In class we are reading a the book Refugee by Alan Gratz. This week, we talked a lot about the theme of power.
In the beginning of Josef’s story, Hitler and the Nazis had the power. They could arrest Josef’s family or kill them at any time, place or setting. When Josef’s father jumps of the boat to escape being sent back to the concentration camps in Germany, Josef has the power within his family. His father is stuck in Cuba because of mental issues and his mother is starting to go a bit crazy. They are not fit to take care of the family. So, like it or not Josef is the one in power. Another time when Josef is in power is when he and some men on the ship take the crew hostage to try to get them to turn away from Germany. When the group captures the captain and then chicken out when the captain says he will send them back to the CC camps, Josef is the one who speaks up and acts like the one in power.
In the beginning of Isabel’s story, Fidel Castro had the power. He could arrest Isabel’s father anytime he wanted to. When Isabel’s mother is very sick, and the Bahamas police tell them that if they step foot on Bahamian soil the would be sent back, Isabel is the one to speak up and say “Does anyone have aspirin for my mother?”. When Isabel’s and her family escaped the Coast Guard they felt powerful. When Castro broadcasts that any family who wants to leave Cuba by boat can, Isabel and her family feel like they have the power.
In the beginning of Mahmoud’s story, the war has the power. It can kill anyone, at anytime, in any place. Mahmoud and his family feel powerful when they cross over the border to Turkey. They feel powerful when they finally get to Greece, when they crossed the Macedonian border, when they passed the Serbian border. The felt powerful when they deceived the guards at the borders. When they reached the Hungarian border they felt like they had power.
Overall, the theme of power is common throughout all the character’s stories.