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The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief Chapter 48 Summary
Fresh Air, An Old Nightmare, and What To Do with A Jewish Corpse In March of 1942, Liesel and Rudy make plans for Liesel to steal another book from the mayor's library. They ride their bikes. Rudy wants to be the one to go in this time, but Liesel won't let him. They circle, waiting for the Ilsa Hermann to leave the library. Liesel doesn't want Rudy to do it because food is at the top of his list of priorities, not books. So Ilsa leaves, and Liesel slips in. She finds a book right away. It's red with a black title, " Der Traumtrager. The Dream Carrier" (48.30). Liesel thinks about Max's nightmares and his losses; she thinks of her own as well. She sees her brother Werner; she remembers seeing him on the step of the mayor's house (the day she gets mad at Ilsa). She slips out the window and Rudy and Liesel make their escape. They can't understand why the window gets left open. Death thinks it might not be an accident. Liesel reads two chapters of The Dream Carrier to Max, hoping the words will wake him. Poor Rosa. Liesel hears her getting really upset in the kitchen. She's talking to Hans. She afraid of what to do with the body if Max dies. There won't be any way to get the body out of the house without someone seeing them, and if they don't get it out of the house, the body will begin to rot and smell. Hans tells her he'll find a way to move the body. Liesel comes into the kitchen, and Hans tells her to go on. She tells them, "He's not dead yet" (48.47). Rosa serves dinner. This night, Liesel wakes up and notices "the height of her heart" (48.51). Liesel reads this phrase in The Dream Carrier a book about "an abandoned child who wants to be a priest" (48.51). Papa hears her wake up, but she tells him he's okay. Now she remembers her dream. It's almost the same as the one she usually has. She's on a train; her brother Werner is coughing. But, in this dream, Liesel can't see his face. She moves closer to him, and when she looks at his face, it isn't his face at all. It's Max's now, and she sees that it's Max's body, too. Now, she gets up out bed and goes to Max. She asks him to wake up. He waits eight more days. Liesel is at school when Rosa Hubermann appears suddenly in her classroom. She's dressed up, but her hair has some issues. The teacher is scared of her. When Liesel asks, Rosa starts yelling at her about a missing hairbrush. She yells and yells until she's able to whisper to Liesel that Max is awake. She puts the toy soldier in Liesel's hand and whispers a message from Max: the toy soldier is the gift he likes the best. When Liesel gets back in the classroom, the class is waiting for her reaction. She tells them Rosa is a "stupid cow" (48.79) and gets slapped by her teacher. When Liesel gets home, Max really is awake, holding the soccer ball. He thanks her for all the presents. Liesel is trying to be honest, and she tells him that they were worried about what to do with the body. He tells her not to feel bad. It's important for them to consider things like that. He tells her he's "afraid […] of falling asleep again" (48.97). Liesel tells him that if he does, she'll read to him, smack him, and shake him until he wakes. She reads to him for hours, from The Dream Carrier. Every time he falls asleep, she wakes him up. By the middle of April, Max is well enough to go back to the basement. So, things are better for Liesel in her secret, inside world. But in the outside world, there is big trouble. Death tells that, "late in March a place called Lübeck was hailed with bombs. Next in line would be Cologne, and soon enough, more German cities, including Munich" (49.102). (Remember, Munich is just a stone's throw away from Molching, and Himmel Street.) Bombs and Death are on the way.
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