The Book Thief

Compare the scene in which Liesel spots Max in line with his story "The Word Shaker"

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In "The Word Shaker," a man, apparently Hitler, decides he would rule the world. One day he sees a mother scolding her child until he cries then minutes later speaking very softly to him until he smiles. The Fuhrer decides he will rule the world with words. He plants the seeds of words and symbols across his country and cultivates them. He beckons people with his freshly-picked words and places them on a conveyor belt, through which they are hypnotized with words and outfitted with symbols. The demand for his words becomes so great that people are hired to cultivate the massive forests of words; some, called "word shakers," are employed to climb the trees and throw the words to people below.

A small, skinny girl is the "best word shaker of her region because she knew how powerless a person could be" without words. She could climb higher than anyone else. The girl befriends a man who is despised by her homeland; when he is sick, she sheds a tear on his face. The tear, made of friendship, becomes a seed, which the girl plants and cultivates. The tree steadily grows to the tallest in the forest. The Fuhrer, enraged, orders the tree cut down and takes an axe to it. The girl defiantly climbs to the top of it, and the Fuhrer's ax is unable to make a dent in the tree trunk. For months, the girl remains in the tree, and the Fuhrer's soldiers are unable to destroy it as long as she is there.

A new axman arrives, but instead of an ax, he takes a hammer and places nails up the tree. Using the nails as footholds, he climbs up to the girl, miles high above the clouds. The man turns out to be the girl's friend from earlier. They climb down together, and the massive tree falls, crushing part of the forest and creating a new path through it. They walk down the horizontal trunk; behind them, most of the onlookers had returned to the rest of the forest, but the two friends can hear "voices and words behind them, on the word shaker's tree."

This scene is very similar to Liesel's later spotting of Max in a batch of Jews that are being marched through town on their way to Dachau. Liesel recognizes Max by the way he scans the crowd of Germans looking for her. Liesel runs into the procession and latches onto Max. He tells her that he was captured a few months ago, halfway to Stuttgart. Max warns Liesel to let go of him, but she continues to walk with him. A soldier drags her away and throws her off. Liesel gets up and returns to Max; she mentions "The Word Shaker" and "The Standover Man." He stops walking, as do the rest of the Jews. They embrace, and Max is whipped while Liesel is dragged away again. Liesel is whipped as well, and Rudy in the crowd calls out to her as Max is forced off.