All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See


Anthony Doerr

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All the Light We Cannot See: 3. Don’t Tell Lies Summary & Analysis

Werner has been admitted to the National Institute, and is about to leave the orphanage for the next two years. All the other students admire him—the only exception is Jutta, who is furious that he is going away to the Institute. One day, Werner asks Jutta to take a walk with him. To his surprise, Jutta agrees, and they walk past the mines together. Jutta tells Werner that she’s afraid that Werner will turn out as brutal and mean as the other boys from the orphanage, who now work in the mines or are members of Hitler’s army. Werner promises Jutta that this won’t happen to him. He assures her that he only wants to become an engineer and then take Jutta to Paris. Jutta replies, “Don’t tell lies. Lie to yourself, Werner, but don’t lie to me.”
Because Jutta seems unrealistically wise and far-seeing, she becomes almost like a stand-in for us as readers (who have a hindsight’s perspective on WWII). Like us, Jutta is nervous that Werner will become a Nazi as a result of his education at the National Institute. Werner still denies this—he thinks that he’s going to become a great scientist, and must simply obey the Nazis because they are the ones with influence at the moment. But because we’ve read the Prologue, we know that it doesn’t work out like this—Werner will be a soldier, the same as so many of his peers.
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