34 pages • 1 hour readKathrine Kressmann Taylor
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“You have never become American despite your success here.”
After moving to America, Max and Martin have very different experiences integrating into American culture. Martin has been unable to abandon his German identity and “become American” even in spite of his success. Upon his return to Germany, his residual German identity will be weaponized by Nazi propaganda, which will promise to help him become an idealized version of himself. This will make him vulnerable to Radicalization.
“To the family we seem American millionaires.”
On returning to Germany, Martin finds himself caught in a strange position. He is a wealthy German, but he does not feel integrated into his own culture. His wealth separates him from Germans, just as his national identity separated him from Americans. The economic turmoil that Martin hints at also helps to explain why Germany is vulnerable to a fascist uprising. The Nazis prey on vulnerable people, promising to make them strong. Martin may be an economic outsider, but he is just as vulnerable to Radicalization as everyone else.
“If I do not sell Mrs. Fleshman our horror, somebody else will sell her a worse one. We must accept these necessities.”
In his business dealings, Max reveals himself to be a pragmatic and not necessarily scrupulous person. He is happy to sell bad