loyalty to Hitler or nationalistic sense of superiority. However, the blacked out lines of the letter also provide a visible example of how Nazism is weakening the connection between Werner and Jutta—they are now separated by location and ideology, and also have no real way to communicate with each other without being censored.
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
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon