The Book Thief

The Book Thief

The Book Thief Part 3: The Attributes of Summer Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Liesel and Hans start to make their way through The Shoulder Shrug, which has a Jew as a protagonist. Liesel also returns to the mayor's library. She won't let Rudy walk with her, and they curse at each other (which Death says is a sign of their love). In the mayor's library Liesel gets to sit on the floor and read whatever she wants, while Frau Hermann sits silently by the cold window.
Rosa's curse words have lost their abusive roots and are now a sign of affection between Liesel and Rudy. The library becomes Liesel's haven, just like books themselves shelter and protect her from the grief and suffering of life. Even as the novel expands (to Stuttgart and Max) Liesel's education grows.
Themes
Words and Language Theme Icon
Books Theme Icon
Summer progresses and the library becomes more comfortable to read in as it isn't so cold. One day Liesel sees a boy's name, Johann Hermann, written in one of the books. Frau Hermann finally speaks and says he was her son, who died during World War I. Death reveals that since her son died, Ilsa Hermann has made herself suffer by enduring the weather at all times, which is why she leaves the window open. Liesel awkwardly apologizes for her loss, and then leaves, pitying Ilsa. Liesel can't help returning to the library though, as she is falling in love with the power of words.
Part of the knowledge Liesel gains in the library involves Ilsa Hermann herself. Ilsa's grief explains her strange behavior earlier—Ilsa's suffering is of a kind that Liesel can understand. The two bond through this kind of grief, combined with their love of books. Ironically they almost never speak to each other, though they are surrounded by words. It is also ironic that Liesel is falling in love with language in a time and place famous for suppressing words.
Themes
Words and Language Theme Icon
Books Theme Icon
Liesel keeps playing soccer on Himmel Street and Tommy Müller finally stops being afraid of her. Liesel and Rudy start stealing together as well – the war rations are low (all they have is pea soup) and Rudy is always hungry, so they try to join a group of thieves led by a boy named Arthur Berg. Arthur is impressed by Rudy's Jesse Owens exploit and Liesel's school-yard fighting, so he lets them join up.
More stealing begins, and again it feels (to the reader at least) like subversion – all the food is going to Hitler's war, but there are still growing children who need to eat. Liesel clearly isn't bothered by stealing, but she is still figuring out her inner moral compass in such a perverse society.
Themes
Stealing and Giving Theme Icon
Their first adventure is stealing apples from an orchard surrounded by barbed wire. They are successful, and Liesel eats so many apples that she throws up later at dinnertime. Rosa is furious, but Liesel has the happiness of a full stomach.
Again Liesel can find childlike happiness in small things. She and Rudy become partners in crime for the first time, and they enjoy the stealing.
Themes
Stealing and Giving Theme Icon
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