Study Guide

The Book Thief Chapter 69

By Markus Zusak

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Chapter 69

The Next Temptation

  • Liesel finds a plate of stale Christmas cookies in the window of the mayor's library.
  • This must be the work of Ilsa Hermann, the mayor's wife.
  • She snags the plate and goes back to Rudy.
  • Rudy requests milk. Liesel wants to go back in for a book.
  • She goes in and leaves Ilsa Hermann
  • She finds Die Letzte Menschliche Fremde—The Last Human Stranger.
  • She's about to make her exit through the window when she hears the sound of a door opening.
  • She turns.
  • It's Ilsa Hermann, wearing a swastika-embroidered bathrobe.
  • Liesel says, Heil Hitler, saluting.
  • A light-bulb goes off in Liesel's brain as she's about to depart.
  • The cookies have been in the window some two weeks now.
  • How would Ilsa explain the cookies to the mayor?
  • Maybe, she thinks, this is Ilsa's library.
  • Liesel isn't sure:
    [S]he enjoy[s] the fact that the room full of books belonged to the woman. It was she who introduced her to the library in the first place and gave her the initial, literal, window of opportunity. (69.22)
  • Liesel asks Ilsa if it's her library.
  • Clearly uncomfortable, Ilsa says, "I used to read in here with my son. But then…" (69.24).
  • Liesel pictures it.
  • They hear a voice from outside. It's Rudy. Liesel tells him to be quiet and then asks Ilsa if these books are hers, too.
  • She says most of them are hers, though some are the mayor's.
  • Liesel confesses that she thought it was the mayor's room because she assumes mayors read lots of books. Ilsa says it's been Liesel's room more than anyone's these days.
  • Liesel asks Ilsa if she's read The Last Human Stranger. She's read it and tells Liesel it's "Not bad" (69.34).
  • Ilsa tells her she should go on out to Rudy.
  • Rudy and Liesel eat half the cookies on the way back. They share the other half with Tommy Müller.
  • At the end of the feast, they are left with a dilemma, as voiced by Rudy: "What the hell do we do with the plate?" (69.47).

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