The war has spread to France. In the Natural History Museum, the workers are frantically trying to keep their exhibits safe from damage. On the morning that Marie-Laure turns twelve, Marie-Laure’s father gives her the second volume of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, but no puzzle-box. Marie senses that her father is afraid, though he’d never admit it. Not too long ago, she had dreamed of living with her father for her entire life—solving puzzles and learning how to read Balzac and Proust. Now she has no idea what the future holds for her.
Just as was the case with Werner, Marie-Laure’s world is totally changed by World War II. Marie-Laure had wanted to continue with her studies and eventually move on to explore the world (basically shape her own destiny through intelligence and perseverance), but it now seems that history will overwhelm Marie-Laure’s personal goals and decisions, and she will have to run from the Germans, disrupting the only life she’s ever known.