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: 17-18 Feb, 1946 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Susan writes to Juliet, asking about a photo of Juliet dancing with Mark Reynolds that ran in the paper. She suggests that Juliet hide to escape Sidney's wrath, but promises to keep everything a secret if Juliet shares juicy details. In a one-line reply, Juliet denies the existence of the photo.
Susan's excitement confirms that Mark is considered a desirable partner by the wider world, which only makes Juliet question the wisdom of not actually liking him later in the novel.
Themes
Women, Marriage, and Work Theme Icon
Amelia writes Juliet and thanks her for the character references. She says that several members should write soon with tales of the Society and then picks up the story of the Society's inception where Dawsey left off. Amelia had no idea what transpired after the roast pig feast until Elizabeth arrived the next morning to see how many books Amelia owned. Elizabeth suggested that they purchase as many books as they could. Fortunately and surprisingly, the Germans encouraged cultural pursuits among the islanders. They hoped to make Guernsey a "Model Occupation," though this didn't last long.
Though Amelia never defines what a model occupation meant to the Germans, she implies that it meant that the Germans wanted to show the world that they were capable of treating their conquered people with kindness and respect. However, the fact that this didn't happen suggests that there are a number of barriers that the Germans faced to doing this.
Themes
War, Hunger, and Humanity Theme Icon
Elizabeth, Dawsey, and the other dinner guests were forced to pay fines and submit a membership roster for the Society. The Commandant asked if he could attend meetings and Elizabeth assured him he'd be welcome. Then, Elizabeth, Amelia, and Eben bought as many books as they could and casually visited every member and asked them to come choose a book to read for the next meeting. Amelia says that before the Society's inception, she didn't know any members other than Isola and Eben very well. She says that most of the members hadn't read literature before, but soon the meetings became their greatest pleasure. They made up their own rules for discussion and invited others to join them, and Will Thisbee, a cook of questionable skill, was responsible for adding "Potato Peel Pie" to the name.
Amelia's insistence that the Society helped everyone become friends with people they previously didn't know well shows that people are able to form strong and lasting relationships when they connect with people over a shared love of literature. The members seem to come from a variety of different professions and situations, which suggests that literature also allows them to transcend boundaries that society puts up to keep people separate from each other—this is especially true given the number of men and women who join.
Themes
Literature and Connection Theme Icon
Family, Parenting, and Legitimacy Theme Icon
War, Hunger, and Humanity Theme Icon