Werner, still trapped under the hotel, tries to use his radio to call for help. He can hear only static on the receiver. He turns and sees Volkheimer, sitting in the dark. He asks Volkheimer if he liked being called “the Giant” in school. Volkheimer says it was “not so fun.”
Here we get a little more understanding of Frank Volkheimer, one of the most complicated characters in the book. Like Werner, Volkheimer felt like an outsider during his time at the National Institute—perhaps this is why he’s drawn to Werner, as a kindred spirit.
Werner contemplates using the electrical wire in Volkheimer’s light to repair the radio. This could give them another full day in which to hope for a nearby signal. Werner also thinks about “using the rifle.”
Werner is contemplating suicide at this point. He’s been full of guilt and self-hatred for so long that he has few reservations about ending his own life now.