All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

Marie-Laure LeBlanc Character Analysis

One of the two protagonists of All the Light We Cannot See, Marie-Laure LeBlanc is an inquisitive, intellectually adventurous girl. She became blind at the age of six, but learns to adapt to this and continues to explore and discover. For most of the novel, Marie-Laure is a teenager, but by the end of the novel she’s an old woman. Marie-Laure is a warm, loving girl: at the beginning of the book, she loves her father, Daniel LeBlanc, before anyone else. After 1941, when Daniel leads her to the seaside town of Saint-Malo, she becomes close with her great-uncle, Etienne LeBlanc, and her cook, Madame Manec. Marie-Laure is capable of feats of great daring. With Daniel’s help, she trains herself to walk through large cities using only her cane, and when the conflict between France and Germany escalates, she volunteers to participate in the French resistance. In spite of the joy she gets from reading and exploring, Marie-Laure’s life is full of tragedy: the people she loves most disappear from her life, beginning with her father. As she grows older and becomes a scientist of mollusks, Marie-Laure comes to appreciate the paradox of her life: while she sometimes wants to be as stoic and “closed up” as the clams and whelks she studies, she secretly desires to reconnect with her loved ones.

Marie-Laure LeBlanc Quotes in All the Light We Cannot See

The All the Light We Cannot See quotes below are all either spoken by Marie-Laure LeBlanc or refer to Marie-Laure LeBlanc. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Fourth Estate edition of All the Light We Cannot See published in 2015.
Zero (August 7, 1944): Number 4 rue Vauborel Quotes

Marie-Laure twists the chimney of the miniature house ninety degrees. Then she slides off three wooden panels that make up its roof, and turns it over. A stone drops into her palm. It’s cold. The size of a pigeon’s egg. The shape of a teardrop. Marie-Laure clutches the tiny house in one hand and the stone in the other. The room feels flimsy, tenuous. Giant fingertips seem about to punch through its walls. “Papa?” she whispers.

Related Characters: Marie-Laure LeBlanc (speaker), Daniel LeBlanc
Related Symbols: The Sea of Flames, The Models of Paris and Saint-Malo
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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One (1934): Key Pound Quotes

He sweeps her hair back from her ears; he swings her above his head. He says she is his émerveillement. He says he will never leave her, not in a million years.

Related Characters: Marie-Laure LeBlanc, Daniel LeBlanc
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:

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One (1934): Mark of the Beast Quotes

She cannot say how many others are with him. Three or four, perhaps. His is the voice of a twelve or thirteen-year-old. She stands and hugs her huge book against her chest, and she can hear her cane roll along the edge of the bench and clatter to the ground. Someone else says, “They’ll probably take the blind girls before they take the gimps.” The first boy moans grotesquely. Marie-Laure raises her book as if to shield herself.

Related Characters: Marie-Laure LeBlanc
Related Symbols: Vision
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

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Three (June 1940): The Professor Quotes

“But I wasn’t trying to reach England. Or Paris. I thought that if I made the broadcast powerful enough, my brother would hear me. That I could bring him some peace, protect him as he had always protected me.”
“You’d play your brother’s own voice to him? After he died?”
“And Debussy.”
“Did he ever talk back?”
The attic ticks. What ghosts sidle along the walls right now, trying to overhear? She can almost taste her great-uncle’s fright in the air.
“No,” he says. “He never did.”

Related Characters: Marie-Laure LeBlanc (speaker), Great-Uncle Etienne LeBlanc (speaker)
Related Symbols: Radio
Page Number: 161
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Five (January 1941): The Frog Cooks Quotes

“Do you know what happens, Etienne,” says Madame Manec from the other side of the kitchen, “when you drop a frog in a pot of boiling water?”
“You will tell us, I am sure.”
“It jumps out. But do you know what happens when you put the frog in a pot of cool water and then slowly bring it to a boil? You know what happens then?”
Marie-Laure waits. The potatoes steam.
Madame Manec says, “The frog cooks."

Related Characters: Great-Uncle Etienne LeBlanc (speaker), Madame Manec (speaker), Marie-Laure LeBlanc
Page Number: 285
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Seven (August 1942): The Bridge Quotes

He says, “The war that killed your grandfather killed sixteen million others. One and a half million French boys alone, most of them younger than I was. Two million on the German side. March the dead in a single-file line, and for eleven days and eleven nights, they’d walk past our door. This is not rearranging street signs, what we’re doing, Marie. This is not misplacing a letter at the post office. These numbers, they’re more than numbers. Do you understand?”
“But we are the good guys. Aren’t we, Uncle?”
“I hope so. I hope we are.”

Related Characters: Marie-Laure LeBlanc (speaker), Great-Uncle Etienne LeBlanc (speaker), Henri LeBlanc
Page Number: 360
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehender

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Nine (May 1944): Sea of Flames Quotes

“Marie-Laure,” he says without hesitation. He squeezes her hand with both of his. “You are the best thing that has ever come into my life.”

Related Characters: Great-Uncle Etienne LeBlanc (speaker), Marie-Laure LeBlanc
Page Number: 431
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Ten (12 August 1944): Cease-fire Quotes

She reaches for his hand, sets something in his palm, and squeezes his hand into a fist. “Goodbye, Werner.”
“Goodbye, Marie-Laure.”
Then she goes. Every few paces, the tip of her cane strikes a broken stone in the street, and it takes a while to pick her way around it. Step step pause. Step step again. Her cane testing, the wet hem of her dress swinging, the white pillowcase held aloft. He does not look away until she is through the intersection, down the next block, and out of sight.

Related Characters: Marie-Laure LeBlanc (speaker), Werner Pfennig (speaker)
Page Number: 477
Explanation and Analysis:

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Thirteen (2014) Quotes

He kisses her once on each cheek. “Until next week, Mamie.”
She listens until his footsteps fade. Until all she can hear are the sighs of cars and the rumble of trains and the sounds of everyone hurrying through the cold.

Related Characters: Michel (speaker), Marie-Laure LeBlanc
Page Number: 530
Explanation and Analysis:

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Marie-Laure LeBlanc Character Timeline in All the Light We Cannot See

The timeline below shows where the character Marie-Laure LeBlanc appears in All the Light We Cannot See. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Zero (August 7, 1944): The Girl
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
...sits inside her home, next to a beautiful model of the city. Her name is Marie-Laure, and she runs her hands over the model, feeling the streets and buildings. (full context)
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
When the American bombers are three miles away, Marie-Laure hears them. Then, she hears something else—the faint rattle of a piece of paper blowing... (full context)
Zero (August 7, 1944): The Boy
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
At the same time that Marie-Laure is sitting in her home, an 18-year-old German soldier named Werner Pfennig is sitting in... (full context)
Zero (August 7, 1944): Number 4 rue Vauborel
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
We return to Marie-Laure (whose last name, we’re told, is LeBlanc), sitting alone in her bedroom feeling a leaflet... (full context)
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
As the sound of the aircraft grows louder, Marie-Laure feels for one of the miniature houses in her model. She takes off the “roof”... (full context)
Zero (August 7, 1944): Bombs Away
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Meanwhile Marie-Laure’s great-uncle Etienne is cowering inside the Fort National, just outside of the city. The bombs... (full context)
One (1934): Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
As the story begins, Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a tall, pretty 6-year-old living in Paris. She’s slowly going blind. Her father... (full context)
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
...To this day, the stone is kept on the 13th floor, far from visitors’ eyes. Marie-Laure asks the tour guide why he doesn’t just throw the stone away. The tour guide... (full context)
One (1934): Key Pound
Family Theme Icon
As a young girl, Marie-Laure loses her sight. The doctors can do nothing for her. Everyone in Marie-Laure’s community pities... (full context)
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Marie-Laure’s father tries to stay optimistic about Marie-Laure’s condition. He trains her to guide herself without... (full context)
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Marie-Laure’s father makes sure that his daughter is given as good an education as he can... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
On weekends, Marie-Laure and Marie-Laure’s father walk around Paris, enjoying all the things in it that cannot be... (full context)
One (1934): Take Us Home
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Growing up, Marie-Laure loves to solve the puzzles her father (Daniel) gives her on her birthdays. Each puzzle... (full context)
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
One day, Marie-Laure’s father presents her with a beautiful model of Paris. He instructs her to study the... (full context)
One (1934): Light
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Over the following weeks, Marie-Laure’s father forces her to practice moving about the city with her cane. She studies the... (full context)
One (1934): Around the World in Eighty Days
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Confident in her abilities to navigate the city, Marie-Laure counts her number of paces for every street. As she grows older, other children ask... (full context)
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
When Marie-Laure turns nine, she wakes up to find two gifts waiting for her. The first is... (full context)
One (1934): Sea of Flames
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
...that the Museum of Natural History is going to display a rare diamond. The stone, Marie-Laure overhears a man telling his friend, has been in the museum’s collection for many years,... (full context)
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Marie-Laure, remembering the stories of the cursed Sea of Flames, asks her father Daniel if he... (full context)
One (1934): Fade
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
In the days leading up to the Sea of Flames’ display at the museum, Marie-Laure is terrified that the diamond will curse her beloved father. She tries to convince herself... (full context)
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
On her eleventh birthday, Marie-Laure walks up find two new boxes. The first is a wooden puzzle-box, which she solves... (full context)
One (1934): Rumors
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
All through Paris, there are rumors that the Germans will invade France soon. Marie-Laure asks her father if he’s concerned about the German invasion. Although the Germans have already... (full context)
One (1934): Mark of the Beast
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
It is November 1939. Marie-Laure is reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in a park. As she reads, she hears... (full context)
One (1934): Bye-bye, Blind Girl
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
...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,... (full context)
One (1934): Flight
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
...of chaos. People pack their possessions, trying to flee the city before it’s too late. Marie-Laure sits at home, trying to concentrate on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Suddenly, Marie-Laure’s father... (full context)
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Marie-Laure and Marie-Laure’s father quickly walk through the streets of Paris. Marie-Laure counts her steps, carefully... (full context)
One (1934): Exodus
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Marie-Laure and Marie-Laure’s father walk through Paris, trying to find a way out of the city... (full context)
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
That night, Marie-Laure and Marie-Laure’s father sleep outside in the woods. When Marie-Laure falls asleep, her father takes... (full context)
Two (8 August 1944): Number 4 rue Vauborel
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Marie-Laure sits alone in her room, clutching the stone in her fist. She calls her father’s... (full context)
Two (8 August 1944): Down Six Flights
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Marie-Laure forces herself to stand up and make her way out of her house. She puts... (full context)
Three (June 1940): Château
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Two days have gone by since Marie-Laure and Marie-Laure’s father fled Paris. They enter the town of Evreux, which is in a... (full context)
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
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Marie-Laure and Marie-Laure’s father continue walking through the city. They decide to go to a hotel... (full context)
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Marie-Laure’s father explains to Marie-Laure that they’re trying to find his uncle, Etienne, Marie-Laure’s great-uncle. Etienne... (full context)
Three (June 1940): Brittany
Family Theme Icon
Marie-Laure and Marie-Laure’s father make their way to the town of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s Great-Uncle Etienne... (full context)
Three (June 1940): Madame Manec
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
As the chapter begins, Marie-Laure’s father is introducing her to an old woman named Madame Manec. Manec seems overjoyed to... (full context)
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Inside, Madame Manec feeds Marie-Laure delicious food—eggs and peaches. Marie-Laure is so famished that she eats everything she’s given in... (full context)
Three (June 1940): Occupier
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Marie-Laure wakes up after a night of resting in Saint-Malo. Madame Manec greets her. Marie-Laure asks... (full context)
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
In the following days, Marie-Laure asks Marie-Laure’s father about the German invasion of Paris. He explains that the soldiers have... (full context)
Three (June 1940): Etienne
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
It takes Marie-Laure three days before she meets Etienne. On the third day, she finds a whelk shell... (full context)
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Etienne greets Marie-Laure, and asks her if she’d like to see his collection of radios. He shows her... (full context)
Three (June 1940): The Boches
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Marie-Laure is trying to settle into her life in Saint-Malo. Madame Manec reports surprising news: the... (full context)
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Marie-Laure eats and sleeps well in her home in Saint-Malo. Madame Manec cooks delicious meals for... (full context)
Three (June 1940): Flying Couch
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
...surrender their guns without a fight—there are only about 300 of them, in all. Meanwhile, Marie-Laure bonds with Etienne. They talk about Darwin and joke about the English. Etienne tells Marie-Laure... (full context)
Three (June 1940): The Professor
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Etienne and Marie-Laure continue to bond over books. One day Marie-Laure plucks up the courage to ask Etienne... (full context)
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Etienne shows Marie-Laure the details of the attic. There is a gramophone there, playing a record. Marie-Laure can... (full context)
Three (June 1940): Time of the Ostriches
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
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Time goes by, and still Marie-Laure and her father Daniel don’t return to Paris. Marie-Laure is eager to return, and calculates... (full context)
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
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...is the “time of the ostriches”—everyone’s head is buried in the sand. All this time, Marie-Laure’s father continues whittling models of the buildings. (full context)
Three (June 1940): Mandatory Surrender
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Marie-Laure’s father has just learned that the people of Saint-Malo must surrender their radios immediately—anyone who... (full context)
Three (June 1940): The Wardrobe
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...on) at night so that the city will be invisible from the sky. One day, Marie-Laure visits Etienne in his room and asks him about his radios. Etienne reveals that while... (full context)
Three (June 1940): Bath
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Marie-Laure’s father has completed his model of Saint-Malo. The model will serve as a way for... (full context)
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Marie-Laure’s father reveals that he has received a telegraph instructing him to return to Paris as... (full context)
Four (8 August 1944): Two Cans
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Marie-Laure wakes up from a delirious sleep in the cellar beneath the house. She finds that... (full context)
Four (8 August 1944): Number 4 rue Vauborel
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...shattered. He notes that there are two mandated occupants in the house—Etienne, aged 63, and Marie-Laure LeBlanc, aged 16. Von Rumpel thinks about all the dangers he’s endured, and walks into... (full context)
Four (8 August 1944): Trip Wire
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Marie-Laure stays in the cellar, trying not to think about the fact that she needs to... (full context)
Five (January 1941): He Is Not Coming Back
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Marie-Laure wakes up one day, thinking that her father Daniel has returned from Paris. But this... (full context)
Five (January 1941): Letter #6: To Marie-Laure, from Daniel
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...he is in Germany. He claims that he’s being served “wonderful food,” and insists that Marie-Laure be polite to Etienne and Madame Manec. He concludes by saying, “I am right beside... (full context)
Five (January 1941): The Rounds
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Marie-Laure and Madame Manec continue to walk through the streets together, until Marie-Laure feels fairly comfortable... (full context)
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Marie-Laure wonders what has become of Daniel. She feels the model city he built for her,... (full context)
Five (January 1941): Proposal
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One day in Saint-Malo, Marie-Laure is sitting in her home while Madame Manec and her friends criticize the Nazi tyranny.... (full context)
Five (January 1941): Letter #7: Daniel LeBlanc to His Daughter
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...with jokes. He explains that he has an “angel” who is delivering his letters to Marie-Laure. Finally, he tells Marie-Laure that he’ll be able to receive packages. He asks Marie-Laure to... (full context)
Five (January 1941): Grotto
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In the summer, Marie-Laure spends time with Madame Manec and Crazy Harold Bazin. Bazin says that he wants to... (full context)
Five (January 1941): The Blade and the Whelk
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In a hotel in the city of Saint-Malo, Madame Manec and Marie-Laure sit with a man named René. He claims that he’s taken notice of Manec’s maneuvers... (full context)
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Manec and Marie-Laure go back to their home. Manec suggests that she and Marie-Laure need pseudonyms for their... (full context)
Five (January 1941): Alive Before You Die
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As Marie-Laure listens carefully from downstairs, Madame Manec goes to talk to Etienne on the fifth floor... (full context)
Five (January 1941): The Disappearance of Harold Bazin
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Marie-Laure, Madame Manec, and some resistance members are walking through the streets, planning to meet up... (full context)
Five (January 1941): Visitors
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One day at Etienne’s house, there is a knock at the door. Marie-Laure, Etienne, and Madame Manec all think they’re going to be arrested. But in fact, it... (full context)
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The officers ask Marie-Laure, Manec, and Etienne more questions. They ask to see the letters that Daniel sent to... (full context)
Five (January 1941): The Frog Cooks
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...following the police officers’ visit, Madame Manec is unusually formal and polite with Etienne and Marie-Laure, as if she’s hiding something. Sometimes, she disappears for long periods of time. One day,... (full context)
Five (January 1941): Pneumonia
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In the spring in Saint-Malo, Madame Manec gets sick. Marie-Laure takes care of her, and so does Etienne. Etienne is a tender nurse—he even reads... (full context)
Five (January 1941): Letter #10: Daniel LeBlanc to His Daughter
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Daniel LeBlanc sends Marie-Laure a letter in which he tells her that her parcels have arrived, containing a toothbrush,... (full context)
Five (January 1941): Heaven
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Madame Manec slowly recovers from her illness. In June, she and Marie-Laure walk, very slowly, around the city. Marie-Laure hears that Madame Manec drops off an envelope—she... (full context)
Five (January 1941): Relapse
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In June 1942, Marie-Laure wakes up to find that Madame Manec is not in the kitchen as usual. She... (full context)
Six (8 August 1944): Someone in the House
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Back in 1944, Marie-Laure has just heard someone walk into her home. It is not Etienne—if it were, then... (full context)
Six (8 August 1944): In the Attic
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Marie-Laure can hear a man searching through her house. He opens the wardrobe, but doesn’t see... (full context)
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Marie-Laure feels around the radio room. She notices Etienne’s old records, and his recording machine. She... (full context)
Seven (August 1942): The Wardrobe
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...death of Madame Manec, Etienne remains in his room at all times, and doesn’t let Marie-Laure see him. Madame Blanchard, a friend of Manec’s, spends time with Marie-Laure and takes her... (full context)
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...modifications to the radio room on the sixth floor of the house. Then he tells Marie-Laure what he’s been contemplating. Although Daniel has begged him to keep Marie-Laure safe, Etienne wants... (full context)
Seven (August 1942): One Ordinary Loaf
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The chapter begins after Marie-Laure has brought back her first loaf of bread from the bakery and presented it to... (full context)
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In the radio room, Etienne reads off the numbers on the scroll, and tells Marie-Laure that the information has been spread to Paris, and to England. He remembers what Madame... (full context)
Seven (August 1942): Fall
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Etienne and Marie-Laure continue undermining the Germans by sending secret messages via the radio. Etienne keeps watch over... (full context)
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...music after finishing a broadcast—Debussy, Ravel, Massenet, etc. Every night, Etienne ends his broadcast, wishes Marie-Laure goodnight, and then goes to his room to pray. He prays that the “horseman of... (full context)
Seven (August 1942): Grotto
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Marie-Laure misses Madame Manec. In honor of Manec, she continues visiting the bakery to pick up... (full context)
Seven (August 1942): The Messages
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...the Germans decree that all houses must report their residents. Etienne reports himself, along with Marie-Laure, and posts the names on the front door of the house. In the summer of... (full context)
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Marie-Laure receives another letter from Daniel. The letter contains the line, “If you ever wish to... (full context)
Seven (August 1942): Gray
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It is December, 1943, and Marie-Laure is 15 years old. There’s a decree that all non-essential personnel must leave Saint-Malo soon.... (full context)
Seven (August 1942): The Bridge
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...the town do a day’s work as penance for the soldiers’ deaths. In the meantime, Marie-Laure continues delivering bread. Etienne is surprised that the resistance fighters are still sending messages—he mutters,... (full context)
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Etienne tries to explain the resistance to Marie-Laure. He says that World War I killed sixteen million people. The war that France is... (full context)
Seven (August 1942): Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
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It is Marie-Laure’s 16th birthday, and Etienne presents her with a package. The package contains two books—both parts... (full context)
Eight (9 August 1944): In the Attic
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Marie-Laure hides in the radio room, desperate to eat something, and hoping that she won’t be... (full context)
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Suddenly, Marie-Laure hears the sound of the intruder. He is urinating in the toilet on the sixth... (full context)
Eight (9 August 1944): Water
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Marie-Laure hears the intruder walking away from her. She wonders if he is going to leave.... (full context)
Eight (9 August 1944): The Transmitter
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Marie-Laure feels her way through the radio room, and finds the transmitter that Etienne had used... (full context)
Nine (May 1944): May
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In May, 1944, Marie-Laure goes to the bakery to pick up her usual loaf of bread. At the bakery,... (full context)
Nine (May 1944): Grotto
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Every afternoon, Etienne makes a radio broadcast, and every evening, Marie-Laure reads to Etienne from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. One day, on her way home... (full context)
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Suddenly, Marie-Laure hears a voice, asking, “What’s in your sack there?” Marie-Laure can tell that the speaker... (full context)
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The man tells Marie-Laure that he wants to ask her one question—then he’ll leave. As the man talks, Marie-Laure... (full context)
Nine (May 1944): Agoraphobia
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Etienne is waiting for Marie-Laure to return from the bakery. He always times her trips to and from the shop,... (full context)
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Etienne tries to leave his house to look for Marie-Laure. As he goes to the door, his heart beats quickly, and he develops a headache.... (full context)
Nine (May 1944): Nothing
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Marie-Laure is standing in the grotto, answering the man’s questions. He has asked her about what... (full context)
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The man tells Marie-Laure that he’s been searching for “treasures” for many years. He wants to know what Daniel... (full context)
Nine (May 1944): Forty Minutes
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...Ruelle. Ruelle is amazed to see Etienne outside of his house. Etienne asks Ruelle where Marie-Laure is, and Ruelle is surprised that Marie-Laure hasn’t come home yet. (full context)
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Etienne stares at his watch—41 minutes have passed since Marie-Laure left the house. He wonders if she’s near the beach, but then remembers that the... (full context)
Nine (May 1944): Little House
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After finding Marie-Laure in the grotto, Etienne tells her that he’s forced her to take on too much... (full context)
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Marie-Laure notices that she and Etienne have barely any food left to eat—the war has taken... (full context)
Nine (May 1944): Sea of Flames
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Marie-Laure studies the Sea of Flames, which she has just discovered inside Daniel’s model of Saint-Malo.... (full context)
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Late at night, Etienne wakes up and goes into Marie-Laure’s room. He explains that he’s going out, but will be back very soon. Marie-Laure points... (full context)
Nine (May 1944): 7 August 1944
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Marie-Laure wakes up and hears guns firing. She goes to see if Etienne has returned—he hasn’t.... (full context)
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In the afternoon of August 7, Marie-Laure hears a knock downstairs. Without unlocking the door, she asks who is there—it’s Claude Levitte.... (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): Entombed
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Confined to the radio room, Marie-Laure broadcasts her readings of Jules Verne. On the other side of the city, Werner listens... (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): Fort National
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...thinks about his house, about his nephew Daniel, and about Madame Manec. He thinks of Marie-Laure and her love for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It occurs to him that every... (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): Captain Nemo’s Last Words
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It is noon on the 12th of August. Marie-Laure has only two chapters of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea left to read. She can... (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): Visitor
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...entire time. It’s also possible that Claude Levitte could have snatched the diamond after taking Marie-Laure away. And of course it’s also possible that the diamond itself isn’t real—it’s just a... (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): Final Sentence
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Werner sits in his chamber under the hotel, listening to Marie-Laure read the final chapters of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Suddenly he looks up, and... (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): Music #1
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Marie-Laure has now spent five days in the radio room. She takes a record, and plays... (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): The Simultaneity of Instants
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Marie-Laure hears the sound of fighting as she sits on the other side of the wardrobe’s... (full context)
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At the same instant that Marie-Laure is listening to all this, Volkheimer is walking down the streets of Saint-Malo, looking desperately... (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): Are You There?
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Marie-Laure, sitting in the wardrobe, hears a mysterious person ask, in French, “Are you there?” The... (full context)
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...divides into many cells—and eventually becomes an entire human body. Suddenly, we cut back to Marie-Laure and Werner. Marie-Laure decides to emerge from the wardrobe, and Werner helps her get out. (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): Second Can
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Werner has just helped Marie-Laure out of the wardrobe. He tells her, “You are very brave.” Marie-Laure and Werner then... (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): Birds of America
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Marie-Laure shows Werner the radio room: there are phonographs and records, including the records that Werner... (full context)
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There are many hours to go before the ceasefire at noon, Werner tells Marie-Laure. Marie-Laure and Werner decide to sleep in the cellar until this time. They lie down... (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): Cease-fire
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Werner and Marie-Laure wake up in the cellar and have no idea what time it is. Quickly they... (full context)
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As Marie-Laure and Werner walk along, Marie-Laure suddenly pulls Werner off the road. She says that she... (full context)
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Werner tells Marie-Laure that it’s time for them to part ways. He points her toward the city center,... (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): Chocolate
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In the evening after the events of the previous chapter, Madame Ruelle finds Marie-Laure, sitting in a school with a group of other French townspeople. The two reunite, joyfully.... (full context)
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On the day the siege ends, Etienne is reunited with Marie-Laure, and they embrace each other. Etienne tells Marie-Laure that they’ll travel to Paris, a city... (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): Light
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...Saint-Malo. He’s sent to a prison for Germans. Werner asks anyone who will listen about Marie-Laure, but no one has seen a blind teenage girl. In prison, Werner is sickly—he knows... (full context)
Eleven (1945): 177. Paris
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Etienne and Marie-Laure move to Paris, and Etienne rents the same apartment where Marie-Laure used to live. Every... (full context)
Twelve (1974): Laboratory
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Marie-Laure LeBlanc now works at the Museum of Natural History in Paris. She has spent her... (full context)
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Marie-Laure has a child, Hélène, who’s now 19 years old. The girl’s father, a man named... (full context)
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One day, Marie-Laure learns from her museum assistant that she has a visitor—a woman from Germany. Absent-mindedly, she... (full context)
Twelve (1974): Visitor
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Marie-Laure has just been introduced to Jutta Pfennig, the sister of Werner. Jutta introduces her son,... (full context)
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Marie-Laure and Jutta continue talking about Werner. Marie-Laure explains that she left Werner with the key... (full context)
Twelve (1974): Paper Airplane
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After her day in Paris with Marie-Laure, Jutta returns to her hotel, accompanied by Max. Max has had a wonderful day at... (full context)
Twelve (1974): The Key
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Marie-Laure sits in her laboratory at the Natural History Museum, thinking of Werner. She realizes that... (full context)
Thirteen (2014)
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Marie-Laure has a long life—she lives into the 21st century. One Saturday in early March, her... (full context)
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As Marie-Laure walks with Michel, she wonders about the city of Paris. Here in the 21st century... (full context)
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Abruptly, Marie-Laure finds that she and Michel have completed their walk and returned to her house. She... (full context)