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Written by Callie Labrador
He was a wild boy and would not stay with us.
This quote bears witness to the terrible physical toll the war took on Edek. From a spunky boy who escaped the camp he was stricken by tuberculosis and barely able to walk as their journey continued. It is also an indication that Edek was so driven to get back to his sisters that he appeared to be wild when in fact he was a well mannered boy filled with and driven by desperation.
As he reflected on the punishment he had given the boy, he realized that for all his noble intentions he had only been scratching on the surface of a problem he could not begin to solve. A week's detention would not prevent Jan from stealing again. Could Ruth prevent him? She was a remarkable girl and, if anybody could help him, it was she. But after five years of war and twisted living, such cases were too often beyond remedy.
Afte Jan is caught stealing he is given a custodial sentence but as Captain Greenwood reflects on this he is not sure the punishment will have helped Jan at all. Jan is not a bad boy, but his living circumstances mean that he has to steal to survive, and this has been the case for so long that it is hard to see how he can ever untangle right and wrong in his mind again. He also only steals from Germans which in his mind is not wrong at all as it was the Getmans who stole everything from him and left him living alone on the streets of Warsaw. Ruth does still have a very strong sense of right and wrong and tries to instill this discipline on Jan as well but despite his respect for her it is almost impossible to reverse the effects of Jan's terrible experiences.
"He was sent to Warsaw to kill us," said Ruth. "I don't suppose he wanted to very much. If he were here now, he would treat us as friends, as you do, Frau Wolff. It all seems so stupid and senseless."
The Wolffs were a German couple who helped the children because they were in need of help, regardless of their nationality. Their son had been sent to Poland as Ruth observed to kill the Polish people but this was not what was really in his heart.Ruth realizes that all of the deaths have been so senseless and futile when it is governments who cannot get along; the soldiers who are ordered to kill and the people they are killing would most likely get along very well and have no reason to dislike each other at all.
If I'd lost the sword, we should never have found you again.
For Jan, the sword had come to represent more than just hope - it had become the talisman that would protect and reunite them all and without it they would not be able to find their happy ending. This was evident when he wanted to go back to the Wolff's house for the sword that he accidentally left there, almost as if it was an additional family member not just an inanimate object. Jan feels the sword is a mission for him and a reminder of his promise to Joseph to find his family.
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