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The Book Thief
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The Book Thief Chapter 80 Summary
The Way of the Words
(First, the customary foreshadowing.)
Death says, "It happened in a small town of Hitler's heartland" (80.1). (The heartland is Munich and surrounding areas.)
Jewish people are walking outside of Molching and a teenager, a girl, is walking with them. (Now Death backtracks.)
It's a gorgeous and sunny morning. A new band of Jewish prisoners are being made to walk to Dachau. Liesel runs to Munich Street to see them pass through.
Liesel pictures Max as he's looked when he first came to Himmel Street and looks for that picture as the Jews pass.
Liesel spots him because he's the only Jew looking out at the faces of the people.
Liesel stops and calls out to him, loudly.
He hears her and says her name.
Liesel goes among the Jews until she finds Max's arm and takes it in her hand.
She trips and he helps her.
Max is amazed. He tells her he was captured on his way to Stuttgart (his hometown) about half a year before.
(Since this is August, Max would have been captured in February, around the time of Liesel's birthday, about five months after leaving Himmel Street. They haven't seen each other in almost a year.)
Max tells Liesel to stop holding onto him before they are seen.
But she's much stronger than Max, and she doesn't let go even when he pushes her.
A soldier with a whip sees what's going on and tells Liesel to move out.
Max looks incredibly afraid.
The soldier picks her up and throws her into the watching crowd.
She gets up and goes back among the walking prisoners.
When she's close enough for Max to hear her, she calls his name and then recites the opening passage of
The Word Shaker
. (See Chapter 67.)
Liesel continues to quote another passage, this one from when the word shaker wakes up to find the young man in her tree.
Max stands, and everybody stops to watch.
She takes his face in her hands.
Liesel is crying. Guards with whips come.
Max is whipped in the face. Liesel puts herself in the path of the whips and takes a lash.
She hears her name and suddenly sees Rudy in the crowd, yelling at her to come out of the procession.
But she doesn't. She lets herself be whipped again and again along with Max, until the soldiers make Max struggle on and the procession passes.
Rudy and Tommy help her up. She falls and her cheek scrapes along the ground.
She gets up again and starts running down Munich Street, hoping to get a final glimpse of Max.
She's crying Max's name.
As a soldier is turning to look at her, Rudy crashes her down to the ground.
She beats him and beats him, but he keeps her from getting up.
Death says, "Together, they [watch] the humans disappear. They [watch] them dissolve like moving tablets in the humid air" (80.96).
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