All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See


Anthony Doerr

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All the Light We Cannot See: 4. Trip Wire Summary & Analysis

Marie-Laure stays in the cellar, trying not to think about the fact that she needs to urinate. Eventually, she can’t hold it any longer, and decides to take her chances. Carrying with her two cans, she climbs out of the cellar and is surprised to find that there are no explosions or guns waiting for her on the streets. She urinates back in Etienne’s house, and then goes to drink from a bathtub (previously, she and Etienne had filled the tub to ensure a supply of water). She goes to find a knife and a brick to open a can of food. Just as she’s about to open the can, she hears the bell ring, followed by footsteps downstairs.
Marie-Laure is a resourceful person, and her resourcefulness is directly tied to her blindness (something often thought of as a “disability”). Daniel has trained Marie-Laure from an early age to take care of herself—to maneuver her way through unfamiliar places. Here, Marie-Laure shows that these lessons have paid off—she can maneuver her way through a war-torn city when most ordinary people would be paralyzed by fear. This ending is a “cliffhanger,” as it seems that von Rumpel has finally come for the diamond, but then Doerr (now flirting with the thriller genre) immediately jumps back in time, keeping up the suspense.
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon