The Book Thief Sparknotes

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In The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Liesel Meminger is a young girl with a passion for words and their use growing up in Germany during the Holocaust. The book is narrated by Death, a character with a unique perspective on Liesel’s story. Liesel lives on Himmel Street in Molching, Germany, with her foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann. On her way to Molching, Liesel’s younger brother dies. When the train stops to bury him, Liesel steals her first book, The Gravedigger’s Handbook. This experience is Liesel’s first encounter with Death, but it is far from her last. Her encounter with Death haunted her for years later, leaving her with night terrors. When Liesel first arrives on Himmel Street, Frau Hubermann is rather harsh with her, but Hans …show more content…

Frau Hubermann insists that Liesel calls her and her husband ‘Mama’ and ‘Papa’. One night, when Liesel had a particularly bad night terror and wet the bed, Hans found her stolen book while changing her sheets. Upon discovery he learned that Liesel was unable to read. He then proceeded to teach her to read in the months following. While learning how to read, Liesel fell in love with words. Throughout the course of the Holocaust, Liesel begins to develop her character and moral code. “When it came down to it, one of them called the shots. The other did what he was told. The question is, what if the other is a lot more than one?” (Zusak 23). Death said this when Liesel’s little brother was buried. There were two sets of people who he seemed to be referring to at the time, a set of guards and a set of gravediggers. One of the men did what the other said without question. However, what Death was likely talking about was the Nazis. …show more content…

Hans fought with Erik Vandenburg, Max’s father, in World War I. Erik Vandenburg used to play the accordion for fun in his downtime, and he and Hans became friends. When Erik died on the battlefield, Hans felt he owed his family. He went to them and tried to give them Erik’s accordion, but they would not accept it and insisted that he keep it. Hans still has it. Before he left he told the Vandenberg’s that if they ever needed anything, anything at all, just to contact him and that he would be grateful to help out. When Frau Vandenburg did need help, Hans was the first person she called. She needed him to help hide her son, Max Vandenburg, from the Nazi soldiers. And he did. In another novel I read, called Number the Stars by Lois Lowery, the Johansen family hid their Jewish neighbor’s daughter, Ellen Rosen, with them during the Holocaust. They did their best to protect Ellen from being captured by Nazi soldiers and sent to a concentration camp. These novels were similar because they both took place in Germany during the Holocaust, and both of the families in the story hid a Jewish person with them to prevent them from being sent to concentration camps. Also, the protagonists in each story were both young girls who were naïve and not fully aware of the war going on around them. In their eyes, if nothing bad was happening to their direct family, life was good. However, in

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