Climax of The Book Thief

Instructor: Shelley Vessels

Shelley has taught at the middle school level for 10 years and has a master's degree in teaching English.

The climax of a story is meant to be intense and unforgettable, and ''The Book Thief'' by Markus Zusak does not disappoint. Read the following lesson about this story's powerful climax.

Parts of a Story

Every story has a structure. An author will introduce you to the characters and the setting (exposition), tease you with information, create tension within the plot (rising action), and then BAM! There's the climax. What's the climax, you might ask? Simply put, the climax is the most exciting or most intense part of the story.

From there, the tension should loosen up with the plot as the details start to come together (falling action). And, the story will end with some sort of resolution (or denouement).

Parts of a Story
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The Climax of The Book Thief

How did you feel when Hans gives a Jew a piece of bread during one of those parades of Jews through Molching? How did you feel when the Nazi soldier reacted so violently? Most likely, you knew deep down that it wasn't going to end well for Hans because of the cruel nature of the Nazis. Did you get a tense feeling in your stomach? That feeling was telling you that you were coming across the climax. Let's examine that scene a little more closely.

Parade of Death

Four miles from Molching and even longer from Dachau, a truck convoy transporting imprisoned Jews stops. Death tells the readers that it isn't because the trucks break down, but the reason is unclear. The Jews are then forced to trek the rest of the way by foot through the streets of Molching and down Himmel Street, where their pain is in full view to Rudy, Liesel, Hans, and the others.

Jews are staggering and literally dying in a procession, and one person can't stand to watch and wait. Hans Hubermann breaks the human chain to deliver a Jew a piece of bread - some sustenance to help this person stay away from Death. It's an incredibly powerful gift for the Jew, yet equally dangerous for Hans.

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