All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See


Anthony Doerr

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All the Light We Cannot See: 10. Entombed Summary & Analysis

Confined to the radio room, Marie-Laure broadcasts her readings of Jules Verne. On the other side of the city, Werner listens to Marie-Laure’s voice. As Volkheimer listens along with him, Werner admits the truth: he’d discovered Marie-Laure’s voice, and the source of the broadcast, weeks ago, and didn’t tell his fellow soldiers. To Werner’s surprise, Volkheimer says nothing. Though he can’t be sure, Werner guesses that Volkheimer knew the truth all along. In between reading Verne, Marie-Laure says that she’s confined to her radio room, and adds, “He is here. He will kill me.” Werner sees the irony of his situation: he’s kept this woman alive through his silence, only to hear her slowly die while he is trapped and helpless.
Even if Werner believes that he’s powerless to help Marie-Laure, he clearly still wants to help her. Werner has come a long way since he arrived in Saint-Malo, and he now seems to be acting totally on his own free will, having abandoned any duty to the Nazis—just like von Rumpel, ironically. Once again radio represents a fragile but important connection between people. Even though Marie-Laure and Werner are seemingly isolated from each other, and even both physically trapped and alone, they are still connected by this one small but powerful thread.
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon