The Book Thief Questions and Answers
by Markus Zusak

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What are a few quotes about death in chapter 1 of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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"Chapter 1: Arrival on Himmel Street" can be found within the larger “Part One: The Gravedigger’s Handbook.” Because the narrator of our story is the character Death, the entire narration is spoken by him. Even quotations spoken by another character are told to us by Death. The first quote about death in “Chapter 1: Arrival on Himmel Street” is spoken as a part of Death’s narration:

A six-year-old boy died in the third carriage.

This refers to Liesel’s brother’s death. This moment is one that will haunt Liesel for a long time. Death relates that Liesel is the one holding her brother when he dies and that he died after a “spurt” of coughing. The two children are on their way to live with their foster parents, but Werner “didn’t make it.” The next quotation talks about the finality of this death:

Her brother was dead.

Liesel Meminger is the titular character. Her brother is Werner Meminger. Death always gives details in an unemotional way, and this quote is no exception. Liesel has nightmares about the death of Werner throughout the book.

Finally, let us look at a quote where Death refers to himself as “I” and talks about his job:

I went about my business. I traveled the glove as always, handing souls to the conveyor belt of eternity… I warned myself that I should keep a good distance from Liesel Meminger’s brother. I did not heed my advice.

This quotation confirms that Death is the narrator of the story in that he refers to himself in the first person. Further, it confirms Death's job is “handing souls to the conveyor belt of eternity.” Death is not required to do anything other than that. In fact, it is a bad idea for Death to become emotionally involved. Death makes a mistake in taking interest in Liesel and Werner, and says so here. The result of his interest is The Book Thief

Please realize that the “Chapter 1” you ask about is not the first chapter of The Book Thief. There is also a prologue with chapters within it at well. If for some reason you meant part one or the first chapter of the prologue, please post your question again.

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