All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See


Anthony Doerr

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All the Light We Cannot See: 5. Weakest (#3) Summary & Analysis

One day in April, Werner wakes up to find that Frederick is not in his bunk. He’s told that the previous night, some of the boys forced Frederick to go outside and prove his eyesight by shooting targets. Unsatisfied with this story, Werner goes to the Institute hospital, where he sees a bunk covered in blood. He asks a nurse where Frederick has gone. The nurse sternly tells him that Frederick is in Leipzig for surgery—then she orders Werner to go to lunch. Werner thinks to himself that he’ll never be able to tell Jutta about what’s happened to Frederick.
One aspect of the Nazi regime was that it ordered its people to serve the state at all costs, and then chastised them for showing concern for others when they needed help. This is exactly what happens here: the nurse in the National Institute tells Werner not to worry about Frederick—Werner’s own closest friend. This shows that the administration condones and even supports what happened to Frederick—he was weak, so it seems only natural for the “strong” to prove their strength by taking advantage of him. Werner clearly feels guilty for not protecting Frederick or standing up for him, and once again Jutta’s opinion of him acts as Werner’s conscience.
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