The Book Thief

The Book Thief


Markus Zusak

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The Book Thief: Part 2: Dead Letters Summary & Analysis

Liesel keeps searching the mailbox for a letter that will never come, and it makes Hans sad to watch her. She keeps writing letters, though only the first one was sent. Another of Rosa's customers quits her services, and Liesel receives no presents for her birthday that year. She decides to give herself a present and spend some of the washing money to send the rest of the letters to her mother.
Liesel's first discovery of writing as a form of dealing with suffering. The letters are ultimately useless and Liesel start to suspect this, but simply writing them is a way to deal with the immense losses she has already experienced.
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Liesel goes through with her plan. She admits what she has done to Rosa and gets a beating with a wooden spoon, but even worse is her sudden realization (while lying on the dusty floor) that she will never see her mother again. Liesel stays on the floor for a long time, despairing, and Rosa apologizes to her. After a while Hans comes home and plays the accordion for her. Liesel's only memory of that night is darkness. She finally starts to accept things the way they are, and can then prepare for them.
Another cathartic moment for Liesel, as she finally accepts things as they really are. She is growing up and ordering the tragedies of her world rather than trying to suppress them. Rosa is an ambiguous figure again, violent but loving. Liesel gets more comfort from the accordion and Hans's presence.
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