Number the Stars

by

Lois Lowry

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Number the Stars: Chapter 17 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Two long years later, Annemarie is twelve, and the war has indeed come to an end. As the news spreads throughout Copenhagen, the Danish flag is raised high everywhere, church bells ring, and people sing the national anthem of Denmark proudly in the streets. Annemarie, standing on the balcony of her family’s apartment, looks around at those she loves. Mama is crying happy tears, while Kirsti—“taller, more serious, and very thin”—happily waves a Danish flag. Papa is happy, too, but there is a sadness in the air—Peter Neilsen is dead, recently executed for his work on behalf of the Resistance.
This passage, which takes place in a moment of intense joy and relief, nonetheless shows that the years have not been entirely kind to the Johansens. They have suffered more losses, and though their country has emerged victorious from the war, the occupation has left indelible marks on all of them.
Themes
Privilege, Sacrifice, and Solidarity  Theme Icon
Bravery Theme Icon
Annemarie has, in the last two years, learned the truth about her sister Lise’s death. Papa revealed to Annemarie that Lise, too, was part of the Resistance, though neither he nor Mama knew until after Lise’s death, a hit-and-run orchestrated by Nazi soldiers.
Annemarie at last knows the full truth about her family—but the fact that things were kept from her for so long shows the Johansens’ belief that ignorance can be bliss.
Themes
Reality vs. Fantasy Theme Icon
Sisterhood Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Annemarie leaves the balcony and goes into her room, where she opens Lise’s special blue trunk. She takes out the wedding gown and sees that it has begun to turn yellow. She spreads the dress on the bed, reaches into the folds of the skirt, and finds the Star of David necklace she hid there for Ellen so long ago. Annemarie brings the necklace out to the balcony where she shows it to Papa and asks if he can fix it, so that when the Rosens return, she can give it back to Ellen. Papa says he’ll fix it right away, and Annemarie tells him that until Ellen gets back, she will wear the necklace herself. 
This moment is rife with symbolic significance, as Annemarie pulls Ellen’s necklace from the folds of Lise’s dress and makes plans to wear it until her new “sister” returns. From the ashes of loss can come new love and strange comforts—though Annemarie lost her blood sister Lise, she has found perhaps an even truer sisterhood in Ellen despite the distances between them.
Themes
Privilege, Sacrifice, and Solidarity  Theme Icon
Bravery Theme Icon
Sisterhood Theme Icon
Related Quotes