Rudy Steiner – The Book Thief

Rudy Steiner is a blond haired, blue eyed boy who lives next to Liesel and becomes her best friend. Despite being the perfect German child Rudy doesn’t like injustice, like when hitler doesn’t shake the hand of Jessie Owens. Other injustices which Rudy doesn’t like is when his Hitler youth leader, Franz Deutscher, bullies a boy called Tommy Muller. Rudy stands up for Tommy saying how tommy has a bad ear and ends up receiving the same treatment which tommy does. Rudy idolises Jessie Owens, an olympic 4x Gold medallist. Rudy idolises him because he is the fastest man alive and Rudy wants to be the fastest man alive. An incident occurs in the book ‘The Jessie Owens Incident’ which everybody in the neighbourhood knows about. This is when Rudy paints himself black with charcoal and reenacts Jessie winning the hundred meter race. He does this at night at the local athletics track. His dad finds him and tries to explain that Rudy shouldn’t want to be like Jessie Owens because he is black. Rudy should be happy because he had safe blond hair and blue eyes. Rudy didn’t understand why he shouldn’t want to be black or jewish.

Rudy Steiner is very significant in the text as he becomes such a good friend to Liesel. It took awhile for Liesel to except Rudy as a friend. Once they are friends they do everything together, even beginning a thieving career. Rudy is always hungry, and his hunger pushes them to join a gang of apple thieves. This gradually merges to stealing books for Liesel. Rudy doesn’t understand at first why books are so important to Liesel that she would steal them; you can’t eat books? But Rudy soon realises that books have a very large meaning to Liesel when one is thrown into the water by a bully. Rudy chases the book down and dives in the freezing river water to fish it out for her. Rudy becomes the person which Liesel can confide in. He’s the one he can share her book stealing with, the one she can have fun with. When Liesel sees Max in the crowd of Jews which are marched through Molching, Rudy is their to drag her out and take her away from the guards. She then has to tell rudy about max. Rudy does something Liesel did not expect and decides to give food to the jewish prisoners, by laying bread on the ground before they come marching next time.

Because of his grades and athletic success, Rudy is chosen to be a part of an elite Nazi training program. Rudy’s parents refuse to let him go so Rudy’s father is conscripted into the army. Liesel’s father is conscripted around the same time so this gives them something else to share. Rudy decides in the text to go find his father, so he packs a bag and as he heads off Liesel finds him. Rudy also says that he is going to kill Hitler on his journey and they confess hatred for Hitler; Rudy for taking his dad and Liesel for taking Max and her father. Liesel persuades Rudy not to leave, however, before they reach the edge of town.

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