The Book Thief

The Book Thief

Summary
Analysis
That first night Liesel writes eleven pages, starting with her brother's death and finding The Grave Digger's Handbook in the snow. She falls asleep in the basement and Rosa finds her. Every night after that Liesel keeps writing. Sometimes she interjects the story with present actions, like describing Hans play the accordion, and how in some ways he is an accordion, breathing and moving and making music.
The story begins to come full circle now, and all the foreshadowing starts to make sense. Liesel's writing has become like playing the accordion for her, and the instrument returns as a symbol of comfort and Hans's reassuring presence.
Themes
Words and Language Theme Icon
Books Theme Icon
Color, Beauty, and Ugliness Theme Icon
Liesel is finished with her book by the time Death comes for Himmel Street, but she is still in the basement. Death wonders what she was doing when the first bombs fell, and he imagines her looking at the painted sky and words on the basement wall, or rereading the last lines of her own book – "I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right."
The last words of Liesel's book show that she has found some kind of resolution to her crisis in the mayor's library – through writing her own words, she has taken the beauty and ugliness of both language and humanity for her own, and tried to use the power of words for good.
Themes
Death Theme Icon
Words and Language Theme Icon
Books Theme Icon
Color, Beauty, and Ugliness Theme Icon