116 pages 3 hours read

Alan Gratz

Projekt 1065

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2016

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Character Analysis

Michael O’Shaunessey

Thirteen-year-old Michael, the son of the Irish ambassador to Germany, lives in Berlin with his parents in the midst of World War II. While Ireland is officially neutral, Michael’s ambassador father and spy mother are secretly working for the Allies, and they include young Michael in their missions. Forced to witness the atrocious actions of the Nazis around him, and to risk his own safety to fight on the side of freedom, Michael is already more mature than most boys of his age; however, by the end of the novel, he has progressed from viewing his spy missions as a “game” (230) and understands that real and terrible sacrifices are necessary for the greater good.

As a young boy growing up in a war zone, Michael focuses his energy more on fighting cruelty and injustice, rather than the personal goals and desire for an individual identity that would occupy the average 13-year-old boy. Since Michael and his parents witnessed the “horror” (3) of Kristallnacht in 1938, when Nazis began to round up, beat and kill innocent Jews, Michael has known the Nazis must be stopped at all costs; however, he is not fully able to comprehend why his parents refused to help one particular Jewish man on that night.

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