The Book Thief By Markus Zusak Summary and Analysis Part 3: Mein Kampf: The Attributes of Summer

Summary

Liesel spends the summer of 1940 reading The Shoulder Shrug, a book with a Jewish protagonist. She also plays soccer, reads other books on the floor of Ilsa Hermann's library, and steals apples. Inside one of Frau Hermann's books is the name Johann Hermann. Liesel asks the robed and silent Frau Hermann who Johann is. Ilsa says that Johann was her son who froze to death. Death gives his answer, too, describing the young soldier he collected from a barbed wire fence in 1918.


The inhabitants of Himmel Street continue to struggle for money and food. Rudy, in particular, is hungry, and Liesel is sick of pea soup. They join a gang of young boys who steal apples, and Liesel eats so many that she vomits, very happy with herself.

Analysis

In this chapter, more about Frau Hermann's motivations for sharing her library and books with Liesel are revealed. Also, Liesel learns that what the town perceives as Frau Hermann's craziness is a result of her grief for her dead son. When Liesel says, "I'm sorry," she is aware of how those are such giant words, but they don't seem to have much effect on Frau Hermann.

Liesel continues to recognize the hold that words possess over her; she remembers how they've been able to knock her to the floor with sadness and lift her up with feelings of power, which is what happens in Frau Hermann's library.

The apple stealing demonstrates Liesel's growing knack for thievery. The fact that she shares this with Rudy is important for what will become of her book stealing career later on.

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





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