Study Guide

The Book Thief Chapter 39

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Chapter 39

Rudy's Youth

  • It's July, 1941. Rudy has been having big problems at Hitler Youth since February.
  • The problem is three-fold—it involves Tommy Müller's ear problems, an angry Hitler Youth leader named Franz Deutscher, and Rudy's knack for getting involved in situations.
  • If you'll remember, Tommy has had ear problems since he was lost in the ice as a younger kid.
  • Now the problems are worse, and he can barely hear.
  • During marching practice, all the kids are supposed to stop at the same time. Hitler wants them to move as one body.
  • But, Tommy can't hear the call to stop.
  • When Franz berates him, Rudy tries to explain about Tommy's ear problems.
  • Franz makes Tommy and Rudy do push-ups over muddy ground, so their faces get all muddy.
  • Liesel is on Himmel Street in her Hitler Youth uniform when Rudy and Tommy come on the scene.
  • Rudy tells Liesel the story and then asks for a kiss.
  • She doesn't give him one.
  • He tells her he'll kiss her yet.
  • In two years, she'll be in the basement, writing her story, wishing she could visit him.
  • She will understand that these bad times at Hitler Youth made them hungry for "crime" (37.59).
  • Apple stealing season is about to begin.

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