Study Guide

The Book Thief Chapter 73

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Chapter 73

The Accident

  • One afternoon Hans and his fellows are headed back to the camp in the truck.
  • Zucker decides he wants Hans' seat in the back of the truck.
  • Hans asks him why. His seat is terrible; the cold wind blows right on it.
  • Zucker says he has his reasons.
  • Hans doesn't want to give in to a bully, but is too exhausted to argue.
  • Plus, his seat is freezing.
  • The seat-swap is made. Hans goes to the middle of the truck.
  • Soon, one of the tires pops and the bus rolls and rolls.
  • There are injuries. Hans has a broken leg. Zucker is the only casualty.
  • Hans says, "It should have been me. […] He was sitting in my seat" (73.15, 17.17).
  • A replacement truck arrives, but no ambulance.
  • They have to ride back with the dead body of Zucker.
  • When they arrive at camp, Hans helps move Zucker's body from the truck, and then his broken leg makes him fall.
  • A doctor soon confirms that the leg is broken, and the sergeant says this means Hans is being sent back to Munich for some office work, perhaps. (Munich means home, Molching, and Himmel Street.)
  • Even though he's in extreme pain, Hans has to laugh.
  • His sergeant says, "You're lucky I like you Hubermann. You're lucky you're a good man, and generous with the cigarettes" (73.24).

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