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: 31 Jan, 1946 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Juliet writes Sophie and thanks her for making the quick trip to visit her in Leeds. She explains that what the London Hue and Cry wrote about her was exaggerated. Sidney has given a press conference to defend Juliet and the sanctity of journalism in which he called Gilly Gilbert lazy and a lying weasel. Juliet says that Sidney is quite the champion, and mentions that Reynolds sent her another bunch of orchids.
By standing up for Juliet, Sidney uses his power as a man to make sure that the women who write for him feel as though they'll be supported in their work, even if it does attract scandal. This will help Sidney maintain these female authors, as they know they can trust him.
Themes
Women, Marriage, and Work Theme Icon
Dawsey returns Juliet's letter, thanking her for the book. He says he has a job at the harbor now, so he can read on his tea breaks. Dawsey tells her the story of the roast pig dinner. When the Germans arrived, they took all the pigs and gave the Guernsey residents specific crops to grow. People tried to keep pigs secret with varying success. One afternoon, Mrs. Maugery sent a note asking Dawsey to come with a butcher knife: she'd managed to keep a pig and planned to throw a feast.
Mrs. Maugery's choice to throw a feast (rather than keep the pig for herself) suggests that there was already some sense of community and camaraderie on the island, even before the Society began. It indicates that Mrs. Maugery recognized that all her neighbors were likely hungry and is generous enough to share her good fortune.
Themes
Family, Parenting, and Legitimacy Theme Icon
War, Hunger, and Humanity Theme Icon
The dinner party was the first that Dawsey had ever been to. He didn't know it, but it was also the first meeting of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. All the guests forgot about the curfew until an hour after it began, but they decided to go home anyway. Dawsey walked with Elizabeth McKenna and John Booker. Drunk, John started singing and attracted the attention of German officers. Elizabeth told the officers that they'd been at a meeting of their literary society and had lost track of time. The officer smiled, took their names, and told them to report to the Commandant in the morning.
Elizabeth shows here that she's very quick thinking and can charm even strict German soldiers. She also shows that she recognizes the power of literature, as it appears she was aware that the mention of a literary society would go over well with the officers. This again speaks to the power literature has to connect people and in this case, save lives: because the officer doesn't have a problem with literature, the members survive.
Themes
Literature and Connection Theme Icon
Family, Parenting, and Legitimacy Theme Icon
War, Hunger, and Humanity Theme Icon
Dawsey says he has a question. He explains that ships are coming to Guernsey now, bearing supplies like food, medicine, and shoes, all wrapped in old newspapers. Dawsey and his friend Clovis save the papers and read them, as the Germans cut off all contact with the outside world when they invaded and the people of Guernsey are desperate to know what happened during the war. This does mean that Dawsey doesn't understand some of the cartoons, and he asks Juliet to explain one that features men with one large ear talking about "Doodlebugs."
Dawsey's constant perusal of the papers again shows how writing allows a person to learn about and make sense of their world. The fact that Dawsey has to learn about the war through old newspapers like this also suggests that there aren't any people coming to Guernsey who are able or willing to talk about the war, meaning that Dawsey's only option is to turn to writing.
Themes
Literature and Connection Theme Icon
War, Hunger, and Humanity Theme Icon
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