Summary and Analysis Part 1: The Grave Digger's Handbook: The Smell of Friendship



The midnight classes continue and eventually Hans begins taking Liesel to the Amper River for afternoon lessons when the weather is nice. When the weather isn't nice, they hold class in the basement where, by kerosene lamplight, Liesel paints words on the wall. She decides that this is the smell of friendship, of her Papa and their time together: kerosene and cigarettes.


This chapter continues to explore Liesel's desire to read and master words, as well as her growing relationship and friendship with Hans. There is also a great deal of foreshadowing about the story behind Hans's accordion and how that story would soon arrive at their house, 33 Himmel Street, and bring with it even more stories. Death has a tendency to jump around in the story's timeline, alluding to events both past and present, but never fully disclosing his knowledge. Usually, though, he promises that he will explain later. These moments of foreshadowing emphasize Death's omniscience as a narrator as well as the power that he exercises over the lives of every human. While the accordion's importance is not revealed in this chapter, later Death shows how it is responsible for saving Hans's life, more than once, and how the same accordion will deliver another man from Death as well. It exists as a powerful symbol for many characters throughout the novel. For example, Liesel comes to associate the accordion with her Papa, with safety. Rosa sees Hans in the accordion, as well, clutching it as if it was him when Hans is away.