The Book Thief By Markus Zusak Summary and Analysis Epilogue: The Last Color: The Handover Man

Summary

Death reflects on all of the tragedy and brutality he's seen in the world, the villains for whom he's worked. But then he recalls the beautiful moments, the handful of stories he's collected over the years that, like colors, distract him from the work he's doing. Death describes how he collected Liesel's soul, how he picks her up in Sydney and then sets her soul down so that they can walk together for a moment. He shows her the book, and she takes it, asks Death if he read it. They sit together and she asks if he understood the book. Death has many questions for Liesel, about humans and how they can be so wonderful and so awful. He wants to explain that he either overestimates or underestimates humans; he can't seem to understand them. But he doesn't say anything of these things to Liesel. Instead, he ends his story with the same words he spoke to Liesel on that day: "I am haunted by humans."


Analysis

Death returns to this theme of attempting to understand humans and trying to understand how they are able to be responsible simultaneously for so much lightness and so much darkness in the world, how their stories are both beautiful and horrific. Death and Liesel have been near each other so many times during the course of Liesel's life, and now they get to meet. Death said earlier in the novel that his heart is like a circle. In this chapter, Liesel's book travels its full circle, coming back to her. The girl who once stole books is having one returned to her.

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

After Liesel steals a book from the bonfire, what does the burning book against Liesel's chest symbolize?





Quiz