The second discussion of The Book Thief Read Along is being hosted by Kami over at Kami’s Library Thoughts.
I have been so busy with my course to teach English as a foreign language that I almost forgot to post anything about parts 4-6 so apologies for my late post! I feel like I read section 4-6 so long ago (though it was probably just over a week ago) and I particularly remember enjoying it immensely. I rushed through the sections so quickly that I was surprised to have reached section 7 and didn’t want it to end! It took a great deal of will power not to read on but I did it!
‘Of course, I’m being rude. I’m spoiling the ending, not only of the entire book, but of this particular piece of it. I have given you two events in advance, because I don’t have much interest in building mystery. Mystery bores me. It chores me. I know what happens and so do you. It’s the machinations that wheel us there that aggravate, perplex, interest and astound me’.
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak, pg. 253
Here are some thoughts on The Book Thief so far (the questions are taken from Kami’s discussion post):
1. What emotions have you felt while reading? Are they strong emotions?
I have strong sense of foreboding which won’t go away and this is obviously a result of Death’s foreshadowing. There was also a moment in the book where I was absolutely sure someone (I’m not saying who) was going to die and I just so happened to be on a train at that point. I thought I was going to burst into tears! There is something so simple and innocent about the way this book is written that it haunts and chills me to the bone. I can’t wait to see how this will translate to film now.
2. Several characters mention similarities between Max and Liesel. What similarities have you noticed, and why do you think the author made these characters relate to each other?
Liesel and Max, although seemingly complete opposites at first, share a deep bond. They both know what it feels like to lose everyone they have ever known and loved. Furthermore, they both know what it feels like to be shown human kindness and compassion in the forms of Hans and Rosa Hubermann. I also found it interesting to see some smaller similarities between the two – they both suffer from nightmares, both tend to use their fists before thinking and both find a sort of solace in stories.
3. What do you think of The Standover Man aka the book Max wrote for Liesel.
Again, so simple yet so sweet! It was a nice, authentic touch to include the actual book in the story with the drawings. It added to a sense of realism.
4. How do you feel about knowing who is going to die in the end and what are some of your predictions?
Even though the surprise has been taken away I am still dreading the moment somebody dies. I feel like Death is trying to prepare us for the inevitable but at the same time we have no idea when the events will actually take place. I keep turning over each page hesitantly. I know that I will still blub like a baby regardless of the fact that I know who is going to die! So really, I don’t think the foreshadowings have made much of a difference to me.
5. What do you think of Rudy’s rebellious attitude?
I admire Rudy for his courage. He has a strong set of morals and will step up for his friends without thinking of the consequences he has incurred on himself. For example, the decision to stop attending the Hitler Youth would have had major consequences at that time. I think these little acts of rebellion are the beginnings of his outright abhorrence of the Nazi Party, which at this time and place pretty much seals his fate.
6. Is Rosa growing on you?
I have actually liked Rosa from the beginning! She is the backbone of this mismatched family and knows exactly what to do in a crisis, like when Max falls seriously ill. She is strong and feisty female who does whatever is in her power to protect those she loves
7. What do you think of the relationship between Max and Liesel?
It feels as if through losing their respective families, they have found comfort and a sense of belonging in one another. Perhaps Liesel sees Max as a brother figure.
8. Why do you think Liesel is so determined to steal from the Mayor’s library?
After Isla Hermann dismisses Rosa Hubermann from her post I think Liesel initially feels a strong sense of anger towards her. Anger towards her privileged lifestyle, but also anger towards her inability to act. She may have books, knowledge, money and power available to her but she is frustratingly passive.
‘Now she became spiteful. More spiteful and evil than she thought herself capable.
The injury of words.
Yes, the brutality of words.
She summoned them from some place she only now recognised and hurled them at Isla Hermann’.
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak, pg.272
Liesel, then, would rather steal the books from this woman than have them handed to her. It is quite obvious that Isla and her husband, the Mayor, can afford to keep Rosa Hubermann on yet they choose not to. I get the sense that Liesel understands this and, therefore, doesn’t have any respect for someone who could just look on at the poverty and hardships of the people in her neighbourhood and do nothing.
9. What really stands out to you in the story and why?
Max and his story really stood out for me in this section. I found his heart-wrenching dilemma to be saved, at the cost of losing his family, so tragic. He is obviously battling with a guilt that shouldn’t even be his. Also, his relationship with Liesel is so touching!
10. If you were in Hans’ position, would you have helped/hid Max?
I have no idea how to answer that! It is such a difficult dilemma. I would like to say I would but I honestly don’t know!