1) 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”?
If someone asked me what I thought of the name “the book thief” I would immediately trace that to someone who is curious. A person who has the desire to know, or the passion to escape their world. I see a person that wants to leave everything behind and get away from something whether it be feelings or a life or anything that holds them back. If someone from the outside saw the book thief they would assume them to be untrustworthy however I see them as quiet independent people. The book thief doesn’t want attention drawn to them so they keep to themselves and only they have real trust. Liesel the true “book thief” differs from what I imagined as Liesel is only a young girl. She is curious but she also wants to make better of herself. Liesel wants to learn, then she wants her words to heal others. Liesel as a book thief is trying to do many things with the words she reads; not only is it for herself she steals the books for others. She was actually innocent.
2) 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?
Liesel had a spiral of bad things throughout her childhood that caused her to feel alone and lost. She had the continuous feeling of abandonment. Her father had obviously been taken or he left when she was younger then she lost her brother and mother in the same few days. Nothing was easy when you are left in a strange new place with new foster parents and no friends. Then it was time for her to begin school
3) Why are books and words so important to Liesel? How does she learn that words can be used for good and for evil?
Liesel finds comfort within books. Her first book she steals is the Grave diggers Handbook which becomes a memento of her brother. When Liesel takes the book it is at a time in her life when she needs him but she looses him to an unknown illness, she looses him to death. From then onwards Liesel finds a new passion in her life, the passion to read. Every night for years she finds the words on a page stringing themselves together to finally read a story. She has found the goodness of words. Words help people. When they sit in the basement to stay safe in the air raid she uses her words to tell a story, allowing all of the people to feel easy and peaceful as they listen to this little girl. Liesel then finds the bad in words. She sees how people read something and get attached, they get overwhelmed to follow. The words from Hitler tell us that the words of the inferior must be burned, literally. It is like when a man holds a bible. The man doesn’t have the followers its the scripture and the words with the book. They have trust in words that have been put to paper. It is the bad or evil in some situations of books or words and this is what Liesel discovers through “Mein Kampf” written by Hitler and all of the speeches said throughout the war to enlighten the followers. The people of Germany listened and followed because he had the power.
4) Why does Liesel vow that she will never kiss Rudy?
“As long as both she and Rudy lived, she would never kiss that miserable, filthy Saukerl.”
There is this idea that if you love someone you should tell them but for Rudy steiner the only way to do such thing was to ask for a kiss. At first maybe he was just being childish but it continued for years until one day he was standing soggy and wet holding a floating book that fell from a bridge. It was this moment that he no longer asked Liesel for that kiss he had always wanted. He knew she would not budge until maybe the day he did die. I feel that Liesel liked to think of herself as independent, even at the most loneliest times. She was stubborn and liked to prove people wrong. Love was the kind of thing she felt she had always lost, her mother, her father, her brother, they were all gone. That was her love, just gone. So Liesel was in denial about the way she felt for Rudy. Either she thought that she would lose him or that he was just simply a childish thing. Because she was so stubborn she thought that if she never kissed Rudy she would have been right the whole time. So when he died Liesel realised that she had lost him, she realised what she never got to say and that sh never got to kiss him. Rudy had raised to heaven and she was stuck with the thought of him. Her raised guard let down, shedding her stubborn tears over his body.
5) How does Max’s experience in Nazi Germany alter how Liesel views her own suffering?
Liesel sees that Max is suffering through something she hardly understands. She correlates this to her own loss of her brother and mother as she was so young when it happened that it was hard for her to fathom. It didn’t make sense to her, that her family had left and it didn’t make sense that Max had to hide from the world. Liesel saw the world as if it had done wrong against her and Max. Max’s experience was very much shared with Liesel. She had the same feelings as him and it was so much shared that their worst nightmares were swapped. As much as Liesel and Max felt alike, Max seemed to suffer much more than she did. Max could die. Nazi Germany gave Max much worse consequences of him living than him dying. Diesel felt like she had lost everything but she gained from her low point. Max did not know if he would resurface from his low point. The Hubermanns basement absorbed Max’s feelings and words, it acted as a pillow catching Max for as long as it could until he had to flee. Liesel never had to leave.
6) Liesel continues to steal books throughout the novel. Why is this act important to her? What purpose does it serve?
Stealing books is important to Liesel as books are her escape from the outside world. She needs them to teach her to read, to provide a safe place, and to heal Max when he lies deathly cold in the basement. Liesel’s criminal act has purpose. She uses the words and knowledge she gains to change her future. Liesel could have stayed illiterate, she could have never helped the woman next door as she grieves for her son. She may have never used her own words and written them down, which would have left her to die. If Liesel was not sitting in the basement writing the night when the bombs were dropped over Himmel street, her story would have never made death realise that the human race was important, she would have never made us believe that words can change a person. Liesel would have had no purpose within the story.
7) Does Liesel live a fulfilled life? What does she ultimately teach us in the novel?
Diesel teaches us many things with the help of death by her side. Whilst her childhood may not have been an easy task to get through, her life had succumbed to shape her. It carved her into something that held much knowledge and character. Liesel teaches death that the human race is worth living and she teaches the reader that no matter how strong and stubborn we are, we will always hold passion and love in our hearts. Diesel found the love in harsh Rosa and she saw it in Hans’ smile. And we saw love in Liesel’s eyes when she saw the lemon haired boy lying peacefully on the ground.