Study Guide

The Book Thief Chapter 14

By Markus Zusak

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Chapter 14

The Joy Of Cigarettes

  • As 1939 comes to a close, Liesel has adjusted to her life on Himmel Street. She loves Hans, and Rosa, too, even though she's physically and verbally abusive. She has a love-hate relationship with Rudy. Plus, her reading and writing are getting much better.
  • On December 17, Liesel is dreaming of Werner and the train again.
  • Hans wakes her, and together they finish reading The Grave Digger's Handbook.
  • It's dawn and Liesel and Papa go to the kitchen and look out the window of the sky.
  • Liesel tells Papa that her brother's name was Werner.
  • After this, Liesel is severely in need of a new book.
  • She isn't about to risk a Watschen from Sister Maria, so she doesn't steal a book from the class.
  • On Christmas Eve, Liesel gets a big surprise.
  • She'd been to church with Mama, Papa, and their daughter Trudy, and son Hans Junior.
  • When she gets home there are two wrapped gifts under the Christmas tree.
  • She unwraps them and finds two books. One is called Faust the Dog, and she'll read it thirteen times. The other book is called The Lighthouse, and she'll read it nine times.
  • Liesel wants to know how her parents could afford the books.
  • Hans reveals that he got the books from a Gypsy; he traded eight cigarettes for each book.
  • Rosa complains—she needs clothes and shoes.
  • A few nights later, Hans brings Rosa some eggs. He tells her he tried to buy shoes, but there were none left.
  • (Everything is in short supply now that the war is on.)
  • Rosa isn't upset—she's happy with the eggs and even sings a little as she cooks them.
  • These happy times will stop in just a few weeks.

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