Summary and Analysis
PART SIX: 8 August 1944
Marie-Laure hears a stranger enter her house. She recognizes the sound of his limp; she first met von Rumpel when he followed her to the grotto, but the narrative does not reveal that first encounter until Part Nine. She climbs to the sixth floor and then into the attic through the false door at the back of the wardrobe. Von Rumpel searches the house, not noticing the false door inside the wardrobe. He finds the wooden model of Saint-Malo in Marie-Laure’s room and concludes that the Sea of Flames diamond must be hidden inside. Marie-Laure hides in the attic, trying not to make noise even though she is desperately hungry and wants to open one of her cans of food.
Underneath the rubble of the Hotel of Bees, Bernd dies; his last words are about his father. Werner, attempting to shut out thoughts of Bernd’s death and thoughts of his own family, works on the radio. Eventually, he fixes it but hears only static. He scans for a frequency that is broadcasting.
Bernd’s story about his father is one of regret. He had gone to visit his father while on leave from the war but then left suddenly even though he had nowhere else to go. For Werner, the thought of making a selfish decision that hurts both himself and his family is nothing new. He feels he did something similar when he left his sister behind in Zollverein to go to Schulpforta, and when he shut her out of his life further by rarely writing her. Even though it is the thought of Jutta that inspires him to try to fix the radio, Werner shuts out memories of her as he works because they are too painful.
Both Werner and Marie-Laure are trapped in places with radios. These radios create an ironic sense of simultaneous isolation and connection. For Marie-Laure, who is afraid to make any noise because of von Rumpel, the radio seems like a useless link to the outside world. Initially, Werner’s radio doesn’t work, and even when it does, there is no way of knowing how anything being broadcast could possibly be of use to Werner and Volkheimer.