The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief Chapter 10 Summary
The Other Side of Sandpaper
- One day in May of 1939 the "NSDAP (otherwise known as the Nazi Party) […] marched" through Molching (10.4).
- They chant, "'Deutschland uber alles.' Germany over Everything" (10.4).
- (NSDAP stands for National Socialist German Workers Party. The word "Nazi," by the way, comes from German. It's the "phonetic spelling of the first two syllables of Nationalsozialist, National Socialist" (source).
- The people watch, clap, cheer.
- Liesel is with Rudy and Hans on the street.
- Death tells us that in 1933 (the year Hitler took power), ninety percent of Germans voted for Hitler.
- Ten percent of Germans did not support Hitler. Hans Hubermann is part of this ten percent, and he has his reasons (as we'll soon learn).
- That night, Liesel dreams of the brown-shirted Nazis. They take her to a train and show her Werner.
- This time, she not only screams, but also wets the bed.
- Papa helps her get cleaned up. As he's taking off the sheet, something falls from the bed onto the floor – it's the book.
- Hans reads the title out loud: The Grave Digger's Handbook.
- He asks Liesel if she wants to read it, and she says she does.
- In four years, Liesel will be writing her own book. In it she will write about how Hans teaches her to read.
- Before they begin, Hans asks her why she would want to read a book about digging graves.
- She tells him she took the book from the snow, near Werner's grave.
- Hans shows her a page and asks which words she knows. She only knows three, "the three main German words for 'the'" (10.7).
- Hans decides to start by teaching her the alphabet and some words.
- He has sandpaper for his painting work, and he uses the smooth side of the sandpaper as paper.
- He draws letters, words, and figures for Liesel.
- They study long into the night.
- Afterwards, in the dark, Papa sits in the chair in case she needs him. Liesel doesn't close her eyes because, "She was watching the words" (10.31).
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