The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


Ann Shaffer

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: Part 1: 10 Apr, 1946 Summary & Analysis

Amelia returns Juliet's letter and agrees that it seems like the war continues to drag on. She recounts how, after her son died, people would tell her that life goes on. Amelia says that this is a lie; death goes on. She wonders if the sorrow will end and if happiness will ever return to the island. In small ways, life is returning to normal: Amelia can now walk along the cliffs, there are no mines on the beaches, and if she looks out to sea, she doesn't have to look at the cement bunkers or the treeless land. She hopes that soon, vines will grow over the bunkers.
For Amelia, the lack of trees and the new bunkers are constant reminders that the war happened and wrought all sorts of damage on the island. However, like Juliet, she's beginning to realize that life will go on, even as these reminders of the war will persist for years to come. Essentially, the war will become a part of her; she'll never be able to simply forget it.
War, Hunger, and Humanity Theme Icon
Amelia says she'll never forget how those bunkers were built by the Todt slave workers. Hitler wanted the Channel Islands fortified, so he sent forced laborers. Most of the workers arrived in 1942. The Germans housed them in pens and though they sometimes let the workers accept food from islanders, they beat the Todt workers for accepting food just as often. Amelia says she's recently learned that the Germans intended to work and starve the Todt laborers until they died. Children sometimes went down to the pens and gave the laborers food through the fence. On Sundays, the workers had a half-day off. Most of them stood in the sewage in the sea, hoping to catch the swarming fish. In closing, Amelia invites Juliet to Guernsey.
The Todt workers add a new layer to the hierarchy on Guernsey. They become a "class" of people who are even lower than the islanders, which means that there will likely be some islanders who, in order to curry favor with the Germans, will dehumanize the Todt workers. As far as Amelia is concerned, the bunkers are a direct representation of the thousands of people who died to build them and therefore, can never be beautiful.
War, Hunger, and Humanity Theme Icon