The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

by

Ann Shaffer

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: Part 1: 15 May, 1946 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
A teenager named Sally Ann Frobisher writes to Juliet about having scabies during the war. She had it on her scalp and the doctor insisted she go to the hospital to have her head shaved and the tops of the scabs cut off. Fortunately for Sally, her nurse was Elizabeth, who was kind and funny. Elizabeth told Sally the truth that the treatment was going to hurt, but she turned the process into a game. That evening, Elizabeth came to visit with a beautiful scarf to wrap around Sally's head. When Sally asked Elizabeth if she was going to ever be pretty, Elizabeth assured her that she would look like Nefertiti in a few years.
In dealing with Sally, Elizabeth again demonstrates her ability to be kind to everyone and say exactly the right thing to make a person feel seen and heard. The fact that Sally feels compelled to write to Juliet about Elizabeth and this experience shows that Elizabeth's ability was extremely important and, like literature did for the Society, her care and compassion made the war bearable for non-members.
Themes
Literature and Connection Theme Icon
Family, Parenting, and Legitimacy Theme Icon
War, Hunger, and Humanity Theme Icon
Micah Daniels, another islander, writes to Juliet. He says that a fancy restaurant in Paris wouldn't come to close to the Vega box he received from the Red Cross in December of 1944. The ship came six times to deliver boxes of food, as there was none on the island. Prior to the Vega, Churchill hadn't allowed ships to deliver food as he didn't want the Germans to have it—by then, the Germans were just as hungry as the islanders. Micah lists all the things that were in his box, including butter, tea, salmon, cheese, and soap.
Churchill's decision to not send supplies to Guernsey suggests that he continued to view the islands as pointless in terms of the war, despite the fact that Englishmen were dying there—Churchill decided they weren't human enough when he refused to help. In this way, Churchill is implicated for his cruelty during the war, just as the Nazis are.
Themes
War, Hunger, and Humanity Theme Icon
Micah says he has one more thing to say and that "honor due is honor due." The Germans unloaded the boxes from the Vega and stole nothing for themselves. The Commandant threatened to shoot any soldier who stole from the boxes and instead, gave his men teaspoons to scrape up any spills on the road. Micah says the soldiers were pitiful. He saw one soldier kill and eat a cat once. Micah had laughed and felt sick to his stomach, and now, he's ashamed of his reaction.
Micah likely laughed at the soldier because, for the first time in five years, Micah felt superior to the Germans—but now, he recognizes that the soldier was starving and, above all, human and desperate. In other words, the man was just as deserving of food as anyone else, no matter which side he fought for.
Themes
War, Hunger, and Humanity Theme Icon
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