Number the Stars

Number the Stars Summary and Analysis of Chapters 14-15

Chapter 14


Although the sun has started to rise, the forest is still very dark. As Annemarie rushes to the harbor, she reminds herself of the story of Red Riding Hood, which she has told to Kirsti many times. Although she can hear animals scampering through the forest, Annemarie is not scared—she has played here before in the daytime, and she knows there are no wolves. She also knows to avoid taking the road through town, where she will risk being stopped by soldiers.

Annemarie continues down the path, with Red Riding Hood keeping her mind occupied and her fear in check. She is about to arrive at the harbor when suddenly, she runs into four German soldiers. They have two angry dogs that growl at Annemarie.


Throughout Number the Stars, Annemarie shows a great deal of maturity and wisdom for a ten-year- old. However, she shows that she still has a childlike spirit in Chapter 14, and her innocence and imagination actually save her life. In order to keep herself calm as she travels down the dark path, she tells herself the story of Red Riding Hood, who also had to take a scary journey through the woods to help her grandmother. By returning to her childhood fantasy during a fearful experience, Annemarie learns that childhood experiences can be a source of comfort and therefore, strength.

In Chapter 14, Lowry alternates between the story of Red Riding Hood and Annemarie’s journey as she travels down the path. By doing this, she gives readers a direct window into Annemarie’s thoughts. She also shows the similarities between Red Riding Hood’s story and Annemarie’s task. Both characters must be brave to help their loved ones. Also, both characters are forced into dangerous situations where they do not fully understand what is happening. Like Red Riding Hood, Annemarie is helps her friends and family by drawing on her internal well of courage.

Chapter 15


Annemarie remembers Kirsti’s interaction with the German soldiers at the beginning of the novel. Kirsti, not understanding the danger the German soldiers posed, had chattered confidently. The soldiers let her go because they did not take her seriously. Annemarie knows she must do the same thing now. When the soldiers ask her what she’s doing, she explains that she’s bringing Uncle Henrik his lunch. The German soldiers ask more questions. If Uncle Henrik forgot his lunch, why doesn’t he eat fish? Why is there no meat in the basket? Annemarie answers each question rudely, just like Kirsti did when speaking with the Giraffe. The soldiers take each item out of the basket and throw it on the ground for their dogs to eat, and Annemarie behaves like a petulant child.

Just as Annemarie asks if she can leave, one soldier lifts the napkin and notices the precious packet hidden in the bottom of the basket. Annemarie panics, thinking the whole operation is compromised, but it turns out that the packet holds only a white handkerchief. The Germans make fun of Annemarie and let her go. When she arrives at the harbor, she finds Uncle Henrik on his boat, looking worried. When he sees that Annemarie has brought the packet, he is very relieved and tells her that she has saved the mission. He laughs when he finds out that the Germans fed his bread to the dogs, and Annemarie hurries home.


For most of Number the Stars, Kirsti's outbursts make Annemarie nervous, even though the little girl's behavior is simply a result of her childlike innocence. At certain moments, Kirsti has put the Johansens and the Rosens in danger, like when she nearly mentions the Jewish New Year to the German soldiers on the train. However, Annemarie ends up channeling Kirsti’s naivete when she needs to convince the Germans that is only bringing lunch to her uncle, not delivering an important packet to the Resistance. By imitating Kirsti’s rudeness and her tendency to chatter, Annemarie successfully convinces the Germans that she is not a threat.

In this moment, Lowry shows the importance of childhood innocence. Mama has tried to shelter her children, and in Kirsti's case, this has kept her safe from harm - the less she knows, the less she can potentially reveal. It also shows the importance of paying attention to the world around you. Annemarie act is successful because she has paid close attention to her sister’s behavior and knows exactly how the German soldiers will react.

Although the German officers in this chapter are scary, there are some important differences between them and the officers we see elsewhere in the novel. Like the Giraffe and his partner, they seem to be low-ranking enlisted men, assigned to patrol a quiet fishing village. Unlike the soldiers in Chapter 1, however, they do not have a soft spot for children and treat Annemarie cruelly. At the same time, they are not as cruel as the Gestapo officers that visit the Johansen house in Chapter 5. When they steal the bread and mock Mama, they are simply using petty insults to exercise their power over Annemarie.

Annemarie becomes a fierce Danish patriot over the course of her novel, following in her family's example. She resents the German soldiers for not bothering to learn Danish, and she frequently vocalizes her admiration for King Christian X. Insulting Denmark is just one way in which the German soldiers try to annoy Annemarie. They say that German women are better than Danish women because they do not spend their time on useless hobbies like embroidering handkerchiefs. However, Uncle Henrik’s comment at the end of the chapter shows that the joke is on the Germans—they may have given his bread to their dogs, but thanks to the "useless hobbies," he has been able to smuggle many Jews out of the country.