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: 28 Feb, 1946 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Juliet writes to Sophie and says that she's surprised that Sidney went to Australia, but she's happy he's there to take care of Piers. She's also happy that Sidney isn't in London—with him gone, Juliet can spend time with Mark. Sidney doesn't like Mark at all, but Juliet thinks that Sidney is too dramatic. She says that she's having a grand time with Mark; they go out nearly every night and Juliet is struck by the fact that Mark seems untouched by the war. In closing, she asks if Dominic is too old for a jack-in-the-box.
Juliet's ability to brush Sidney's concern off as simple drama illustrates how independent she is, even from people who are her close friends. Juliet later reveals that Dominic is her godson; her query about the jack-in-the-box shows that Juliet takes her role seriously and wants to provide good and age-appropriate gifts.
Themes
Family, Parenting, and Legitimacy Theme Icon
Women, Marriage, and Work Theme Icon
Juliet writes to Isola, thanking her for her letter. She says that the first time she read Wuthering Heights, the ghost hooked her too. Juliet explains that her teacher had assigned the book over a holiday. She and Sophie whined about it for two days, started reading, and then spent the rest of the holiday working through all of the Brontë sisters' novels. She explains that she chose to write about Anne Brontë because she's the least known, but still an exceptional writer.
The series of events that led Sophie and Juliet to read so many Brontë novels proves Juliet's point from earlier: books have the power to lead a person to more and more books, either as the reader follows the author or follows tidbits from the books themselves.
Themes
Literature and Connection Theme Icon
Eben Ramsey writes to Juliet. He says that before the war, his family cut tombstones, but now he mostly fishes. Eben says that though he hadn't wanted to ever talk about the war, he trusts Amelia's judgment and wants to help with Juliet's article. He says that before the Society began, most of the members hadn't read since school. Eben selected Selections from Shakespeare that first afternoon and though he was initially unenthusiastic about reading, he soon came to believe that Shakespeare wrote for men like him. Eben believes that if he'd read Shakespeare before the occupation, he would've had the words to console himself when the Germans landed.
The decision to write to Juliet specifically to help with her article shows that Eben believes he has a responsibility to help others learn about how reading helped him make it through the war, in the hopes that this realization will help someone else. In other words, Eben wants to bring others into the worldwide "family" of sorts comprised of readers, especially those who love the same books. 
Themes
Literature and Connection Theme Icon
Family, Parenting, and Legitimacy Theme Icon
War, Hunger, and Humanity Theme Icon
Eben writes that the Germans arrived on the 30th of June, 1940, after bombing the island. The bombs killed about 30 people. At first, the Germans were generous and full of themselves, as they thought taking London would be easy. However, when it became clear they wouldn't be able to, they became mean. They changed rules constantly. Food soon disappeared and the Society members clung to their books and to each other. By 1944, everyone went to bed by 5pm to keep warm. After D-Day, the Germans no longer received supplies from France, so the soldiers were just as hungry as the locals. They killed house pets and stole from gardens, even though it was illegal. Eben watched one soldier shot for stealing, and comments that hunger makes a person desperate. He says that his grandson, Eli, was evacuated.
Notice that while Eben makes it very clear that the Germans did horrible things to the islanders, they weren't entirely inhuman: hunger made the Germans and the islanders more alike and began to dissolve some of the distance between them. His story about the soldier who was killed for stealing suggests that the Germans may have even had it worse in some ways, given that nobody who writes Juliet says that islanders who stole were killed or even imprisoned.
Themes
War, Hunger, and Humanity Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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