The Reader

The Reader

The Reader Part 3, Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Michael is comfortable with his “both close and removed” relationship with Hanna, and is surprised when he receives a letter from the prison warden informing him that Hanna will most likely be released in the next year. The warden’s letter reveals that Michael is Hanna’s only contact with the outside world and asks Michael to not only help arrange a job and apartment for her but also to be there to help her adjust to day-to-day life outside of prison.
Michael finds his relationship with Hanna comfortable, as it allows him to stay connected to her (and ease his sense of guilt and responsibility) without being fully invested in her as he once was, or feel like he is truly complicit in her past crimes.
Themes
Secrets, Indifference, and Emotional Distance Theme Icon
Generational and Parent-Child Conflict Theme Icon
Reading and Illiteracy Theme Icon
The warden seems to sincerely care about helping Hanna, and Michael, who has heard of the “extraordinary” reputation of the warden’s institution, likes the letter but is wary about the future. Though he finds an apartment and a job, and researches social services and educational programs for Hanna, he is afraid that their past will damage the safe relationship they have now. A year passes, and Michael does not visit Hanna until the warden calls to let him know that Hanna will be released in a week.
As Michael feels responsible for Hanna, he makes logistical arrangements for her release, but he does not see her. Michael’s hesitation to visit Hanna in prison indicates that he is still not entirely ready to confront the baggage in their relationship.
Themes
Guilt, Responsibility, and the Holocaust Theme Icon
Secrets, Indifference, and Emotional Distance Theme Icon