Summary and Analysis PART NINE: May 1944 “Nothing” to “Leaflets”


The novel’s most obvious example of worlds within worlds is the model of Etienne’s house carved by Marie-Laure’s father. Her father’s mysterious words, “Look inside Etienne’s house, inside the house,” call attention to this worlds-within-worlds theme. By reflecting on these words and on her conversation with von Rumpel, Marie-Laure finally finds the Sea of Flames diamond. Her deliberation over what to do with the stone also reflects worlds within worlds. She attempts to convince herself that curses are not real, that the Earth is nothing by physical matter, but then she questions her own assumptions by asking, “Isn’t it?” The possibility that there might be an otherworldly, supernatural power within the physical world she knows creates the possibility of another world within a world.

Werner also experiences one world inside another through his obsession with Marie-Laure. She “takes up residence inside him” alongside the image of the Viennese girl whose death he accidentally caused. These haunting presences demonstrate the power of the intangible: Even though the two girls are not physically with Werner, they impact him as if they were.

“Leaflets,” the final section of this part, describes leaflets falling from the sky, the very same scene that begins the novel. The novel’s two timelines finally have come together.