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Salinasís citizens responded to war with a mix of honor and idiocy. They imagined the war as heroic; but they got proof of its ignominy. They tortured Mr. Fenchel, the town tailor, because he had a German accent. They refused to patronize his business and eventually burned his tailor shop.
In a nearby town, a Polish American was tarred and feathered when a crowd mistook his accent for a German one.
This chapter centers on the war and how the citizens of Salinas reacted to it. They persecuted the town tailor simply because he had a German accent. The narrator is ashamed to admit that he and his sister participated in the persecution.