The Book Thief

The Book Thief

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The Book Thief Part 10: The End of the World (Part II) Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The sirens start too late that night to warn of the air raid in time, and most of the residents of Himmel Street are sleeping when the bombs fall. Death describes how he takes the souls of Tommy Müller, Frau Holtzapfel, Frau Diller, the Fiedlers, Pfiffikus, and the Steiners. He especially grieves for Rudy, who seems especially tragic to Death. Then he comes for the Hubermanns, and Hans looks at him with his silvery eyes, unafraid. Rosa is still snoring, and Death reminds his audience of her huge, courageous heart. After the bombing Death lingers, and he sees the men of the LSE pull Liesel from the rubble.
The tragic fates of most of the characters finally come to pass. The reader finally sees how it all occurs, and what leads up to all the vaguely foreshadowed events. Death offers another catalogue of characters as he takes their lives, and the randomness of life and death seems especially tragic. For Liesel, this means that nothing (besides Max, maybe) of her old life remains – Hans, Rosa, and Rudy made up her whole world.
Themes
Death Theme Icon
Stealing and Giving Theme Icon
Color, Beauty, and Ugliness Theme Icon
Liesel wanders around, confused because none of the buildings are there. She carries her book with her, looking for Hans and Rosa and Max. Then she sees the broken accordion and starts to accept reality. She sees Rudy's body, and she drops her book and runs to him. She tells him she loves him and kisses him on the lips, but he is already dead.
Now the accordion comes to symbolize everything that Liesel has lost, and to act as a small representation of the tragedy of the bombing. It is significant that Liesel drops her book to go Rudy, but she is too late, and their first and last kiss is heartbreaking.
Themes
Death Theme Icon
Words and Language Theme Icon
Books Theme Icon
Color, Beauty, and Ugliness Theme Icon
Next Liesel finds Rosa and Hans, and she repeats out loud her best memories, and she truly breaks down at the sight of her Papa. She lays the accordion next to his body and imagines him standing and playing, and she thanks him for teaching her to read and saving her, and promises she'll never drink champagne again. The men from the LSE take her away then, and Death sees The Book Thief in the rubble. He rescues it as it is thrown into a garbage truck.
Liesel is now totally alone, especially without Hans, and she must take the things he taught her – to make beauty and happiness out of little things, to be kind even in the face of suffering – and construct a new life for herself. The fallen book seems so small in the face of such destruction, but Death realizes that The Book Thief is worth saving, that its words are an answer to the destruction wrought by the Nazis and by war.
Themes
Death Theme Icon
Words and Language Theme Icon
Books Theme Icon
Color, Beauty, and Ugliness Theme Icon