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Written by Nicola Francisc
In the eight chapter, Gerda goes and listens to one of her friends playing the piano before it was taken away by the Germans. This event can be considered as being a metaphor that exemplifies the efforts the German army made to destroy the Jewish culture and way of life.
Metaphor for safety
For Gerda, the memory of her hometown and house always makes her feel safe and happy not matter where she is. Because of this, her hometown and childhood home is a metaphor for safety. When Gerda thinks about her family, she always has her childhood home somewhere in the background and she always imagines the happy times she spent there. For her, the image of her home is one of the elements that help her get through everything happening during the march. The image of her childhood remains alive in her mind until it is replaced by the image of her husband.
Metaphor for survival
During the time Gerda was in various work camps or marching, her shoes played a vital part in her survival. Most of the times, having good shoes could make the difference between life and death. Many of the girls who didn’t have shoes will either try to steal them from those who had or die because of the cold or complications that were a result of frostbites.
When Arthur tries to find his girlfriend, she finds her house empty and their dog dead in front of the house. The dog has metaphorical meaning because in many aspects it represents the way the Jews will be treated by the Germans. For the German army, the Jews that lived in Poland were as worthless as animals and they killed them without remorse.
Gerda mentions flowers on numerous occasions in the novel and she links them with the memory of her home and family. Because of this, the flowers that she mentions can be considered as being metaphors from the natural state in which she lived before she was taken away from her family.
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They learn that the war is just beginning. The Germans have invaded Russia, and the former Russian-controlled parts of Poland, including Lwow, have been taken by Germany. Gerda worries for her family and especially Arthur.