Summary and Analysis Part 6: The Dream Carrier: Fresh Air, an Old Nightmare, and What to Do with a Jewish Corpse

Eight more days pass. Then, while Liesel is at school, Rosa comes to her classroom and pulls her out into the hallway. She pretends to be angry with Liesel for misplacing her hairbrush, and then whispers that Max is awake. That afternoon, Liesel reads more to Max. He’s afraid of falling asleep, and she says she won’t let him. Death tells us that the bombs are coming.


Liesel attempts to use words to nurse Max back to health, continuing the theme of how words can wield physical power. Liesel’s selection of The Dream Carrier reflects both her and Max’s tendency to have nightmares, carrying those they’ve lost with them in these dreams. Liesel’s fear of losing Max is indicated by her dream, how she imagines him succumbing to the same fate as her brother. The theme of secrecy continues as well; Rosa and Hans are concerned about keeping Max a secret, in life and in death, and Rosa must maintain secrecy when she goes to tell Liesel at school that Max has woken up. And Liesel fulfills her role as The Standover Man by watching over Max and helping him to remain awake. Death foreshadows the destruction to come.