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 2: 12 Jun, 1946 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The Society receives a letter. The writer is Remy, a Frenchwoman, and she writes to say that Elizabeth was executed at the Ravensbrück Concentration Camp in March of 1945. Remy says that Elizabeth used to speak to her about the Society and about Kit. Remy wants to make sure that Kit knows how strong and kind her mother was. Remy was sent to the camp in 1944. Elizabeth introduced herself and showed her a "wonderful surprise:" a beautiful sunset.
Remy's desire to write to the Society because she knows they were important to Elizabeth shows that Remy too understands the power of chosen family. In this case, she demonstrates the belief that Elizabeth's chosen family has the right to know what happened to her.
Themes
Literature and Connection Theme Icon
Family, Parenting, and Legitimacy Theme Icon
War, Hunger, and Humanity Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Remy says that they lived in a block with almost 400 women. Elizabeth would talk about the Society and Guernsey, and her stories made the filthy bunks almost disappear. During the day, the women worked in a factory or dug trenches. Elizabeth once covered for a woman who stole a potato. She was sent to the punishment bunker for a week. While there, a guard sprayed high-pressure hoses at the prisoners. Elizabeth survived, but another woman died after freezing to the floor.
The stories about the German guards' cruelties continue to show that at the camps, the prisoners weren't treated like living beings: they were humiliated, tortured, and killed simply for existing. Despite the fact that Elizabeth was likely aware that she could be killed for covering for people, she believed it was her duty to stand up for others when they needed help.
Themes
War, Hunger, and Humanity Theme Icon
Remy says that most women stopped menstruating, but those that didn't stop were given no hygiene supplies or soap—their blood just ran down their legs. The overseers took the blood as an excuse to beat the women. One evening, Elizabeth rushed to help a woman being beaten, stole the guard's rod, and hit the guard. The next day, the guards executed Elizabeth in a grove of poplar trees.
By beating women for menstruating, the guards effectively punish them for being human. Elizabeth's actions then stand as an insistence that all people deserve to be cared for and to live, not to be treated inhumanely.
Themes
War, Hunger, and Humanity Theme Icon
Sister Cecile Touvier includes a note with Remy's, explaining how ill Remy is and how bad she believes remembering what happened is for Remy. Sister Touvier says that when Remy arrived at the hospital she weighed less than 60 pounds. She hopes that Remy will begin to heal after writing this letter. While she says that the Society can write to Remy, she asks that they not mention Ravensbrück.
Though she doesn't say so outright, Sister Touvier expresses the belief that if Remy doesn't talk about the camp, she'll eventually move on. This shows that even those who care, like nurses, can't always provide truly effective care for the kind of emotional trauma like Remy experienced.
Themes
Family, Parenting, and Legitimacy Theme Icon
War, Hunger, and Humanity Theme Icon
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