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ESSAY TOPIC IDEAS / THESIS STATEMENTS
1. Patty says this about her mother: “it had to be a big lie, that beauty is only skin deep, for if it weren’t really there, why would it show” (28)? What do you think Patty’s meaning is behind this quote? Who do you think has more “beauty”, Patty or her mother? Why?
2. When the POW’s first enter her family’s store, Patty says, “Didn’t they know they were losing the war? That they were at this moment entering a Jewish store?” (40) Given what you know about WWII, why would German’s be hesitant to enter a Jewish store? Also use this theme to explain how Americans, especially Jewish American’s felt toward Germans and the POW’s.
3. Throughout the story, Patty tells many lies and fictitious stories. Explain why you think she does so. After reading the ending of the novel, explain whether you think Patty will or will not continue making up stories. Defend your answer.
4. Patty longs for her mother to love her. She feels this way throughout the entire novel. Explain who you think is Patty’s true mother, Pearl or Ruth? Compare how Patty feels about the two throughout the novel. Do her feelings change? Why or why not?
5. When Patty’s father is beating her (in Chapter 10), for catching her with Freddy, she sees Anton run toward her, from his hiding spot. Explain why you think Anton left his hideout and what you think was Anton’s mentality behind his actions.
6. Patty states, “A knot of anger rose up. Anger towards Mrs. Reeves who uglified me, towards Anton who pretended not to notice, but mostly against myself for believing that a prince could love a plowgirl” (120). Why does Patty suddenly become angry and what does she mean by this quote?
7. Explain why Anton compares Patty’s father to Hitler. Why does he do this? Do you think this comparison is valid? Compare the similarities and difference between Mr. Bergen and Hitler.
8. After Mr. Bergen beats Patty, in the garage, he states, “nobody loves me, in my whole life, nobody has ever loved me” (133). Using examples from the novel, explain why you think he feels this way. Discuss the irony between Patty’s feelings, regarding love, and her father’s.
9. Discuss how Patty’s feelings and relationships change between her and her parents throughout the novel. Who do you think has changed more, Patty or her parents?
10. Do you think Patty was “guilty” for housing a POW? Why or why not?