Much of the story deals with loss. Which character do you feel suffers the greatest loss?
Most definitely, I would say Lukas. I know the obvious answer would probably be Millie, who lost her husband to suicide, lost Lukas for a couple of years, lost her close friend’s trust, was called a traitor, etc. However, after I thought about the question and the characters individually, I decided Lukas was the one who actually lost so much. First off, he lost his education and adulthood to become something he never wanted to become: a Nazi. Yes, he finally got to fly a plane, but had he really weighed out the pros and cons? (The pros being getting… Read more »
I think he also felt like he lost his humanity for awhile, as he felt a somewhat personal responsibility for the atrocities committed by the Nazis.
I agree. How could he feel any pride? Any integrity?
Well put, Wisdom. The utter humiliation Zoller and Lukas feel because of the the behavior of many of the Nazis (mass murders) was a foretaste of how much of the world would look at Germans. I have a young (40’s) German friend who once told me Germans are STILL embarrassed about the treatment of Jews and “undesirables” during WWII.
I agree, I think Lukas lost the most. His family was gone. He went back to a country in shambles. He had the weight of terrible guilt, realizing what he had helped do, so he lost any sense of pride and integrity. It’s apparent that before Millie’s letter found him he just spent his time drinking and wallowing in guilt. I wondered how many young men in Germany felt so rootless and betrayed after the war. Millie redeemed Him, But he also lost time—six years he could have been with her before the letter found him—six gut-grinding, aching years spent… Read more »
I agree. Loss after loss and Get he gets the girl in the end😊
Lukas loved flying. Probably more so than anything in the world, bf he met Millie. And then everything goes upside down. He finds his way back to Millie in the end, but he never gets to fly again. It a terrible loss, to lose a dream.
I agree. He gets the girl but his dream of flying is gone. What a loss
So many people lose in war but I think the worse loss is the humanity that the German survivors lost. The prisoners did not want to hear the stories of the holocaust and it reminded me of people today who still believe that it never happened. That it wasn’t that terrible. It’s amazing to me how terrible humans treat one another. I’m glad for the forgiveness shown by two of the characters in this book. We can all learn from them even if they are fictional.
The German POW Zoller suffered the greatest loss. He was a witness to all the inhumanities Hitler’s Nazi’s inflicted on the Jews, Poles, prisoners, etc., and understood the blame all Germans would face. He lost faith in his fellow man to recognize and act to stop the experimentation on, and slaughtering of human life. He lost the ability to feel pride in his fellow countrymen and his home country – and knew there would be no welcoming home or another country that would welcome any German. When he closed his eyes or was left alone, he relived what he’d seen… Read more »
Agree I forgot about him.
I agree. Thanks for writing this.
I believe Zoller lost the MOST. He lost his nation for fighting against its worst impulses, suffered th horrors of the concentration camps, was freed only tho end up a British POW and was excluded from his own people for understanding the long term consequences of the war for Germany.
I believe the character who suffers the greatest loss was Hugh.Real,true love escaped him.
We don’t know if that’s the case at the end of the book. The honesty that they finally had with each other allows Hugh to finally be let free and open to others. In Millie, Hugh will always have someone who cares and loves him, just not intimately. I hope that his path opens to finding someone else.
Love, or lust? What was he really wanting? Because in my perspective, if you love someone, you would want them to be happy whether or not they are involved in another relationship.
Good point. Love is hard and a choice. True love is as you described.
I would agree that Hugh has lost the most. His childhood sweet heart, and given the era, the Unlikely chance of finding another spouse with the adoption of Danny and the baby. He does however still have a family, with his mother to support and now children. It seems that all the main characters have lost much, but then gained. With the exception of the police officer who was at Dunkirk.
the police officer at Dunkirk simply wanted revenge. Hugh gained children. Loving children is a self less thing. He didn’t selflessly love Millie. He wanted to possess her.
He may have ended up loving the two boys. That is a different kind of love. She didn’t love him.
He also lost Jack who was his friend.
Hugh. In the end Luckas & Millie find a home in each other. Hugh lost the love of his life. He was a good worker & helped Millie with the success of her farm. Now he has 2 children which will be a wonderful thing for him i believe. But he still doesn’t have someone to share his life with on an intimate level that only a husband & wife can share.
Hugh. He lost Millie. Lost respect for her. Lost his friend. Nearly lost his life twice. But Lukas and Millie lost much as well
This question is a tough one for me to decide..I can think of each character losing in different ways…
I thought about this question for quite awhile and read the comments and I couldn’t choose one person who had lost the most. In a war there are no winners. The inhabitants of London who suffered through the blitz, losing family and homes, the soldiers on both sides who faced death, the Jews and other races that Hitler found inferior , I could go on and on. Actually it wasn’t the losses but the resilience of the people who faced them and came through them and forged ahead with their lives. They all had great losses but never gave up.
June and Zellar
I think Hugh lost the most. He wanted Millie so much and loved to have Danny around but he chose to have ‘a bit of fun’ with June and spoiled it all. He gained 2 children but in the end lost his dream.
Zoeller lost the most. People around him thought he was mentally unstable, all the while he was heart broken over the reality of the war.
Lukas had the greatest loss. He lost his belief in the goodness of his country and his countrymen. His loss of Millie was secondary. MILLIE was so important to him he gave up his beliefs to protect her and learned truths about his country and the inhumanity of this war.
I feel that Lukas suffered the greatest loss. He lost friends, he lost his innocence. He lost his belief in his country and felt the burden and shame of the atrocities committed by his country.
Zoller was a lost soul. He gave up on humanity after witnessing so many horrific situations. It is almost impossible to see him recovering from his ordeals.
I think there is a difference between those who witness loss, tragedy and horror… versus those who personally suffered the most personal loss. I vote for June…lost her childhood, lost her personhood through abuse, lost her home, and finally lost her life.
All of the main characters suffered a terrible loss, but I think I feel the most for Hugh since Lukas and Millie do wind up together in the end and find happiness. For Hugh it will be much more difficult. For starters he lost his best friend to suicide, and in the end he loses his great and only love, and will take responsibility for a son he never intended to have; a son who was the product of what he felt was such a mistake. I fear that though having a son may provide him with some happiness, he… Read more »
Lukas, because nothing in his life will remain the same no matter which country wins the war. His country has deceived him with propaganda that he discovered is just that. The only thing he has that is real is the love he and Millie discovered.
I think Hugh suffered the greatest loss. He had loved Millie forever.
Lukas. He has lost his national home, he lost his beloved plane and the hope of ever flying again.. he lost his heritage and the pride he had in this. He lost his self respect when he joined to collaborate with the British. He lost his freedom. Lost his beloved books, and scholastic and cultural company. Finally he lost all hope………..until the letter.
There’s a a sense of great loss for the 3 main characters, their loss is multi layered. For Millie the loss of Jack and subsequently Lukas , for Lukas the loss of Millie through war and beyond, but also his personal loss of identity with the unraveling of what was happening in his homeland, Germany. For Hugh there was the one sided love of Millie, unrequited. But to answer the question I believe Lukas was the one to suffer the greatest loss…. the disconnect with his homeland, the shame and guilt as a German is hard to comprehend.
I think Lucas suffered the greates loss.
Lukas. His character suffers the greatest loss as he begins his suffering right from the choices he makes in order to fulfill his desire for flying. Then, again indebted to the love poured by Millie, he agrees to do everything in his capacity to provide her immunity. When finally, he meets her – he again undergoes a great deal of suffering seeing her unhappy with her choices. But, I guess finally when she writes to him he decides to put an end to his suffering. Not by replying her back – but by ensuring she isn’t in a situation of… Read more »
Gyp lost his dog family, his first master, Lukas, the other people who lived at the farm, Hugh, Brigsie. Obviously he was devoted to Millie but dogs do feel loss.
I think of the German soldiers who had no choice in performing these inhumane acts. What were their lives like after the war? Did they ever have any peace of mind or where they haunted every day of their lives ? S
Brigsie, she lost her best friend, home, and self-respect when she protected Millie.
I believe Daniel suffered the greatest loss, his home, his parents and his friends. All gone at the age of innocence. How confused and forlorn he must have been.
I was thinking the same thing!
June Russell suffers the greatest loss, because she lost her life. Her husband killed her. I don’t think any other character’s emotional loss, political loss, military loss, social loss, or professional loss can compare to the loss of one’s own life through no fault of one’s own.
WWII caused great loss for everyone. Each character has had great losses. The Germans because of the Nazis betrayal, the English because of the blitz,and others because of man’s inhumanity to man. We still have learned nothing from wars. The losses can never be accurately calculated.
Danny He loses his mother, the only family he has, through an act of senseless violence. I knew immediately that Hugh would take him in and was relieved that this child would have a chance at a better life.
I think Hugh might have suffered the biggest loss. All he ever wanted was Millie and he spent so much time and energy trying to win her over the years. So sad that he let his own bigotry get in his way in the end. Because his betrayal as a man was less significant than Millie’s as a woman? Because June was British and Lukas German? So many reasons for his failure.
First I think June also had much loss! Her husband was horrible but she also made choices at an early age that caused the loss of her immediate family then her own self respect because of an abusive husband and being rejected by family. She lost it all with the bombing of London and then again a loss of hope after Hugh used her and blamed it on booze. Second I feel Lucas suffered because he had been deceived by the leaders of his country. He clearly felt responsible because he had a part in it. Plus he had the… Read more »
I think Zoller lost everything with no chance of ever finding peace or happiness. Hugh lost but still had a chance of finding some happiness. Millie and Lukas refound each other and with that love and happiness.
In different ways; they all suffered loss. Mille lost Jack, then Lukas. Hugh loved and never had that reciprocated by Mille; Lukas lost his country, his pride of his pre-war country, Zoeller – who had to suffer what was being done by the Nazi regime. In the end, Mille and Lukas are able to forgive and forge ahead.
I think they all suffer great losses. And I don’t necessarily think we can quantify those losses to determine who suffered the most. Millie lost her husband, but was she truly in love with him? Hugh lost the love of his life, but he gained the love of two sons. Lukas lost the pride in his country, but not pride in himself since he was able to recognize the atrocities that were committed. Danny lost his parents ended up with a brother and a new home that was more stable and healthy. I am more interested in how each character… Read more »
I think that Gary suffered the greatest loss of you disagree like this comment
Lukas lost everything important to him many times in the story but I was so impressed he never lost hope. The resilience he showed I feel like is not seen in the world much anymore.
Danny suffers much for his young age having lost both parents and initially leaving the farm. He has some recovery in the future.
He is a minor character in the story, but I feel that little Danny lost as much, if not more than any of the adults. As a young child he witnessed his father violently abusing his mother. He lost his home in the blitzkrieg. He came to love Hugh and life on the farm, but lost that happiness when his mother left the farm after the night spent with Hugh. Eventually his father finds his mom and murders her. He is a child who experienced things no child should ever have to face. At the end of the book he… Read more »
I agree that Lukas suffered the greatest loss—home, country, freedom, flying, He became a man without a country.
Zoller. As far as we know he survived, but he bore witness to things that kept him from connecting to anyone going forward.
Or if he’s too minor a character, June, who spent her short life running from an abusive husband who killed her before she hit 30.
Both characters wound up with very little autonomy; whatever else the main trio lost, they were left standing, both literally and metaphorically, and were able to make choices about where to live, what to do, and who comprised their families.
Actually, June lost the most because she lost her life. However, of the characters who lived Lukas lost the most. He lost his dreams of flying and of gaining more education. He lost his country, and he lost his love for his country. When he heard of the German atrocities, He lost his faith in the humanity of German citizens. Millie’s first husband succumbed to despair and Millie could not save him, however, Millie is able to save Lukas from the despair that would have overwhelmed him if not for Millie and her love for him.
I believe Lukas suffered the greatest losses from the loss of his plane and his freedom to the loss of his patriotism when he became a translator and the greatest loss of all-his loss of pride in his nation as he became aware of the atrocities.
Everyone suffered loss but how they deal with that loss marked them. Jack and June suffered the greatest loss, their lives.
Its easy to say Lucas or Hugh or Millie but that is because of their character development. Who really lost the most is June. How can what happened to these characters compare to regular “implied” beatings from a loser husband in a loveless marriage that ultimately results in her death. She lost her life, the joy of raising her children, the joy of seeing them grow, having their own children. Yes the others may have had emotional loss. But I’d take that any day over the loss of life itself.