Sarah’s Key

Sarah’s Key


Tatiana De Rosnay

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Sarah’s Key: Chapter 15 Summary & Analysis

Sarah has survived a horrible night in the Vélodrome, during which a woman gave birth to a stillborn baby and wailed in anguish for hours. In the early morning, Wladyslaw begs the policemen to allow him to return home to fetch Michel, but his appeal is denied. Sarah drifts off to sleep and awakens to a kind nurse who gives her water and then leaves. The nurse is unable to answer Sarah’s questions about why she is being held in the Vélodrome and when she will be allowed to leave. Frustrated, Sarah recalls another inexplicable incident when she and Armelle were walking home from school and were called “dirty Jews” by a classmate. This, in turn, causes her to remember how badly Michel wanted to wear a yellow star, like his parents and sister, and how her mother had to explain that he was too young. Sarah grips the key in her pocket and swears again that she will find a way back to Michel.
Sarah continues to question why she and the other Jewish prisoners in the Vélodrome are being treated so degradingly. She struggles to comprehend her reality; her child’s perspective again shows how unfathomable it is that millions of people during World War Two accepted the notion that Jews were inherently inferior to non-Jews. Sarah’s memory of Michel also poignantly demonstrates how tight-knit the Starzynski family is, and Sarah’s resolve to return to her brother further emphasizes the strength of that familial love. However, this moment also has ominous undertones; it seems likely that the strength of Sarah’s love for her brother will not be sufficient to overcome the forces that are being marshaled against her.
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