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The Book Thief

The Book Thief


by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief Chapter 3 Summary

The Eclipse

  • Death is having another flashback. This time, the sky is black, and it's the darkest part of the night before morning.
  • This time the dead person is a 24-year-old man.
  • Death sees a crashed airplane, smoking.
  • Then Death sees a boy approach the airplane, carrying a toolbox.
  • Then Death sees the book thief.
  • The boy takes a teddy bear from the tool box and puts it on the dying pilot's chest.
  • Then death takes the dead man's soul.
  • The sky is dark, and there's a big crowd.
  • The dead pilot's face is locked in a grin, and his uniform contrasts with the sky.
  • ...until everything goes black. It's not unusual for Death to see an eclipse when someone dies. In fact, he's "seen millions" of eclipses, more than he wishes "to remember" (3.23).
  • (Feeling confused about where this story is taking place, in time and place? Don't worry. It will all come clear as the story progresses. Still, sometimes a bit of historical context at the outset can help. So, feel free to check out "Setting" to help yourself get oriented.)
  • And one more thing, we learn what this chapter means near the end of the novel... so don't forget about it.

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