1. What is the date and setting and milieu at the opening of this novel and what major characters are introduced?
It is 1925 in Germany which is a country suffering from high unemployment and hardships due to their loss of WWI. The narrator has just been born one week after the birth of Friedrich Schneider, the Jewish family which lives in the apartment above the narrator's family. The two families start to get to know each other.
2. Describe the first encounter the narrator remembers between him and Friedrich.
Friedrich visits the narrator's apartment for the first time when his mother must attend to business at city hall. The narrator is defensive of his toys, but is won over when Friedrich produces a twig he uses as a cuckoo whistle. They play happily and then help the narrator's Mother prepare potato pancakes, her husband's favorite, and a rare treat. The boys fight over the first pancake but then share it and consume the whole batch. Mother gives them a rollicking bath and mentions Friedrich's circumcision.
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