Study Guide

The Book Thief Chapter 64

By Markus Zusak

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Chapter 64

The Promise Keeper's Wife

  • First, we get a preview: in six hours Hans will be gone. He's telling Liesel that he wowed a crowd with his accordion playing.
  • Other than the sip of champagne this summer, Hans hasn't any drinks in a decade.
  • Their wives protest, but Alex and Hans go to the bar.
  • Before Hans gets drunk he plays "Gloomy Sunday – the anthem of suicide from Hungary" (64.4).
  • The crowd wowed. Liesel imagines the scene.
  • Coming home drunk, Hans accidentally tries to get into Frau Holtzapfel's house instead of his own.
  • She curses him.
  • When Papa comes in and stands in Liesel's doorway, she asks, "Is that you?"
  • He says that it's him, knowing she's thinking of Max.
  • It almost nine, the next day.
  • Rosa has Liesel fill up a bucket of water.
  • Liesel sees what she's up to and protests.
  • But Rosa is in charge.
  • Rosa and Liesel go down to the basement where Hans is sleeping among the drop cloths. He didn't feel he was worthy of sleeping on Max's mattress.
  • Rosa throws the water on him, and he wakes up.
  • She threatens to do it again if he falls back asleep.
  • Rosa goes back upstairs, and Liesel starts getting up the water.
  • Hans asks if she thinks Max is still living.
  • She says she hopes he is.
  • He tells her about his night in the bar and about going to Frau Holtzapfel's house afterwards.
  • Two hours before Hans' departure, Liesel begs him not to go.
  • He tells her she needs to take care of Rosa while he's gone.
  • Rudy's dad will leave in four days, and he comes to tell Hans good-bye.
  • At the train station, Liesel begs him to stay, again.
  • He tells her to take his accordion back home, and tells her to "keep reading in the shelter" (64.69).
  • Rosa and Liesel are the last people in the train station after Hans leaves.
  • Afterwards, Rosa can't yell at anybody, and Liesel isn't even inspired to steal.
  • After about two weeks of this, Rudy comes to Liesel's and makes her come out with him.
  • They walk around Molching. Rudy says he wants to go and kill Hitler!
  • Liesel is so down, she turns to go back home. Rudy follows her.
  • She remembers a chapter from A Song in the Dark.
  • The girl in the book's heart is tired.
  • Liesel feels too young to have such a tired heart.
  • After about an hour, she starts to perk up; she and Rudy reminisce and tease each other.
  • Rudy looks at the suits in the window of his father's shop, but Liesel gets him to keep moving.
  • When they get back, both of their moms are waiting, looking mad.
  • Liesel tells Rudy's mother that Rudy was off killing Hitler.
  • When Liesel is sleeping, a noise wakes her.
  • When she goes to investigate, she finds Rosa sitting on the bed, with Hans' accordion around her neck.
  • Liesel wishes she would play it, but she doesn't.
  • She goes back to bed, the image of Rosa and the accordion in her brain.
  • When her customary nightmare wakes her again, she finds Rosa still sitting on the bed with the accordion.
  • Now she's snoring.
  • This time, the picture stays with her, and she has a really hard time getting to sleep.

The Book Thief Chapter 64 Study Group

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