“From the toolbox the boy took out, of all things, a teddy bear. He reached in through the torn windshield and placed it on the pilot’s chest. ”“The book thief has struck for the first time – the beginning of an illustrious career. ”“Then they discovered she couldn’t read or write. ”“Unofficially, it was called the midnight class, even though it commenced at around two in the morning. ““The last time I saw her was red. The sky was like soup, boiling and stirring. In some places it was burned. There were black crumbs and pepper, streaked across the redness. ”“That was one war started.
Liesel would soon be in another. ”“In fact, on April 20 – the Fuhrer’s birthday – when she snatched a book from beneath a steaming pile of ashes, Liesel was a girl made of darkness. ”“You are going to die. ”“He was not the junior misogynistic type of boy at all. ”“Her brother was dead. ”“The book thief had struck for the first time – the beginning of an illustrious career. ”“The Star of David was painted on their doors. The houses were almost like lepers. At the very least, they were infected sores on the German landscape. ”“In the beginning, it was the profanity that made an immediate impact.
It was so vehement and prolific. Every other word was either Saumensch or Saukerl or Arschloch. ”“Saumensch. You call me Mama when you talk to me. ”“Not leaving: an act of trust and love, often deciphered by children. ”“To live. Living was living. The price was guilt and shame. ”“The man did not breathe. He did not move. Yet, somehow, he traveled from the doorway to the bed and was under the covers. ”“Sometimes there was humor in Max Vandenburg’s voice, though its physicality was like friction – like a stone being gently rubbed across a large rock. “From a Himmel Street window, he wrote, the stars set fire to my eyes. ”“Out of respect, the adults kept everyone quiet, and Liesel finished chapter one of The Whistler. ”|Though we don’t know it until the end of the novel, the boy that gets the teddy bear is actually named Rudy. By this time in the novel, he has already dedicated himself to acts of kindness and love, small and large. Ironically, a plane like the one he sees crashed here in front of him, with its pilot barely alive, is like the one that will drop a bomb on Himmel Street, ending Rudy’s life.
By the end of the novel, Liesel does have a career – in reading the books she steals. She wins the love of fellow Himmel Streeters by reading to them during the air raids and expresses her love for Max by reading to him when he’s in a coma. This is important to note, as terms of Liesel’s growth throughout the book. Liesel and Hans trade sleep for reading and writing, and the pleasure of one another’s company. These activities help forge the bond between them. This early passage describes the sky over Himmel Street when it’s bombed in 1942.
This passage refers to Hitler’s invasion of Poland and Liesel’s bad day in school, where she’s beaten multiple times by her teacher and then beats up two other kids herself. Here we see Liesel moments after she’s declared war on Hitler himself. Her way of fighting him has to do with rescuing at least one of the many books he’s burned. It might be unnerving to hear Death addressing us so plainly. But he’s not really telling us anything we don’t know. Rather, he’s expressing his vision of humans as sharing a common identity in our mortality. Rudy is just too loveable.
Misogyny, dislike of females, is a good character for any guy not too have, whatever the age. We like that this is part of his identity. Yes, Werner’s death is criminal. It could have been prevented. Six year old Werner, along with the rest of the family, is being punished for having Communist affiliations. He’s being punished with poverty and lack of medical treatment. He is not alone. Liesel’s book stealing never quite qualifies as criminality, unless you’re being strict. As Rudy points out, it’s almost silly to call taking books from Ilsa Hermann’s library “stealing. Her book thievery presents a pleasant counterpart to the very real crimes of the Nazis. Being a Jew in these times means being a criminal. There is no move a Jew in Nazi Germany can make that isn’t considered a crime. Death explains to us that sau means a pig. Saumensch is an insult for women, Saukerl is an insult for men. Arschloch is “asshole” (sorry for using the term, but it’s nessecary to describe this part of the book). These terms become terms of endearment between the characters as the novel progresses. At this early stage, though, being called a pig-girl isn’t exactly endearing.
Liesel soon learns that calling Rosa “Mama” is one big way to stay on her good side. Death tells us that this is a definition that isn’t found in the dictionaries. As we see when we get into the Duden Dictionary sections of the novel, it’s sometimes hard to find the right words to express what we see and feel. This theme is repeated over and over in the novel, by anyone who survives. Michael Holtzapfel’s guilt over his brother’s death (which he had nothing to do with and couldn’t prevent) drives him to commit suicide. The passage does a lot to highlight Max’s suffering. Two years hiding in dark sheds has made him an xpert at the art of pretending not to exist. Max is fighting a war for his own survival. It’s taken much of his humor from him. Yet, he manages to laugh and make others laugh, in spite of his plight. This is Max, writing in his scrap book, expressing how it felt to see the stars for the first time since he’s come to Himmel Street. In fact, he hasn’t been anything of the outside world. The passage is an intense expression of his confined state. Liesel is becoming “the word shaker. ” She’s finding ways to use words for good, like here, when she comforts the people in the bomb shelter by reading to them. |