Study Guide

The Displaced Person Warfare

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"Time marches on!" (1.10)

This is the phrase that Mrs. Shortley remembers from the newsreel she sees of some Holocaust victims. Click here to explore the kinds of newsreels she describes, and to see how the phrase was used in them.

"She in a camp three year." (2.57)

Mr. Guizac tries to explain to Mrs. McIntyre just how desperate his cousin's situation is. Mrs. McIntyre doesn't care. She is more worried about the scandal an interracial marriage would create than the tragedy of a young girl dying in a prison camp.

"My obligation is to the people who have done something for their country, not to the ones who just come over to take advantage of what they can get." (3.35)

We seriously doubt that Mrs. McIntyre feels any particular loyalty to Mr. Shortley because he fought in World War I. She will use anything as an excuse to justify her actions. War happens to be convenient for this occasion.

"It's a hand grenade come that near to killing me and I seen who throwed it – little man with eyeglasses just like his." (3.51)

Mr. Shortley is talking about Mr. Guizac's glasses. He's using his experiences in World War I as authority for his views on Mr. Guizac. In the same way his wife uses newsreel footage to create an imaginary Europe, Mr. Guizac uses his experiences in Europe in the war to imagine that all Europeans want to kill him.

[…] and he she heard the little noise the Pole made as the tractor wheel broke his backbone. (3.62)

The bitter irony here is that the Shortleys were afraid that Mr. Guizac would murder them because all Europeans are murderers. Sadly, the murderers were right there at home all along.

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