The Book Thief By Markus Zusak Summary and Analysis Part 6: The Dream Carrier: Fresh Air, an Old Nightmare, and What to Do with a Jewish Corpse

Summary

Liesel and Rudy return to the mayor's house. Liesel refuses to leave without a book. She climbs through the window and exits with The Dream Carrier. Death hints that perhaps Frau Hermann leaves the window open on purpose; at least that's what he wants to believe. Liesel reads this book to Max, hoping that words will give him strength. Nearly a month passes without Max waking. Liesel overhears Rosa and Hans discussing what should be done with a dead Jewish body. Liesel has a dream that night that she's on the train with her brother again, only her brother's face turns into Max's face.


Eight more days pass. Then, while Liesel is at school, Rosa comes to her classroom and pulls her out into the hallway. She pretends to be angry with Liesel for misplacing her hairbrush, and then whispers that Max is awake. That afternoon, Liesel reads more to Max. He's afraid of falling asleep, and she says she won't let him. Death tells us that the bombs are coming.

Analysis

Liesel attempts to use words to nurse Max back to health, continuing the theme of how words can wield physical power. Liesel's selection of The Dream Carrier reflects both her and Max's tendency to have nightmares, carrying those they've lost with them in these dreams. Liesel's fear of losing Max is indicated by her dream, how she imagines him succumbing to the same fate as her brother. The theme of secrecy continues as well; Rosa and Hans are concerned about keeping Max a secret, in life and in death, and Rosa must maintain secrecy when she goes to tell Liesel at school that Max has woken up. And Liesel fulfills her role as The Standover Man by watching over Max and helping him to remain awake. Death foreshadows the destruction to come.

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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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