Liesel’s Maturation

Initially what would you imagine a person who steals books to be like?
Untrustworthy? Mysterious? Evil? How does Liesel differ from your initial notions of who a “book thief would be”?

When I first think of someone who would steal books, there would have to be a reason for stealing the books. No one steals books if they are poor, why wouldn’t they just steal money or food? There were reasons why Liesel was stealing books. She stole from Frau Hermann to get back at her for cancelling her mother’s washing job. She took the Grave Digger’s handbook for something to link her to her brother. It would have to be an expensive book to steal for greed or profit.

Explain how these early experiences in Liesel’s life would have affected her as a child? What do these early references to Liesel indicate about how she is going to interact with others? What will be her goals/ objectives in life? What conflicts/difficulties may she have as she matures?

Losing her brother and parents at the same time would take a toll on Liesel’s mental health. This would bring a lot of sadness into her life, and could make her not trustworthy towards adults. We see this as Liesel doesn’t want to get out of the car when first meeting the Hubermanns. This distrust could make her anxious towards meeting people and making friends. When she first arrives at the Hubermanns her first life goal is to find her mother until she realises that won’t be possible. She writes a letter to her mother and gives it to Hans who says he could send it to the adoption people to see if they could send it to her mother. Hans knew that Liesel’s mother would not be found or was ‘taken away.’

Why are books and words so important to Liesel? How does she learn that
words can be used for good and for evil?

Words are so important to Liesel because it shows a huge accomplishment in her life of learning how to read with Hans. Liesel was bullied by her pairs for not being able to read and write so she proved them wrong by learning. Books have different meanings to her throughout her life. ‘The Gravedigger’s Handbook’ represents a link to her past as it is the last thing she owns from her old life. She learns that words can be used for evil from because she sees how the Nazi’s use words to persuade entire population to burn books. She learns how words can be used for good when she reads in the bomb shelter and calms everybody.

Why does Liesel vow that she will never kiss Rudy?
What is the purpose of Liesel and Rudy’s friendship in the text? How does this relationship alter Liesel’s life?

Liesel doesn’t want to kiss Rudy because he is a filthy saukerl. Liesel doesn’t think her friendship is more than just a friendship, so why should he get to kiss her. The kiss may have been real for Rudy at the start but ends up becoming a joke between them. This is until he dies and Liesel realises how much she actually loves him. The purpose of Rudy and Liesel’s friendship is to bring Liesel out of the shell she was in when she first came to Himmel street. He is an outspoken kid and makes Liesel open up as he is always there for her.

How does Max’s experience in Nazi Germany alter how Liesel views her own suffering?

Liesel realizes that her sufferings are nothing compared to Max’s.  Max is under constant threat of being taken away by the Nazi’s to a concentration camp or death camp. Max lives in a basement for an entire year never seeing daylight or the night sky once. The worst Liesel has to face is being hungry and getting made fun of for not being able to read. Liesel tries her best to make Max’s life interesting, however. Liesel brings him a whether report everyday, when it snows they even make a snowman in the basement.

Liesel continues to steal books throughout the novel. Why is this act important to her? What purpose does it serve?

Liesel only ever goes out of her way to steal one or two books, so its not the act of stealing that she does it for. It’s more that books are important/related to her in the novel not stealing books. Each book she recieves has a different meaning for Liesel. She steals them to give herself something new in her life. Something new to read and increase her reading ability. I think Liesel just liked reading the stories other people wrote, or just reading words on a page as that is a huge accomplishment she made.

Does Liesel live a fulfilled life? What does she ultimately teach us in the novel?

Liesel doesn’t live a fulfilled life. Liesel can only ever fill what was left of her life after the bombings because her life will have been very different if the bombs hadn’t been dropped on Himmel street. Her life actually stops completely getting a clean slate at two times in the book. The first one when she was left by her mother for a a life at the Hubermann’s. Then when the bombs killed her entire life on Himmel street. Liesel teaches the reader that not everyone in Nazi Germany was a Jew killing maniac and that their were people that completely disagreed with Hitlers regime.

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