Study Guide

The Book Thief Chapter 23

By Markus Zusak

Chapter 23

Enter The Struggler

  • Now Death is taking us away from Molching "to a secret storage room" (23.6).
  • In the storage room is a Jew. He's very hungry and very afraid.
  • The storage shed is in Stuttgart, one hundred miles away from Molching.
  • Max sits on his suitcase and waits. He doesn't know how long it's been since he's eaten.
  • He sleeps and freezes and is careful to move as little as possible, so as not to make any noise.
  • A voice wakes him by calling his name. He wakes back into the nightmare of his life.
  • The man apologizes for leaving Max alone for so long. He had to wait until he was sure no one was following him.
  • The man gives Max an "identity card" (23.19) inside of a book. (The identity card is a forgery, identifying Max as a non-Jew.)
  • He tells Max to put the map and the directions to where he's going inside the book.
  • The man tells him that a key is taped inside the book.
  • The man leaves, and Max eats the "bread, fat, and three small carrots" (23.20) the man leaves for him.
  • He's afraid the carrots are breaking his teeth.
  • Max drinks the water the man has left and then checks his teeth.
  • They are unbroken, but he doesn't believe it.
  • He wants to look at the book, but is afraid that lighting a match might draw attention to his hiding place.
  • He whispers "Please. […] Please" (23.32).
  • He hasn't met the man he's pleading to, but he knows his name—Hans Hubermann.

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