My Family for the War
Theme: Rebirth is on the path to Finding Yourself
From now on... you will be called Frances
Gary gives his new sister Ziska a new name to represent her transition from being a German refugee to a member of a Jewish British family. This is necessitated by the Germans persecuting Jews. It is like a new life for her as she joins her new family in everything from dining to hiding in bomb shelters. This rebirth is a necessary part of her journey to find herself.
Oh.... I guess you can call us Uncle Matthew and Aunt Amanda
This quote brings attention to Frances's new family in her new life in Britain. This plays an important factor in the book as she learns to live with and love her new Aunt and Uncle. This part of her life is characterized by Frances's struggle with finding out who she really is. With the help of her Aunt and Uncle, who become more and more her mother and father, she must decide where her heart lives, in Britain or Germany.
Why didn't you tell us you had family, professor?
This line is spoken to Professor Schueler, another German refugee who Frances adopts as her grandfather after he has a stroke and is relocated to Amanda's assisted living facility. Even though they are not related, the professor and Frances share a grandfather-granddaughter relationship throughout the book. This is one of the more emotional parts of Frances's rebirth as the professor dies, however it plays a key part in understanding her new family in Britain
The Ukrainian Revolution
After the president of Ukraine broke off communications with the European Union, the citizens of Ukraine decided something had to be done about their pro-Russian president. Ukraine has had a long history of being fought over by Russia and the EU, but recently there has been a push at joining the EU. The citizens of Ukraine staged protests in the capital Kiev, and fought against the police, culminating in the flight of the president in February 2014. An election immediately followed, with a pro-EU president being elected. This rebirth led to Ukraine being able to find themselves and realize that they were in favor of the EU. This let me better understand the novel in several ways. First off, it gave me another example of rebirth on a much larger scale. It allowed me to draw parallels in the stories, and overall let me better understand what this drastic change meant to Frances, with a modern example. It also let me better understand the mentality of an oppressed people, the Jews, and in this case, the Ukrainians. I understand theme better now because I was able to draw connections between two similarly themed topics. Also, by examining similar topics on a different scale, I explored how theme applies universally to occurrences of different size. Lastly, I understand theme better because I have experience at relating themes.
My Life Connection
Throughout my life, I have struggled to find myself in my life many times. Several of the more memorable of these times came during mission trips with my church, specifically the one I took last summer to Philly. In order to achieve solidarity with the poor, we gave up running water, electricity, and air conditioning. Doing this was almost like a new life for me, a sort of rebirth if you will. This allowed me to really take a look at my life, and find myself.