Relationships In The Book Thief

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“It’s just a small story really, about, among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery…” (Zusak, pg. 5) The novel, The Book Thief written by Markus Zusak in 2005 explores the theme of family relationships. It is through nine-year-old Liesel Meminger, the protagonist, that the idea of a broken family during the era of Nazi Germany is explored. The Book Thief depicts the struggle of young German girl, Liesel Meminger, living in Germany during the time of Hitler’s reign. Liesel struggles to survive in a war-torn society filled with hatred and injustice. Her life is changed forever when she begins her love affair with books. With the help of her accordion-playing…show more content…
‘That [Death] in a way was a metaphor for the idea that this book is about people doing beautiful things in a really ugly time.’ (Zusak, 2010) One of the central themes presented in The Book Thief is the idea of family. It is evident in the text that the idea of a family is not just limited to those in which we are inherently connected; it encompasses those we care for. Her arrival on Himmel Street, leaves Liesel struggling to face the abandonment she has experienced with her mother leaving her for a reason she does not understand and the devastating loss of her brother, Werner, whose ghost haunts her throughout the novel. 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.’ (Zusak 2005, pg. 34). Liesel associates his accordion playing with the presence of safety. When asked about the character…show more content…
Everything Rudy does after that moment, when you know he’s going to die at the age of 14, everything is in the shadow of that.’ (Zusak, 2010). Max Vandenburg is the Jewish man who seeks refuge in the Hubermann’s basement putting their lives in great danger. Max’s father saved Hans’ life in World War II and caring for Max is Hans’ way of repaying Max for what his father did for him. Max and Liesel’s match of personalities and shared qualities enable the two to become such great friends, giving each other’s life purpose and the drive to survive the horrors of the war. An important role model in Liesel’s life is Ilsa Hermann. After seeing Liesel steal a book at the book burning, she gives her the ‘window of opportunity’ (Zusak, pg. 155) inviting her into her library and sharing her own love of books with Liesel. The reader eventually learns that Ilsa is still mourning the loss of her own son many years before. Ilsa takes Liesel into her care after the tragedy of the bombing raids that results in the death of Hans and Rosa leaving Liesel traumatised and

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