The Book Thief

Why does Death feel serenity when Max fights him? How is this ironic?

part 6 "The Dream Carrier"

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It is a relief when Max fights death. He had witnessed his uncle die without a murmur. Max decided that he would never die without a fight, "When death captures me, he will feel my fist on his face." Death comments that it likes that "stupid gallantry." In this section Death feels the satisfaction of a human life not willing to let go. Death notes that God had not given him any respite and not taking a soul felt serine. This is ironic because taking souls is what Death does. Certainly leaving them is not in his job description.