After the 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 to Manec’s funeral service.
At this point, we can guess that Etienne’s agoraphobia is partly a reflection of his sadness at having lost so many of his loved ones—whenever something tragic happens, he refuses to leave his room.
Weeks after Madame Manec’s funeral, Etienne gets an electric saw from his cellar, and uses it to make 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 Marie-Laure to help him fight alongside the resistance against the Germans. Every day, Marie-Laure will walk to the bakery, ask Madame Ruelle for a loaf, and bring it back to the house. Then Etienne will open the loaf, extract the papers printed with numbers from inside, and broadcast this information over his secret radio. Marie-Laure is eager to participate in this venture: she says that Manec would have wanted her to do so.
In spite of his fears and trauma, Etienne agrees to help Marie-Laure, perhaps inspired by Madame Manec’s bravery. Marie-Laure also remains a steadfastly positive character—she is young, but she bravely disobeys the Nazis and does what she knows to be right. We can sense the two storylines getting closer together in this section as well, as Etienne is now broadcasting new information which might reach Werner’s ears and be familiar to him.