Study Guide

The Book Thief Chapter 57

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Chapter 57

Frau Holtzapfel's Offer

  • The next day Rudy and Liesel explore the damage to Molching. There's "an enormous bowl spooned out of" (57.1) the Hitler Youth field where Rudy was made to do push-ups in fertilizer.
  • It will be two weeks before another air raid.
  • But, two other things are about to happen. One has to do with, "The hands of Frau Holtzapfel" and the other with, "The parade of Jews" (55.4).
  • One day, Frau Holtzapfel comes to the Hubermanns' door. Rosa sends Liesel to answer.
  • She asks Liesel, "Is that swine of a mother of yours here today?" (55.9).
  • Liesel calls to Rosa, and we are given the fifth word from Liesel's dictionary, "Gelegenheit – Opportunity" (55.11).
  • Rosa comes and asks Frau Holtzapfel if she's here to spit on the floor.
  • Actually, she wants something.
  • She wants Liesel—to come to her house and read her The Whistler.
  • Rosa protests. Frau Holtzapfel says that in addition to ceasing with the door-spitting, she'll give Rosa some of her flour and coffee.
  • So, it's a deal.
  • It's arranged that Liesel will come to her house Mondays, Fridays, and today.
  • They get to Frau Holtzapfel's house, and she grumpily orders Liesel to start reading.
  • Liesel thinks, "This is my punishment for all the stealing. It's finally caught up with me" (55.40).
  • She reads for three quarters of an hour, and then is dismissed, with a bag of coffee.
  • She thanks Frau Holtzapfel and gives her a Heil Hitler.
  • Frau Holtzapfel gives her one back. She's a patriot and has two sons fighting for Germany in Russia.
  • She tells Liesel she'll see her tomorrow, tomorrow being Friday.
  • Later, when Liesel writes her story, she says she reads to Frau Holtzapfel four more times.
  • Then the parade of Jews will come through Molching, on the way to Dachau (the concentration camp nearby, past the Amper River).

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