I just finshed The Book Thief. Out of all the books I’ve read I don’t think I’ve ever read I book structured like this one — or one that had death as the narrator. I knew this book was a histoical fiction on world war two. Yet despite its morbid setting the narrator was able to make it a lot less depressing. Like how he found distraction in the sky and how he carried the well worn souls of people away. And as death revealed his definition of the nature of people I began to have more questions:
1. In the beginning of the book, Liesel’s brother dies from sickness. They were both still children when her brother was buried in frozen ground. When was the first time someone died in your life? How did it make you feel? Did it encourage you to do something impulse like stealing a book in Liesel’s case?
My cousin died in a car accident when I was six. I was lucky to have only seen the body at the funeral rather than watch the life come out of him. I remember being in the kitchen of house and my mom was praying and crying. That was when I first discovered dealth. I felt a loss as immortally as if it was already there by default, but the dealth of my cousin brought it to an end. I had only met him a few times so the event was significant enough for me to remember small details, but I don’t think I was too emotional.
2. When she came to the Hubermann’s it was her Papa that got her to get out of the car. He always stayed with her and helped her whenever she had nightamares. When you were young did anyone do this for you?
I only ever remember a babysitter comforting me when I had a bad dream. She was nice, and she picked me up and held me. I’m lucky mine weren’t really ever that bad.
When she plays soccer with the kids in her street, and throughout the book she mostly plays with the boys. Why is this? Why not Kristina or one of Rudy’s sisters? Could this have something to do with the loss of her brother?
This is something I didn’t realize until now. I don’t know too much about the history of Germany, but I do know throughout history many women have been told to stay at home. I think it could be due to the fact that she’s in a poorer neighborhood and doesn’t have time to mess with her hair, gossip, or do whatever else girls did in those days. I’m not saying all girls are sentive, but her foster mother probably gave her a month that not everyone can bear. So that might have had something to do with why she didn’t hang out with many girls her age. I think it coud’ve had something to do with her brother, maybe she tried to find pieces of him in the boys she talked. Maybe it was what she was fimlair with and just went with it. Or maybe there just wasn’t many girls her age on her street.
3. Ludwig makes fun of her when she struggles to read. Do you think she had the right to beat him senseless? Or was just telling she not stupid enough?
I think a teacher should’ve intervened, but back then that just wasn’t what happened. I think that only due to the time she was in that it was the right thing to do. Back then, teacher seemed to only hand out punishments to the ones that pyshically attacked someone, but whenever a kid was verbally assaulted it seems there wasn;t much done about it. Again, I won’t agree with it in present day, but back then there wasn’t much science. If someone didn’t agree with someone else, they got beat up and only the winner could make the decision. People didn’t agrue as passlively as we do now. If she didn’t beat him then, he might have beaten her up later. It could;ve lowered in self worth and she might have ever been the person she became.
In the book, Liesel and Rudy become thevies. At one point they put ice on the road and steal from a boy named Otto (check this) as he is delervery food to catholic presits. Rudy seems to point out that these men are already well feed. And that Otto must be since his parnets are asking him to deliver the food. Did they have a right to do this?
I think it would’ve been better for them to just ask and maybe the boy would’ve given them something for their trouble. Maybe he would’ve helped them a lot if he really wanted to. I don’t think making him fall off his bike was the right thing to do. I know that they’re kids, maybe if they’d known what’s in their future they would’ve acted differently.
4. When Han’s son is introduced into the book, he wonders why his father is letting the girl read the books she has and tells him she should be reading Mein Kief (look up). Right when he leaves Hans tries to stop him, but his son moves him aside and calls him a coward. Is Hans really a coward for not trying to go head first into dealth? Is his son brave for defending his country or a hypocrite?
I think its his son who’s a hypocrite. He isn’t brave, he’s just following the crowd. He didn’t do the things his dad, mom, and adopted sister ever did. Maybe he was a coward in the first war, but in that moment trying to go against the Nazi nonsense was better than going with it.
Hans takes care of a promise he made to a freind and keeps his jewish son Max(check this) in his home. Would you ever do this for a friend? Do you think his son knew about his jewish friend and didn’t care or do you think it would change his point of view if Hans told him the story?
I could see myself doing this for a family member. For a friend? Well, it would probably depend on how close we are. As for Max(check this) I think he probably already knew about his dad’s jewish friend he fought world war one with and just didn’t care. It seems like a pretty ignorant bastard.
5. Max plays a significant role in Liesel’s life. When do you think the fear of his thoughts turned into freindship and understanding? Is it possible that she saw a part of her brother in him?
I think their might have been a fear of him when she first met him and he grabbed her arm. I don’t think they really understood each other until they shared nightmares. I think she saw a part of her brother in him. When she brough the snowman inside I think that at least for a moment she thought of her brother buried underneath snow.
6. Her papa is whipped for giving bread to a jew. Would you have done this? How would you feel if soldiers paraded people like this on your street?
I might, but I’d probably do it from high up where no one could see me. Get on a roof and through the the bread so the germans would wonder what the hell is happening. I think it would really depend on my family though, if mine wasn’t the 10% that didn’t join the nazis or if they joined but didn’t really like them. If my family liked what Hilter was doing chances are I probably would too and even if I didn’t I’d probably face more than being whipped by a guard. If I was alive during both wars I’d probably at least in my head wonder what the fuck was going on. We just did one war and now were parading prisoners around? If I was only alive during world war two I think that, again it would depend on my family.
5. Liesel’s father, Rudy’s brother(check this) and father are sent into world war two. It seems this is a punshiment for her Papa after giving bread to the jews. Would you be willing to go into a war you didn’t want to fight? How do you think people in these communities felt when they sons, husbands and fathers who had no choice, but to fight in a war they didn’t want?
I wouldn’t really, but if I had a family to take care of I’d probably have to during that time. If I was a wife, daughter of sister to men that where forced to go to war, I’d probably think of it as normal then. But now, I’m honestly just fed up with countries uses people as pawns. Most leaders don’t go to war unless nesscary now, but I still think there’s a lot of war and battles that just didn’t need to happen.
6. Rudy dies before he is ever able to get a kiss for Liesel. Should she have kissed him at a different time when he was alive or was that time appreciate?
I think that time was appropriate although it was super depressing. They were just kids so they probably thought they had all the time in the world and wanted to wait for the “right moment,” but sadly it seems that moment never came.
7. The mayor’s wife seems to end up caring for Liesel in the end. Do you think the mayor knows his wife views on the jews and Nazi germany? Why do you think she might want her even though she stole her books and insulted her?
I don’t think he really knows, he might be too busy doing other things to really pay attention to her opinions. I don’t remember reading anything to suggest that he did. I think she wanted her because she had become the wake up call she needed. Her son was dead, and unfortunately she couldn’t do anything about, but move on and move forward.
8. In the end, Max ends up being rescued and he find Liesel once again. Would you be satfisyed that despite all the hardship at least him and the mayors wife survived? If you could choose one character that ended up surviving with Liesel who would you choose and why?
Yes, I think after seeing all that rumble I’d probably be afraid that everyone I knew —as well as everywhere I knew— was gone. If I could choose one character to survive with her it would probably be Max. She would’ve probably meant everything to him since her family as well as his family was must likely gone. He would’ve been young enough to work and help her out. And as a jew rescued from a concentration camp he might have gotten a lot of help.
Feel free to answer these questions in the comments below, let me know what you think!