Code Name Verity Important Quotes

Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity

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Code Name Verity Important Quotes

1. “I wanted to be heroic and I pretended I was. I have always been good at pretending. . . . After the ridiculous deal I made with SS-Hauptsturmfurhrër von Linden, I know I am a coward. And I’m going to give you everything you ask, everything I can remember. Absolutely Every Last Detail” (Part 1, p. 3).

From the first page of the novel, Verity/Julie weaves a complicated spell. She is writing a confession to her Nazi captor, but her confession contains much more than it first appears to. Embedded in her story of supposed collaboration with the enemyare code words that the French Resistance uses to complete her mission, and a beautiful homage to her friend, Maddie, and her family. The reader is completely drawn into the story from the beginning, despite Julie’s self-described cowardice and apparent collaboration, because of her funny, flippant, and angry tone.

2. “The warmth and dignity of my flannel skirt and woolly sweater are worth far more to me now than patriotism or integrity” (Part 1, p. 3-4).

Julie here explains a simple truth about what physical torture and deprivation do to a person. The human need for personal dignity in harsh circumstances remains universal. Julie takes pains to explain that the Geneva conventions governing prisoner treatment do not apply to spies; therefore, anything goes. In these first pages of the novel, Wein depicts graphic torture in order to paint a realistic picture of Nazi treatment of prisoners for modern readers. As the novel progresses, the reader understands that Julie’s narrative is both true and an elaborate lie.

3. “It is incredible what you do, knowing you have to” (Part 1, p. 64).

Julie reveals that bravery is partly just following through on what you must do, or what you’ve already determined you must do, rather than a conscious choice in each moment. Both Julie and Maddie display great courage, but they both downplay their bravery and attribute it to things other than their own character or choice. Both insist that they simply do what they must; they…

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