In the first part of the book, The Reader, written by Bernhard Schlink and first published in 1995, Hanna often shows sudden brutality to Michael. She yells at him, scolds him, or even physically hurts him. The shouting hurts him emotionally, for example, when she throws him out of bed. This also becomes clear when he wants to surprise her in the morning by using the train Hanna is working in. That afternoon, she accuses him of having not known her, because he was in the second wagon, hoping that she will come over.
She practices physical violence the first time during the bike ride in the Easter holidays. Michael had decided to surprise her with breakfast in bed. He dropped her a piece of paper with a message that he will be back soon. When he comes back, Hanna is totally upset and allegedly did not find the note. She thought Michael had left her. She hits him with her belt until his lips became bloody.