Summary and Analysis Part 2: The Shoulder Shrug: The Gates of Thievery



Hans finds Liesel, and she, still upset from the man's speech, asks if her mother was a communist and if that's why she was taken away from her and why her brother died. She asks if the Führer is responsible for her family being gone. Hans says he thinks the Führer might have been responsible. Liesel says she hates the Führer, and Hans slaps her, then tells her that she must never say that outside of the house. Then, together, they stand and practice their heil Hitlers.


Liesel's recognition of who is responsible for the loss of her family opens the gates for her book stealing. The books represent words that she can take back from people like Hitler, who have taken things from her. When Hans slaps Liesel for saying she hates Hitler, he demonstrates his love for her by showing the extremes to which he will go in order to keep her from using words that will get her into trouble with the dangerous Nazi Party. When Hans tells her that she can say she hates Hitler in their house but not outside of it, he makes it clear that two different worlds exist — internally their familial world and externally the rest of Germany.