80 pages 2 hours read

Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2005

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Chapters 57-64

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 8: “The Word Shaker”

Chapter 57 Summary: “Dominoes and Darkness”

While Rudy plays dominoes with his siblings, a conversation between the Gestapo and his parents is occurring in the kitchen. Because of Rudy’s athletic abilities and scholastic achievements, he has drawn the attention of the Nazis. They want to recruit him for a special school and a future place in the party. His parents flatly refuse. This will have repercussions for the whole family shortly.

Chapter 58 Summary: “The Thought of Rudy Naked”

Death talks about a physical examination of Rudy and two other students that occurred weeks before the Gestapo arrived at his home. It was embarrassing and thorough. The doctor and nurse discuss the Aryan potential of the three candidates. Rudy isn’t entirely sure what they mean.

When he later recounts the whole episode to Liesel, she can’t stop thinking about him standing naked in the examination room: “There was great dread in that vision, especially the moment when he was forced to remove his hands. It was disconcerting to say the least, but for some reason, she couldn’t stop thinking about it” (132).

Chapter 59 Summary: “Punishment”

Hans finally receives his real punishment for helping the Jew bound for Dachau. He receives a notice that he’s been allowed to join the Nazi party and has been drafted.