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The Book Thief

The Book Thief

by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief Chapter 36 Summary

Pages from the Basement

  • For the whole week, Rosa and Hans dream up excuses to keep Liesel from going down to the basement.
  • Max cuts pages out of Hitler's book, then paints over the words with white paint. He writes the book and draws the picture with black paint.
  • When the paint is dry, he begins to make Liesel a book. It will be called The Standover Man.
  • (What follows is a summary of The Standover Man. The illustrated book Max makes for Liesel. You definitely want to look at your book for this part. You can see the words from Hitler's book, not completely covered by the white paint.)
  • The book is thirteen pages, and begins with the words, "All my life, I've been scared of men standing over me" (36.7).
  • It's the story of Max's life, in brief, from the loss of the father he can't remember, to the fighting, to the hiding, to the Hubermann house on Himmel Street.
  • It includes Max sleeping and realizing that a little girl is standing over him.
  • It shows Max learning that he and the little girl have some shared interests. There's a picture of the girl painting the words, "TRAIN," "DREAMS," and "FISTS" (36.15).
  • In the book, Max thinks they have made friends, and that the little girl gave him a gift on her birthday.
  • That gift, "makes [Max] understand that the best standover man I've ever known is a woman" (36.22).
  • The book ends with a drawing of words painted on a wall and a figure reading on the floor.
  • The morning Max leaves the book for Liesel, she hears him say, "A late birthday gift. Look in the morning. Good night" (36.31).
  • When she wakes up, she finds it.
  • She reads it three times, then creeps down to the basement.
  • Max is asleep, sitting up. She sits next to him and falls asleep, too.

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