The Book Thief

The Book Thief

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Summary
Analysis
Liesel sits and talks to Max, but he keeps sleeping for days. Death visits Himmel Street, but he doesn't take Max's struggling soul, and he doesn't see Liesel. Max opens his eyes twice but both times falls back into his coma. Liesel starts to read The Whistler to him. Finally Rosa makes Liesel go out and play soccer to take a break. The ball gets punctured, though, and Liesel has the idea to bring it back to Max.
Just like she will in the bomb shelter later, Liesel uses her books and her words as a gift here, to try and comfort Max in his sickness. This is an example of using language for positive purposes – to build up and inspire, rather than to abuse and control as Hitler does.
Themes
Death Theme Icon
Words and Language Theme Icon
Books Theme Icon
Stealing and Giving Theme Icon
From then on Liesel keeps bringing Max little presents from the outside world. They are small and seemingly insignificant, like a ribbon, a stone, or a feather. One day she writes down a description of a cloud for him. She brings him a maple leaf, and on that day decides to finish reading Max the dramatic, morbid ending of The Whistler. He still doesn't wake up, and Rosa hugs Liesel as she cries.
These small gifts are the kind of beauty that Death sees as the value in humanity. In describing the cloud, Liesel again acts like Death – noticing natural beauty in order to distract from or transcend suffering. Liesel continues to use her words as a gift and to develop her creative voice.
Themes
Death Theme Icon
Words and Language Theme Icon
Books Theme Icon
Stealing and Giving Theme Icon
Color, Beauty, and Ugliness Theme Icon