The Assault Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What are the similarities between the author Harry Mulisch and the character Anton?

Both the author Harry Mulisch and the character Anton call Haarlem their childhood home. Mulisch, like Anton, was affected by World War II. Mulisch's Jewish relatives died in concentration camps, while his father was a Nazi collaborator.

2. Describe the neighborhood in which Anton grows up.

Anton grows up in a small neighborhood in Haarlem, Holland. Four houses stand along a quay next to a canal. Each house is named; Anton's is called Carefree.

3. Describe Anton's childhood neighbors.

As a child, Anton has three neighboring families. Mr. Beumer, a retired attorney, and his wife live on one side of Anton's house. On the other side live Mr. Kortewweg and his daughter Karin, a nurse. In the last house, the reticent Aartses live.

4. Why does Mr. Steenwijk teach Peter and Anton at home?

Peter and Anton's father teaches them at home because they cannot go to school. Peter does not attend school because he is old enough to be sent to a labor camp, and therefore does not risk leaving the home. Anton's school does not meet because there is not enough coal to warm the building.

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