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The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief Chapter 82 Summary
Ilsa Hermann's Little Black Book It's the middle of August. Liesel is going to 8 Grande Strasse to steal a book and make herself feel better. She climbs in the window and takes a book. She sits down to read, wondering if Ilsa is home. It doesn't matter. Nothing matters to Liesel right now. She thinks of her life, from losing her brother on the train, to coming to Himmel Street, to Max walking the road to Dachau. Death says, "At the center of all of it, she [sees] The Führer shouting his words and passing them around" (82.21). Words are beautiful and terrible. She wants the words to stop giving her pleasure and comfort. She doesn't want to hope and pray that Max and Alex Steiner are still alive—they are too good for this world. She begins tearing up the book she's selected from Ilsa's library. She tears the whole thing up then begins calling to Ilsa. There's no answer, so she writes Ilsa a goodbye letter. She says she's done with reading. She wants to "punish [her]self" (82.38) and so won't come to the library anymore. Liesel apologizes for stealing from her, for tearing up a book, and for being so naughty in general. She thanks Ilsa for everything she's done. Liesel exits through the window, sure she'll never see Ilsa again. She is wrong. In three days Ilsa comes to visit Liesel at home, wearing a dress instead of a bathrobe. Liesel apologizes for tearing up the book. Ilsa stops her and gives her a present. A black book with blank pages. If Liesel is no longer reading, maybe she can write. Ilsa tells her she knows she's a good writer; she can tell by her letter. She tells Liesel not to punish herself like Ilsa has punished herself for so many years. Rosa isn't home, and Liesel invites Ilsa in for coffee and bread and jam. Liesel tells Ilsa, "If I ever write anything and finish it, […] I'll show it to you" (82.54). Afterwards, Rudy is waiting for her. She shows him the black book. That night Liesel goes to the basement and begins trying to write. It's hard to get going. She isn't sure what she's doing, but she pushes herself. Death asks us, "How could she ever know that someone would find her story and take it with him everywhere?" (82.64). (That someone is Death. Finally, Death's gender is revealed as male, so we can start calling him "him," "he" and all that other good stuff.) In any case, that night Liesel begins her story The Book Thief.
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