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The Book Thief

Markus Zusak

Summary and Analysis Part 2: The Shoulder Shrug: A Girl Made of Darkness

Summary

Death offers a glimpse of what will become Liesel's second stolen book. The first book she stole was on January 13, 1939. The second: April 20, 1940. He tells us that she takes this book, The Shoulder Shrug, during a book-burning event on the Führer's birthday. She steals it out of anger and hatred, feelings that Liesel associates with Himmel Street, her mother, and the Führer.


Analysis

Death describes how Liesel's second act of thievery propels the events of the story that are yet to come, an act that is preceded still by her hunger for words. Liesel is beginning to understand that her situation — the loss of her mother and brother — is linked somehow to the Führer. Hitler is using his own words to feed and persuade the nation while burning any other words — books — that represent different, contrary ideas. Death tells us that Liesel's anger and darkness fuels her desire to steal this book — her anger toward Hitler and the loss of her family, and the darkness that she's experiencing in her life from these losses.