Summary and Analysis Part 8: The Word Shaker: Punishment



It is November 1942. Hans receives papers saying he's been accepted into the NSDAP, the Nazi Party. A few days later, Hans is drafted into the German army. The letter states that, as a member of the party, he should be glad to contribute to the war effort and should he not fulfill these duties, there would be consequences. Alex Steiner is also drafted. These are their punishments. Liesel examines her Papa's letter and notices the words, how forcefully they're punched into the paper.


The outside world is now coming after Hans and Alex Steiner. The Nazi Party is punishing them for their actions, Hans for giving bread to a Jew and Alex Steiner for refusing to give up Rudy. The words on Hans's letter are powerful in that they are responsible for taking him away; they are also physically embedded in the paper, which represents their strength and permanence. The words, and what they require of Hans, are something that - he can't escape.