The Book Thief

The Book Thief

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The Book Thief Part 7: The Idiot and the Coat Men Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Death labels Hans as "the idiot," and describes him sitting at the kitchen table, waiting for the Gestapo. Liesel is in her room, praying for Max. When the Gestapo doesn't come, Hans is almost offended. He is remorseful for what he did, but Liesel assures him he did nothing wrong.
The irony is emphasized again here – Hans torments himself with guilt over what was essentially a small act of basic decency. It is only in a supremely twisted society that such a thing could be so illegal and dangerous.
Themes
Death Theme Icon
Stealing and Giving Theme Icon
The neighbors start to scorn Hans. Frau Diller spits at his feet and Frau Holtzapfel calls him "dirty Jew lover." Hans stands on the bridge and looks into the Amper River. He accuses himself of stupidity, and almost wants someone to come for him so he can be sure Max left for a good reason.
The other residents of Himmel Street seem less sympathetic now, as they clearly have swallowed much of the Nazi propaganda. This serves to show how brave and unique the Hubermanns have been.
Themes
Stealing and Giving Theme Icon
Three weeks later two men in long coats come down Himmel Street, and Hans calls out to them, sure that they are coming for him. Instead the Gestapo walk past, to the Steiner house, and they ask for Rudy.
Death shifts the scene to Rudy with a new source of tension. Death has already given away Rudy's ultimate end, but not how he reaches it, and so the arrival of the Gestapo looking for him creates a tension—perhaps they will take him away and kill him for his stealing…
Themes
Death Theme Icon