Study Guide

The Book Thief Chapter 11

By Markus Zusak

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Chapter 11

The Smell Of Friendship

  • This routine—nightmare, then reading lesson—continues on into the summer.
  • One day, Hans and Liesel offer to deliver the washing for Rosa. Then they go to the Amper River, which extends past the town, toward Dachau, the concentration camp.
  • (Dachau was established in 1933, when Hitler took power, and was one of the first detention camps established by the Nazis. Read about the history of Dachau here.)
  • Hans plays the accordion. He looks perplexed by something, but Liesel doesn't understand the look until later.
  • The look is connected with the accordion, and the story is connected with the man who will soon show up at the Hubermanns' home.
  • The trips to Amper continue, unless the weather is bad, in which case they use the basement.
  • Since they are running low on sandpaper, Hans begins using the wall instead. When the wall gets too full of words, he paints over them, and they start again.
  • Sometimes Liesel hears Rosa telling Hans that he smells bad—"like cigarettes and kerosene" (11.58). (Kerosene is used to clean paintbrushes.)
  • To Liesel, the smell is wonderful; it's "the smell of friendship, and she could find it on herself, too" (11.59).

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