Summary and Analysis
Part 9: The Last Human Stranger:
One Toolbox, One Bleeder, One Bear
Rudy packs a toolbox to go steal from the wealthy houses of Molching, from the rich Nazis who stole their fathers. The odd item in the toolbox is a teddy bear to give to a child should he or she come into the room while he's stealing. Liesel sees him from her window and takes off after him. After walking, Rudy sets the toolbox down in the middle of the street and sits on it with Liesel.
A few weeks later, there's another air raid. This time Frau Holtzapfel refuses to leave her kitchen table. Michael goes to Rosa and Liesel for help. Liesel goes inside and talks to her, but she doesn't come. It's only later, when they're all in the shelter, and Michael is berating himself for leaving his mother, that Frau Holtzapfel joins them. When the all-clear signal is given and everyone emerges, they see fire and smoke down by the Amper River. Liesel and Rudy run toward the woods and find a plane. The pilot inside is still alive, and Death is there. Death recognizes Liesel from the train and sees that she's grown much bigger in the four years since then. He senses that she knows he's there, that she sees him in the pilot and she doesn't look away. Rudy puts the teddy bear on the pilot's shoulder, and Death takes the pilot away, noticing what looks like a black swastika in the sky.
Death admits that he was the Führer's most loyal servant during those years. He also believes that the human heart is a line, while his is a circle. He sees both the ugly and beautiful in humans and envies one thing about them — that they have the sense to die.
Liesel knows she can say certain words to Frau Holtzapfel to get her to come out of her house. She has to pick the right ones to move her, and in the end, it seems that she does. Michael, though, is wrought with guilt over leaving his mother, the same kind of guilt Max felt when he left his family and Hans felt when he sent Max away: guilt for wanting to live.
Death mentioned the plane scene in the prologue, but now he tells of the events that led up to Liesel's being at the plane and that the boy with her was Rudy. Death indicates the connection he feels with Liesel by stating that he believes Liesel could sense him there.
Death also continues to try and understand humans, how there can be so much beauty and so much ugliness in them.