Courage And Heroism In Number The Stars

Number the stars is a historical fiction based in 1943 by an American author, Lois Lowry, about the fleeing of a Jewish family, The Rosens family, from their home in Copenhagen in Denmark, during World War Two. The story is based around a ten-year-old girl, Annemarie Johansen, who lives with her family in Copenhagen. Number the Stars explores the themes of bravery, heroism, and true friendship. In the novel, courage is shown by the individuals as well as heroism.

Annemarie, the main character, learns the true meaning of bravery. At first, she was unsure whether she has the nerve to stand up for what she believes. When Annemarie is informed that her friend Ellen and her family are going to be “relocated” by the Nazi soldiers, she helps them escape from Denmark, risking her own life and safety multiple times. Annemarie quickly learns that any ordinary person can be brave when they are called to do. She learns from her uncle Henrick “It is much easier to be brave if you do not know everything. And so your mama does not know everything. Neither do I. We only know what we need to know,” that even brave people get frightened and if you are determined to stand up for what you believe, you will not care about or even consider the dangers. Annemarie is, like her close friend Ellen, a young ten-year-old Danish girl. Annemarie, like many people from Denmark, is blonde. Her family is helping hiding Ellen. Annemarie faces soldiers, protects and hides Ellen's Star of David necklace, and ultimately delivers an important handkerchief to confuse Nazi dogs.

Some other characters who were put in a situation and showed heroism that we could point out are: Ellen, who is Annemarie Johansen's close friend, is one of the many Jews wanted by the Nazi that are in Denmark. Ellen is different as her dark hair and Star of David necklace. When they learn the Nazis are planning to deport Jews, Ellen's parents leave her with the Johansen’s. Ellen is then made to pretend to be Lise, the Johansens daughter who has died.

Mrs Johansen, she takes the train with Annemarie and Ellen to her brother Henrik's house where Ellen can be moved out of the country to Sweden. She lied to the Nazi soldiers and got injured in helping the Jews escape. She has a continuing source of hope, strength, and courage that she shows to her family and friends.

Mr Johansen, he helps protect and take care of Ellen, and he remains positive although the war was happening. He uses words of comfort to show Annemarie his faith in the understanding of good to overcome evil, and his actions and behaviour are in keeping with his words.

Uncle Henrik helps to get transport many Jews to safety in Sweden and helps them feel comfortable in the process. He also helps his niece, Annemarie, to understand better the concept of courage and its importance in times of difficulty.

Peter is the Johansen family's only connection to the Resistance. As the family's late-night guest, Peter often appears with unauthorized items. His dedication to the Resistance is seen in both his risk-taking and his burst of anger at the Nazi soldiers at Uncle Henrik's house. Peter is both passionate, caring and kind, and Annemarie admires him.

Heroism is a central theme in Number the Stars. Annemarie's theory that 'an ordinary person would never be called on for courage' is shown throughout this novel. Especially in a time of war, life calls upon everyone to be brave. Annemarie and Ellen have witnessed plenty of examples of bravery from their parents. The Rosens had to hide and leave Ellen in the safety of the Johansens. The Johansens boldly lie to the Nazi soldiers about Ellen's identity. Peter, who was engaged to Annemarie's sister Lise, brings the Johansens copies of the Resistance newspaper. The rabbi tells his people to flee because of the coming raids.

Bravery is necessary, and many ordinary citizens are doing things they would never have dreamed of previous to World War Two. Number the Stars is an excellent representation of heroism, and throughout the text, it shows many different types of bravery.

16 December 2021
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