In part one of the book, page 20, paragraph three it states “With one eye open, one still in a dream, the book thief--also known as Liesel Meminger--could see without question that her younger brother, Werner, was now sideways and dead.” (Zusak 20) This is the first problem that Liesel has to overcome. Her brother dying, and having to start out a new life with a new
No point in seeking explanations. Like where Death says; ‘you think you’re the only one God never answers?’ Liesel is significantly changing in the story because of friendship, deaths, and words. I would like to tell you about the talents of Liesel and Hans, the stepfather of Liesel. Liesel has many talents.
Papa’ She must have said it a hundred times as she hugged him in the kitchen and wouldn’t let go” They have always had a strong bond, even when she first moved to Himmel street. For example, on page 35 it shows that it only took Liesel a short period of time before she was able to trust Hans. It says “Fifteen passed till they were able to coax her from the car. It was the tall man who did it.”
Liesel had a very tough childhood with her mother abandoning her and her brother dying, plus everybody else she lost. Even though she suffered many terrible events during her childhood, she still prevailed through it by reading books and using her words. Her obsession with stealing books and living in the Hubermann household represented the beauty in her life in the wake of the brutality caused by the Nazi party. She spent quality time learning how to read with Hans, and was amazed how kind and patient Hans was. Liesel bonding with Mas was also a part of the beauty in her life, in spite of the brutality and the despair happening in her life.
Nazi Germany was full of hatred and German-supremacy. Anyone who had a different opinion was wrong and should be treated as inferior. She attributed this German idea to the suffering of her family and herself. Her parents were called communists and for that reason were persecuted by the government. Liesel confessed to Hans that she hated Hitler, leading to a harsh slap in her face, literally and metaphorically, from Hans.
One of the most important recurring themes throughout The Book Thief was Liesel’s relationships with all of the people in her life. She grows close with several different people, and trusts, loves, and cares for them all differently but equally. Three of those relationships will be explored more deeply; Liesel’s relationship with her foster father, Hans Hubermann, the Jewish man her family takes in, Max Vanderburg, and her best friend, Rudy Steiner. Liesel’s relationship with Hans is one of the most important, if not the most important, relationships in the novel. Hans is the first person Liesel trusts, and the person who stays with her and loves her until the end.
Liesel was an illiterate due her past and thus once she started going to school she was “humiliatingly,… cast down with the younger kids” (pg. 39, Zusak). Liesel dreaded reading tests and if not for Hans’ help in their midnight classroom sessions, Liesel would have never got over her “excruciating fear” (pg. 75, Zusak) of having to read out loud. As the novel progresses so does Liesel’s adoration for reading books. Soon one after another she begins to read books by herself and their role in her development is priceless.
On the first night she began living there, she began to have the same horrible and vivid nightmare of her brother’s death. She would wake up in the middle of night in a cold sweat screaming. Hans would stay with her till dawn either talking or playing the accordion making her feel more calm and at ease. Liesel became more comfortable around Hans and started to love him
“The Grave Digger’s Handbook” leads to her learning how to read and write. After the bedwetting incident and Hans finding the book, Hans helps Liesel with writing by writing the ABCs and giving an example, for example “S” for sausmench. Every night Hans would read the book to her and this would help Liesel and Hans with their reading skills. When she went to school, she felt embarrassed because she was in a lower class for her age.
Liesel’s only connection to them is through The Grave Digger’s Handbook which is also her first act of book thievery. Han is Liesel’s silver eyed, accordion playing foster father who wins her over with his gentle humility, quiet nature and caring demeanour. ‘They were made of kindness and silver… Liesel when seeing those eyes understood that Hans Hubermann was worth a lot.’
Hans is a warm-hearted and compassionate man who was the first that connected to Liesel. When Liesel first arrived at Himmel Street, she refused to leave the car and meet her new family. While it took them quite a bit of time to persuade her to leave, “It was the tall man who did it”(28). The first encounter between Liesel and Hans is a memorable and significant moment because it is the moment that shows how their friendship initiated. If Hans would not have sat by Liesel’s side and coaxed her to leave the car, then she would not have developed that initial trust that transpired through this.
Liesel has realized she must respect the man who was the reason for her and her entire families suffering. She has realized she officially has lost her home, that she is completely isolated from the community. “It was quite a sight seeing an eleven year old girl try not to cry on church steps, saluting fuhrer”(Zusak 115). After losing all of these emotionally wrecking things Liesel learns and understands she needs to keep going forward. She refuses to give up she although times are rough manages to think, it could be worse.
Liesel trusted her papa even more after this encounter, Hans knew to keep this a secret to protect Liesel’s feelings. With all the negativity and poorness in Hans’ life, he would have been expected to respond negatively, but in reality, Hans did the complete opposite. Hans Hubermann showed his morals, a comforting essence, and trustworthiness despite living under horribly negative conditions. Under the tireless regime of Adolf Hitler, Hans clung to his personal beliefs. He did this in several ways, he helped two Jews, and helped Liesel develop into a better person.