Study Guide

The Book Thief Chapter 82

By Markus Zusak

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Chapter 82

Ilsa Hermann's Little Black Book

  • It's the middle of August. Liesel is going to 8 Grande Strasse to steal a book and make herself feel better.
  • She climbs in the window and takes a book. She sits down to read, wondering if Ilsa is home.
  • It doesn't matter. Nothing matters to Liesel right now.
  • She thinks of her life, from losing her brother on the train, to coming to Himmel Street, to Max walking the road to Dachau.
  • Death says, "At the center of all of it, she [sees] The Führer shouting his words and passing them around" (82.21).
  • Words are beautiful and terrible.
  • She wants the words to stop giving her pleasure and comfort.
  • She doesn't want to hope and pray that Max and Alex Steiner are still alive—they are too good for this world.
  • She begins tearing up the book she's selected from Ilsa's library.
  • She tears the whole thing up then begins calling to Ilsa.
  • There's no answer, so she writes Ilsa a goodbye letter.
  • She says she's done with reading.
  • She wants to "punish [her]self" (82.38) and so won't come to the library anymore.
  • Liesel apologizes for stealing from her, for tearing up a book, and for being so naughty in general.
  • She thanks Ilsa for everything she's done.
  • Liesel exits through the window, sure she'll never see Ilsa again.
  • She is wrong. In three days Ilsa comes to visit Liesel at home, wearing a dress instead of a bathrobe.
  • Liesel apologizes for tearing up the book.
  • Ilsa stops her and gives her a present.
  • A black book with blank pages.
  • If Liesel is no longer reading, maybe she can write.
  • Ilsa tells her she knows she's a good writer; she can tell by her letter.
  • She tells Liesel not to punish herself like Ilsa has punished herself for so many years.
  • Rosa isn't home, and Liesel invites Ilsa in for coffee and bread and jam.
  • Liesel tells Ilsa, "If I ever write anything and finish it, […] I'll show it to you" (82.54).
  • Afterwards, Rudy is waiting for her.
  • She shows him the black book.
  • That night Liesel goes to the basement and begins trying to write.
  • It's hard to get going. She isn't sure what she's doing, but she pushes herself.
  • Death asks us, "How could she ever know that someone would find her story and take it with him everywhere?" (82.64).
  • (That someone is Death. Finally, Death's gender is revealed as male, so we can start calling him "him," "he" and all that other good stuff.)
  • In any case, that night Liesel begins her story The Book Thief.

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