2IDENTITY AND BELONGING THEMES AND IDEASDEATHHUMANITYRELATIONSHIPSWORDS AND BOOKSGUILTCOURAGEIDENTITY AND BELONGING
3DEATH and lossThe story is narrated by ‘Death’ – what impact does this have?‘Death’ as the narrator is reluctant to do his ‘job’. He is sentimental and cares for souls:- “ your soul will be in my arms..I will carry you gently away” p4
4DEATH and loss Max and Liesel have been touched by death and loss Death is all around:Devastation of warHatred of the Jews- loss of freedom and identityFrau Hermann’s grief following the loss of her son is evident.Michael Holtzapfel hangs himself after his brother dies in war
5THE BEAUTY AND BRUTALITY OF HUMANITY ‘The consequence of this is that I’m always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both . . .’ (p522)The novel describes Rudy Steiner:‘In years to come he would be a giver of bread, not a stealer – proof again of the contradictory human being. So much good, so much evil. Just add water.'(p 178)Even ‘Death’ cannot comprehend how humans can be so cruel and yet so good at the same time.- He is “haunted by humans” p584Brutality of humanitySuffering endured by Max, Liesel and many other characters in the novelThe atrocities committed in the war, the persecution and deaths of millions of JewsThe horrors of war, e.g. The dying pilot scene
6THE BEAUTY OF HUMANITY Erik Vandenburg (Max’ father) saves Hans’ life Walter helps Max to initially escape the concentration campsHans gives one of the starving Jewish camp prisoners a piece of bread- a risky decisionMax and Liesel’s friendship, developed amidst war and sufferingRudy leaves a teddy bear on the chest of the American pilot who crashes his plane (Part Nine)Hans and Rosa accepting Liesel into their home, despite their own lack of wealth and foodHans’ patience in teaching Liesel and his selflessness through buying her the books for ChristmasHans helps Max by allowing him to stay with the family, despite the obvious risksFrau Hermann sharing her books with Liesel
7courageIt amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on, coughing and searching and finding” (p570)Hans shows compassion and courage, and rebels against Hitler and the Nazis by hiding Max in his basementLiesel stealing books and sticking up for herself at schoolHe is trying to uphold his beliefs and morals in a society where they are not tolerated and accepted.“Since 1933, 90% of Germans showed unflinching support for Adolf Hitler. That leaves 10% who didn’t. Hans Hubermann belonged to the 10%” p65Who else shows courage in the novel?
8Words and booksLiesel finds solace and sanity in books she has stolen or salvaged from the Nazi bonfires of banned books.The Shoulder Shrug- stolen at the bonfireLiesel develops a bond with the Mayor’s wife after she is allowed into the library.She is striving for knowledge at a time when ideas are being squashedShe is comforted by reading after her nightmaresShe is able to tell her own story through her bookMax’ books “ The Word Shaker” and “The Standover Man”“she knew how powerless a person could be without words” – (Max, The Word Shaker p476)
9Words and book continued “The words. Why did they have to exist? Without them, there wouldn't be any of this. Without words, the Führer was nothing.” – Liesel p553She “wanted to kill the words” p554‘It was a nation of farmed thoughts…our Führer also planted seeds to create symbols.'(p 475) - Max's story suggests that Hitler's power lay in the words he plantedShe said it audibly now, to the orange-lit room. "What good are the words?"(p.553)I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. (p.562)Liesel grows to understand how words are used to invoke and spread feelings of hatred during the war, and how powerful they can be (i.e. To the Nazi Party) Gravediggers Handbook is a link to Liesel’s past. Why?
10Words and books Continued Storytelling – The Book Thief, ultimately saves Liesel. How?“The words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them out like the clouds and she would wring them out like the rain” p85“She was holding desperately on to the words that had saved her life” (p499)Liesel reads aloud to calm everyone as they await the bomb raids- [find a quote and highlight.]Frau Hermann gives Liesel a blank book to record her story.Liesel reads aloud to Frau Holtzapfel as a favour. Why does Frau Holtzapfel enjoy this? What does she get out of this?Max and Mein KampfHe carries it with him on his journey to Munich. How does the book ‘save’ him? How is this ironic?He uses it to make The Standover Man (he paints over the words)
11RELATIONSHIPS Liesel and Rosa Liesel and Hans “a woman with an iron fist”Made to clean Frau Holtzapfel’s spit off the doorstep, made to help with the housework and ironing“She did love Liesel Meminger..her way of showing it just happened to be strange. It involved bashing her with wooden spoon and words..” p35Liesel watching Mama wearing Hans’ accordion when he is taken off to war“I came and watched you and you were beautiful. God damn it, you were so beautiful, Mama” p571Liesel and HansThe accordionEducation in the basement, and night-time readingHe buys her two books for Christmas after selling his cigarettesHans gains Liesel’s trust early on when she is suffering from nightmares every night “a stranger to kill the aloneness” . He convinces Liesel to take a bath when she arrives in Molching.His eyes were made of “kindness, and silver” p34
12Relationship continued Liesel and MaxMax makes a book for Liesel as a birthday present (The Standover Man)Max and Liesel have many things in commonMax asks Liesel to cut his hairThe Word Shaker is a symbol of their strong friendship which has developed throughout Max’ stay with the Hubermanns.Liesel diligently watched the Jewish marches looking out for Max, signifying her affection and hope for Max.“Often I wish this would all be over, Liesel but then you go and do something like walk down the stairs with a snowman in your hands” p335Rudy and LieselA strong friendship from the start“He was there for her at the beginning and he would be there later on... But he wouldn’t do it for free” p53Liesel finally gives Rudy the kiss he always wanted after he dies from the bombs in Himmel Street.
13GUILT Max’ guilt for leaving his family behind to be arrested Feels guilty for sleeping in Liesel’s room like a guest and moves into the basementLiesel’s guilt at calling Frau Hermann “a pathetic woman”Rudy feels guilty for his father being drafted into the Nazi Party to fight in the warFrau Holtzapfel’s son’s guilt at wanting to live while his brother is dead.
14Identity and belonging Liesel is unsure of her identity as she is taken away from her family to be raised with an unknown foster familyShe suffers ridicule at school because she cannot read wellThrough her education at home with Hans, Liesel creates her own identity as she becomes independent in her reading.She becomes the ‘Book Thief’