Beneath a Scarlet Sky


Mark Sullivan

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Beneath a Scarlet Sky: Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Pino departs on his new mission. Although the weather is nice, the hike is treacherous, and Pino has never done it before without a guide. The hike involves rock climbing, and it takes Pino a long time to find the courage—and the proper footing—to complete the task. Eventually, Pino reaches the top of the mountain that he set out to conquer. Satisfied, Pino lays down and falls asleep. He wakes up at 2 p.m. and begins his descent. It is almost nightfall when he returns to Casa Alpina. He tells Father Re that the hike was difficult, but that he could do it again if necessary. Pino asks the priest why he is being sent on these hikes. Father Re tells him that their purpose is to make him strong, but he refuses to elaborate.
In addition to being difficult, Pino’s hikes are an isolating experience. While the other boys at Casa Alpina spend their days together, Pino is alone. This means he has to be completely self-reliant; no one is around to tell him what to do or what not to do. Indeed, these hikes make Pino stronger, though Father Re’s continued silence suggests that they serve a greater purpose as well—one that Pino isn’t yet ready to hear.
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Over the next few weeks, Pino continues to spend his time hiking and learning to drive with Alberto. One day, in October, after a long hike, Pino returns to Casa Alpina to find Father Re hosting three guests. Pino asks about their presence but does not get a clear answer. However, Father Re does promise him the following day to rest. The following evening, Father Re asks Pino to come see him after dinner. Pino does so, and he learns the identities of his guests, as well as the purpose of his hikes. The guests are Jewish people who have escaped Meina because of Nazi persecution. Father Re explains to Pino that the routes he’s been traveling lead to Switzerland, a neutral country. Father Re asks Pino to guide their Jewish guests to Switzerland so they can evade the Nazis. Pino wholeheartedly agrees to do so and is filled with a newfound sense of purpose.
Finally, the true purpose of Pino’s hikes is revealed. In many countries during World War II, there were resistance efforts to help Jewish people flee Nazi persecution. Switzerland was one of the most common countries for Jewish people to flee to as a safe haven because it stayed neutral during the war. As is portrayed in the novel, religious groups often spearheaded these efforts, saving thousands of lives in the process.
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