Study Guide

I Am the Messenger Love

By Markus Zusak

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She even touches Jimmy's face on the photos, and I see what it is to love someone like Milla loved that man. Her fingertips are made of love. When she speaks, her voice is made of love. (1.7.50)

Wow. Sixty years after her hubby's death, Milla is still burning the candle for him—these two have the kind of love that inspires songs and famous poetry. It's obvious that Ed doesn't know what it is like to love this deeply.

She's beautiful, and I'm ashamed. She's fifteen if she's a day, and I'm being stepped on. I'm being crushed from the inside. Feelings of love and lust fight each other inside me, and I realize I'm drawn instantly to this girl who runs barefoot at five-thirty in the morning. I can't escape it. (1.9.14)

When Ed sees Sophie running, he's completely taken with her, even if she is four years younger than him. His instant connection to her running spirit remind us that he's still in a phase of life where feelings come and go quickly. Plus we wonder if his feelings for Audrey will escape him just as easily if someone else comes along.

He slurps again, and his tongue is red from the blood that's cracked down my face. He smiles at me. "I love you, too," I say, and my voice is like a rumor. I'm not quite sure if it came out or not or if it's true. It makes me realize that I hear nothing outside me. It's all inner and like static. (2.2.22)

They say dogs are a man's best friend, and for Ed that couldn't be more true. He's got a special relationship with his German Shepherd-Rottweiler mix because he's had him almost all his life, and his dog is with him through thick and thin. Can we say the same about anyone else?

You can kill a man with those words. No gun. No bullets. Just words and a girl. (2.4.68)

When Audrey tells Ed that he's her best friend, he feels a sense of duty and love toward her, but he's torn because he also wants to help the people from the cards. Check out how he talks about his love for Audrey here. It doesn't sound so pleasant to us.

She doesn't want to feel that way about me, and I can accept that, but I wonder if she'll ever know that no one will love her as hard as I do. She wipes the blood from her mouth, and I say again how sorry I am. Audrey is as gracious as ever and takes the apology, explaining that she just can't do that sort of thing with me. I think she'd rather do it without any meaning or truth. Just what it is, without the risk of any of that. If she doesn't want love from anyone, I have to respect that. (2.3.75)

After Ed kisses Audrey, he's embarrassed and thinks he's got to move on, but does he? Does he stop loving her and respect her feelings for him? Audrey's view of sex doesn't involve love, and Ed isn't on board with that.

All I do is sink to my knees, felled by the words that could deliver such a knockout blow. I try to make something good of it because I loved my father. Apart from the alcoholic section, I think it can't be totally shameful to be like him. (3.10.44)

Ed's Ma knows how to pack a punch. She tells Ed he's like his dad to insult him, but he takes it another way (sort of). There's a dilemma in Ed's head because he knows his dad was an alcoholic, but he also loved him, so it's confusing for him. Isn't that the thing about love? It's messy, complicated stuff.

Carefully now, her statement comes out. "Believe it or not— it takes a lot of love to hate you like this." I try to understand. (3.10.54)

Ouch. Ed's mom tells him this on the porch, and we can't help but wonder if it's true, or just a cover. Sure she wants him to make something of himself and do something with his life, but perhaps she's also taking some pent up anger out on Ed too.

"She doesn't want to love you," I tell him. "She doesn't want to love anyone. She's had a rough life, Audrey. The only people she ever loved she hated." I get some flashbacks of when we were growing up. She was hurt a lot, and she vowed it wouldn't continue that way. She wouldn't let it. (4.3.92)

We told you love was a crazy thing. Audrey's BF claims she doesn't want to love Ed, but can't help it. Gee, thanks. The thing is though, it's almost as though Ed is the same way, because he never gives up hope on Audrey, even when she makes it plain as day that they have no future together.

She places her hands around my neck and rests her head on my shoulder. I can smell the sex on her, and my only hope is that she can smell the love on me. (4.10.23)

The message Ed has to deliver to Audrey is that he loves her, and not like all the other guys she hooks up with—we're talking real, deep, personal love. It's interesting to us that he's too chicken to tell her early on, and by the time he delivers the message, he doesn't actually say the words.

I love you, I feel like saying, but there's no need for that. The sky flows with fire, and I'm dancing with Audrey. Even when the song ends, we hold on a little longer, and I think it's about three minutes we danced for. Three minutes to tell her I love her. Three minutes for her to admit she loves me back. (4.10.27)

Dancing with Audrey, there's nothing else in the world going on for Ed. It's only three minutes, but it's long enough for her to know what's happening. Ed might not get an answer right away, but he knows he's delivered the message to Audrey in the way that she needs to hear it.

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