Sarah’s Key

Sarah’s Key


Tatiana De Rosnay

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Sarah’s Key: Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

In the heat of the Vélodrome, Sarah waits with her parents. There is no food, no water, and no working sanitary facility. Sarah’s schoolmate, Léon, asks Sarah if she wants to attempt escape with him, but she is too hesitant. She watches as Léon escapes, darting past the police, who are distracted by a group of angry prisoners. Sarah soon notices a commotion overhead. Although her father attempts to turn her face away, Sarah sees a woman jump with her baby from the highest railing in the arena. Both mother and baby are killed on impact.
This is the first chapter to describe in such vivid detail the horror inflicted on French Jewish families during the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup. Sarah begins to have an inkling that the stakes of her decision to leave Michel behind were much higher than she could’ve ever imagined, as the direness of her situation is impressed on her by the bloody suicide she witnesses. Sarah’s refusal to join Léon in an escape attempt is also important because it stands in contrast to Sarah’s later actions in the novel. Sarah’s hesitance to leave her parents demonstrates her strong love for and reliance on her parents.
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