The Reader Part 1, Chapters 10-12 Summary

Bernhard Schlink

Part 1, Chapters 10-12 Summary

On the first day of Easter vacation, Michael rises at four in the morning to catch the streetcar to Schwetzingen because he knows that Hanna is working the early shift and that the streetcar will be empty. He boards the second streetcar, and he sees Hanna in the first talking to the driver. Michael debates whether he should go into the first car, but he decides that he likes the privacy of the empty second car and hopes that Hanna will come in for a kiss and a hug. But even after Hanna has glanced into the second car and has seen Michael, she does not come into the car. Hurt, Michael gets off the streetcar and walks all the way back home crying.

Later, Michael goes to Hanna’s doorstep when she returns from work. They argue about the morning’s events, and Hanna claims that Michael wanted to pretend that he did not know her by getting in the second car. Michael submits to apologizing and begs for Hanna’s forgiveness, and she then allows him into her home.

The week following Easter, Michael and Hanna set off on a four-day bicycling trip through the countryside. Content to not have any responsibilities for a change, Hanna allows Michael to order all their food and set up reservations at each inn where they stay the night. One morning, Michael leaves to get breakfast; Hanna is still asleep, so Michael leaves a note on the bedside table. Upon his return, Michael walks into the room to find Hanna crying. In her rage, she hits him with her leather belt, splitting his lip. She had feared that he left her and claims that she never saw his note. Afterward, the two make love, and Michael feels that their relationship has moved into another realm now that he has seen her vulnerability.

During the final week of Easter holiday, Michael’s family goes on a trip, and Michael convinces them to leave him home alone. He bribes his little sister with stolen jeans and a sweater to stay with a friend so that he can have the house to himself. He invites Hanna for dinner one evening, and while Michael finishes preparing the meal, Hanna explores the home. She ends up in Michael’s father’s study where she walks over to the shelves of books. She gently touches their spines, and when Michael finds her there, she asks him to read from a book that his father has written. Michael says that he will never forget that image of Hanna standing in front of the book shelves. After dinner, Michael can tell that Hanna feels like an intruder in the home, so they go back to her apartment to spend the night. Michael gives Hanna a silk nightgown that he has stolen from the department store, and she dances around the room wearing it. Michael recalls that it is another image of Hanna that he will never forget.