Sunday, 25 March 2012

The Book Thief: Reading Respond VIIII

Part 9: The Last Human Stranger

The Next Temptation

Another thievery at the mayor's library, this time, The Last Human Stranger. What was difference this time was the Christmas cookies waiting for them on a table. Rudy, of course, highly appreciated it. Liesel, on the other hand, realized that if this was the mayor's library, the cookies must have been found long ago. So when she confronted Ilsa, she confirmed her suspicion that the library was, in fact, the mayor's wife's. Liesel showed her The Last Human Stranger and asked her if it was good, and she got a positive respond. After a moment, the mayor's wife suggested Liesel to leave, for Rudy was waiting for her. They then left, ate the cookies, and wondered what to do with the cookies plate.

The Cardplayer

The scene switched to Hans, who was playing cards with his mates, including Reinhold Zucker, who would later die in Hans' seat. When he won, Hans would not gloat about it and would sometimes even share his cigarette. If Hans did not win, Reinhold might not have hated him so much that he took Hans's seat to death.

The Snow of Stalingrad

In mid-January 1943, when Liesel was expecting Frau Holtzapfel to answer the door for their reading section, she instead found a man with an injured, bloody hand. He told her to come later. Three hours later, he then came to her house to tell her that Frau Holtzapfel was ready for her now. Meanwhile, Liesel asked him what happened to his hand. It turned out that he was a soldier from Stalingard, being sent home because a bomb took three of his fingers. He then tried to light a cigarette, but failed, so Liesel helped him. She inhaled the smoke in process. Rosa walked into the scene and was shocked to see the man, Micheal Holtzapfel, looking so old. Out of blue, he told her his brother died, that he watched him died. He then asked to take Liesel to his mother and mentioned Hans Jr. Rosa immediately wanted more information, but he only said that her son was alive, as far as he knew. When he got to his house, his mother did not take the news well.

Death told us how the brother died. It was in Russia, January 5, when Robert Holtzapfel's leg was blown off to the shin. Unfortunately, he did not die right away. It was three days later, on a hospital bed, as Micheal was saying comforting words, in which Death took him away.

The Ageless Brother

One night, a few weeks before Liesel turned fourteen, while Rosa was praying with the accordion, Liesel took the cookie plate back to the mayor's house. Right then, she saw her brother, and realized that he was frozen at the age of six forever. From that moment, she never had nightmare about her brother again. Although, she did have a vision that night, with her brother, Papa, Rudy, Max and her own mother in the most bizarre manner. When she woke in the morning, Rosa was still praying for all the men lost in the chaos of the war.

The Accident

Back to Hans, as he was getting into the truck that would take him to his work. And then, out of nowhere, Zucker came yelling that he wanted Hans' seat. Not wanting to waste his energy, Hans gave in. During the ride, the left front wheel got punctured, the driver lost control and the truck flipped. This incident gave Hans a broken leg and Zucker a broken neck. This injury gave Hans an excuse to send back to Munich, plus the fact that he was generally liked by his men.

The Bitter Taste of Questions

A week after Liesel's birthday, a letter came informing that Hans was coming home. Grateful beyond words, she took the letter to the Steiners, who congratulated her. However, she could sense that they were all asking: why Hans but not Alex?

One Toolbox, One Bleeder, One Bear

Ever since his father's recruitment, Rudy had been increasingly frustrated and Hans' fortunate news only pushed him further. He carried a toolbox and planned to rob the rich Nazi in the neighborhood. Liesel, of course, went with him. Everything inside the toolbox made sense, except a teddy bear belonged to his sister. Rudy said it was in case a kid caught them, he would use it to distract them. However, as they walked on, he began to lose his confidence and anger. At the end of the day, he just left a pair of dirty socks on the road.

A few weeks later, he cleared off everything besides the teddy bear from the toolbox and put his family's valuables inside, so when a raid came, he could grab it. On March 9, the raid came and the box served its purpose. Meanwhile, Liesel and Rosa were asked by Micheal to convince his mother to go to the shelter. Frau Holtzapfel was unmovable in the kitchen, despite her son's pleading and Rosa's shouting. Then, Liesel went inside and threatened her that she would not come to read anymore. It did not work, so they were forced to leave the woman behind. In the shelter, Micheal had a minor breakdown from his survivor guilt and his desire to live. Shortly afterward, Frau Holtzapfel stepped in and sat with her son, while Liesel took out her book and began to read.

When they came out of the shelter, Rudy and Liesel saw smoke coming from the Amper River and ran for it. There, a pilot attempted to land on the river but failed and was about to die. Rudy got out the teddy bear and placed on the pilot's lap, and then Death took him away. At this moment, Death recognized Liesel from the night her brother died.


At the beginning of April, Hans was given the permission to rest at home for a week before going to help with paperwork. Liesel saw him coming and hugged him, calling him over and over again. That night, they all sat in the kitchen as Hans told them everything that happened while he was away. When Liesel had to go to sleep, she woke up several times to check that he was still there, he was.

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