Number the Stars


Lois Lowry

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Lise Johansen Character Analysis

Though Lise is not physically present as a character in the novel, her emotional presence lingers on every page. Her loss in a seemingly random hit-and-run accident has dealt a severe blow to her family’s morale, and Annemarie, Kirsti, their parents, and Lise’s betrothed at the time of her death, Peter Neilsen, all mourn her each day. It is eventually revealed that Lise was, alongside Peter, a member of the Resistance, and died at the hands of Nazi soldiers determined to bring the faction down.

Lise Johansen Quotes in Number the Stars

The Number the Stars quotes below are all either spoken by Lise Johansen or refer to Lise Johansen. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Privilege, Sacrifice, and Solidarity  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Houghton Mifflin edition of Number the Stars published in 1989.
Chapter 2 Quotes

Redheaded Peter, her sister’s fiancé, had not married anyone in the years since Lise’s death. He had changed a great deal. Once he had been like a fun-loving older brother to Annemarie and Kirsti, teasing and tickling, always a source of foolishness and pranks. Now he still stopped by the apartment often, and his greetings to the girls were warm and smiling, but he was usually in a hurry, talking quickly to Mama and Papa about things Annemarie didn’t understand. He no longer sang the nonsense songs that had once made Annemarie and Kirsti shriek with laughter. And he never lingered anymore.

Papa had changed, too. He seemed much older and very tired, defeated.

The whole world had changed. Only the fairy tales remained the same.

“And they lived happily ever after,” Annemarie recited, whispering into the dark, completing the tale for her sister, who slept beside her, one thumb in her mouth.

Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes

That night, Annemarie’s parents told her the truth about Lise’s death at the beginning of the war.

“She was part of the Resistance, too,” Papa had explained. “Part of the group that fought for our country in whatever ways they could.”

“We didn’t know,” Mama added. “She didn’t tell us. Peter told us after she died.”

“Oh, Papa!” Annemarie cried. “Mama!”

Related Characters: Annemarie Johansen (speaker), Mrs. Johansen/Mama (speaker), Mr. Johansen/Papa (speaker), Peter Neilsen, Lise Johansen
Page Number: 129-130
Explanation and Analysis:

[Annemarie] turned and went to her bedroom, where the blue trunk still stood in the corner, as it had all these years. Opening it, Annemarie saw that the yellow dress had begun to fade; it was discolored at the edges where it had lain so long in folds.

Carefully she spread open the skirt of the dress and found the place where Ellen’s necklace lay hidden in the pocket. The little Star of David still gleamed gold.

“Papa?” she said, returning to the balcony, where her father was standing with the others, watching the rejoicing crowd. She opened her hand and showed him the necklace. “Can you fix this? I have kept it all this long time. It was Ellen’s.”

Her father took it from her and examined the broken clasp. “Yes,” he said. “I can fix it. When the Rosens come home, you can give it back to Ellen.”

“Until then,” Annemarie told him, “I will wear it myself.”

Related Characters: Annemarie Johansen (speaker), Mr. Johansen/Papa (speaker), Ellen Rosen, Lise Johansen
Related Symbols: Ellen’s Necklace
Page Number: 131-132
Explanation and Analysis:
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