she was in freezing water
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First, we are told that on a December day Rudy jumps into the Amper River to rescue a book.Book in hand, he says, "How about a kiss, Saumensch?"
Death feels bad for Rudy. Rudy, Death tells us, "didn't deserve to die the way he did" (37.9). Rudy does not, as we might guess, die of "hypothermia [low body temperature]" (37.10) from jumping in the freezing cold river.He dies two almost two years later. This is just Death foreshadowing what is to come. Death tries to remain objective but he does, at times, show an affinity for certain people.