Number the Stars


Lois Lowry

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Number the Stars: Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Mama prepares to set out in the dark with Ellen and Mrs. Rosen down the path to the docks. They cannot use any candles or other kinds of light, and Mama leads the way as she knows the paths well. As the Rosens follow Mama out into the yard, Ellen pauses. She hugs Annemarie and promises to come back some day. The girls have a hard time letting one another go, and after Ellen departs, Annemarie begins to cry.
Annemarie knows that Ellen and her family have no choice but to flee Copenhagen—but the separation from the girl who has been her best friend and sister for years is painful.
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Alone in the empty living room, Annemarie visualizes the path her mother and the Rosens are taking and “walk[s it] with them in her mind.” She knows that the journey takes about half an hour, and feels that on her way back, Mama will be able to complete it in even less time than that. Annemarie looks at the clock and sees that it is two-thirty in the morning. She believes her mother will be home in about an hour, and decides to sit up in a chair and wait for her to get back. As she thinks of her Papa, all alone back in Copenhagen, she wonders if his fear is worse even though he is in “less danger.”
In this passage, Annemarie thinks about bravery and fear. She wonders if her father’s inability to know what, exactly, is transpiring at the countryside, is increasing the fear he feels all alone back in Copenhagen. As bravery and ignorance are major thematic parts of this section of the novel, it makes sense that Annemarie is wondering if even the adults in her life have trouble being brave whenever they know too much—or too little.
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Annemarie wakes up at the first light of dawn, not having even realized she’d fallen asleep. Annemarie looks around, surprised by the light, and wonders where her mother could be. She runs upstairs to see if her mother has already returned and gone straight to bed, but Mama’s room is empty. She then checks Kirsti’s room, but her sister is fast asleep alone in her bed. Annemarie goes to the window and looks out at the meadow—she sees a “dark shape” out at the edge of the woods, and as it moves slowly, Annemarie realizes that the shape is Mama.
Something has gone wrong, and Mama has not returned in the time frame Annemarie believed she would. When Annemarie spots Mama’s form on the lawn, she fears the worst, and worries that there has been some kind of complication in the group’s plans.
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