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The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief Chapter 75 Summary
One Toolbox, One Bleeder, One Bear Rudy has been getting more and more angry that his father is at war. When Hans comes back, it increases. He decides to take some action. Rudy gets his toolbox. It's pretty big. Inside it Rudy has a knife, a flashlight, two hammers, a towel, a screwdriver, a ski mask, socks, and a stuffed bear. Liesel is working in the kitchen and sees him from the window. She can see he has the need to thieve, and she goes out to him. Rudy tells Liesel he doesn't think she's a real thief. Stealing books from a library with an open window, from a woman who leaves you cookies, isn't really stealing. Still Rudy tells her he understands that "It feels good […] to steal back" (75.14). Liesel wants to know what's in the toolbox. He explains the uses of the various items—the hammers are for breaking windows. She isn't sure how the teddy bear fits in to this. He's says it's to give to a little kid, if a little kid sees him breaking in somewhere. A quarter of an hour, Liesel sees that the need to thieve has gone out of him. He wants to, but it just isn't in him. They are among the rich streets. When they get to a street called Gelb Strasse. Rudy takes off his shoes and gets his socks wet. Liesel and Rudy are sitting in the middle of the street. Rudy takes of his wet socks, and leaves them in the road. He says, "I guess I'm better at leaving things behind than stealing them" (75.21). Several weeks after this, the tool box proves useful. Rudy uses it to store things important to the family, and he plans to take it with him on the next air raid. He still keeps the teddy bear in the box. On March 9, 1943, the sirens alert Himmel Street to another air raid. Rudy heads for the shelter. Michael Holtzapfel comes to Liesel and Rosa, begging them to help him. His mother won't leave the house to go the bomb shelter. Rosa tries yelling at her to get her to come. Liesel begs her, reminding her that one of her sons is still living. But nothing works, and Liesel leaves her there in the kitchen and runs to the shelter. In the bomb shelter, Michael is moaning and torn with guilt
for leaving his mother. Rosa comforts him, saying that he shouldn't blame himself. He ask Rosa, "Why do I want to live? I shouldn't want to but I do" (75.52). Now he cries intensely on Rosa's shoulder. And then Frau Holtzapfel comes into the shelter. Michael apologizes for leaving her there, but she only comments that his hand has begun to bleed again. Liesel begins reading. She gets through forty-five pages while the bombs drop on Munich all night. When the sirens tell them it's safe to go back home, Death has just "picked up over two hundred murdered souls" (75.57). Death is coming to Molching to get another one. Rudy's youngest sister points out an airplane falling from the sky. Rudy rushes to the Amper River and sees the plane, toolbox in hand. Liesel follows. Death shows up and sees Rudy approach the plane. Liesel is right behind him. Rudy realizes the pilot is still alive. Death recognizes Liesel—the book thief from all those years ago. She looks Death in the face. Death thinks she recognizes it, too. Death and Liesel watch as Rudy takes the teddy bear and puts it on the dying pilot's shoulder. The pilot thanks him, in English, but Death takes the pilot before he can provide Rudy with the German translation. (Do you remember the prelude to this chapter, Chapter 3? If not, you might want to go back and check it out, just for fun.)
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