Study Guide

The Book Thief Chapter 60

By Markus Zusak

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Chapter 60

The Idiot And The Coat Men

  • It's the same night. We are told that Hans, who Death is now calling "the idiot" (60.1) (probably referring to how Hans feels about himself), is having some coffee, waiting for someone to come and arrest him.
  • Rosa tries to make him go to bed, but he doesn't listen.
  • He keeps saying, "What have I done?" (60.6).
  • He's out of cigarettes, and Liesel can't think of a way to help him.
  • She goes to her room and prays Max will survive.
  • In the morning, she finds Hans asleep in the kitchen, still waiting for them to come for him.
  • He's truly upset that he hasn't been arrested.
  • Liesel says, "You can't have known that they wouldn't come, Papa" (60.22).
  • He says, "I should have known not to give that man some bread. I just didn't think" (60.23).
  • Liesel tells him he's innocent of wrongdoing.
  • It doesn't help.
  • Four days later Hans returns from the river with the note.
  • Another week goes by.
  • Liesel sees Hans walking by the river on many occasions.
  • We are given the eight word from Liesel's dictionary, "Nachtrauern – Regret" (60.36).
  • One day, at the river, Liesel asks Hans if he's seen Max.
  • They look into the river and see the shape of his face in the water.
  • Hans calls himself "an idiot" (60.33).
  • A year later she will find the words for him: "You're just a man" (60.35). She will wish she'd had them at this moment.
  • Hans admits he wants to be arrested. What's killing him is "waiting" (60.37).
  • Why does he want to be arrested? If he's arrested, it will show that "Max Vandenburg left his house for a good reason" (60.38).
  • Three weeks from the night Max leaves, Hans thinks it's finally going to happen. His arrest.
  • Liesel shows him: men in black overcoats, the Gestapo (German Secret Police) are coming down the street.
  • They pass the Hubermann house. Hans calls out to them, "Hey. I'm right here. It's me you want. I live in this one" (60.50).
  • They tell him he's not young enough for what they want.
  • They go next door. To the Steiner's house.
  • We are told, "The coat men want Rudy" (60.58).

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