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The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief Chapter 23 Summary
Enter The Struggler Now Death is taking us away from Molching "to a secret storage room" (23.6). In the storage room is a Jew. He's very hungry and very afraid. The storage shed is in Stuttgart, one hundred miles away from Molching. Max sits on his suitcase and waits. He doesn't know how long it's been since he's eaten. He sleeps and freezes and is careful to move as little as possible, so as not to make any noise. A voice wakes him by calling his name. He wakes back into the nightmare of his life. The man apologizes for leaving Max alone for so long. He had to wait until he was sure no one was following him. The man gives Max an "identity card" (23.19) inside of a book. (The identity card is a forgery, identifying Max as a non-Jew.) He tells Max to put the map and the directions to where he's going inside the book. The man tells him that a key is taped inside the book. The man leaves, and Max eats the "bread, fat, and three small carrots" (23.20) the man leaves for him. He's afraid the carrots are breaking his teeth. Max drinks the water the man has left and then checks his teeth. They are unbroken, but he doesn't believe it. He wants to look at the book, but is afraid that lighting a match might draw attention to his hiding place. He whispers "Please. […] Please" (23.32). He hasn't met the man he's pleading to, but he knows his name—Hans Hubermann.
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