why was grandmother unimpressed with father's new position as Commandant? what reasons did she give ?
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Grandmother, the only one who disapproved of Father's new uniform, had said to her son, "I wonder if all the performances I made you give as a boy led you to this. Dressing up like a puppet on a string" (90). Grandfather had encouraged her to be quiet, but she had not obeyed. Mother had tried to calm her down by asking her to confirm that Father looks handsome in his new uniform, but Grandmother was incredulous at the suggestion that how he looks would be important. Mother had told Gretel and Bruno to go upstairs, but they eavesdropped from the top of the stairs. When Father called himself a patriot, Grandmother had yelled, "A patriot indeed! The people you have to dinner in this house. Why, it makes me sick. And to see you in that uniform makes me want to tear the eyes from my head!" (93).
The issue of gender inequality arises in the character of Grandmother in Chapter Eight. She is outspoken about her strong disapproval of Father's new appointment to Commandant. When Grandfather tries to hush her, telling her they'd spoken about this before, she shoots back, "You discussed it, Mattias. I was merely the blank wall to whom you addressed your words. As usual" (91). This comment reveals that the inequality in their conversations mirrors that of the conversations between Mother and Father. Grandmother also represents the strongest voice among the female characters, who are the only ones with reservations about what is going on in their country. Maria must keep her silence because of her financial dependence on Bruno's Father and Mother makes small defiant gestures like protecting Pavel, but Grandmother spoke up about her disapproval. Unfortunately, because of her position as a woman, she is unable to do anything to stop her son from pursuing his career in the Nazi party.