Characterisation of The Book Thief


For this task, my job is to do the same for these characters as I did with Death. Now then, let’s begin!

Liesel was first seen as a 9, nearly 10 year old girl, who standing in the snow, crying over her brothers death. “Tears were frozen to the book thief’s face.” At the time, besides having her brother die, it was the last time she saw her mother. From this we can figure out that the past of Liesel before she first sees Hans is quite bad. Or at least, it was a unhealthy situation. “There was an intense spurt of coughing. Almost an inspired spurt of coughing. And soon after – nothing.” This was a moment where the sickness her brother was probably suffering from finally caught up to him. He was sick, so why couldn’t Liesel of been too? There living conditions had to of been bad, to the point where you can die from sickness, meaning Liesel was in those conditions. I know I am not even about to begin going on about all the terrible things that happened to Liesel because of the Nazi’s, but from this beginning we can tell that Liesel and her original family where in bad living conditions. Barely any school, leaving Liesel illiterate. Sickness, leaving Liesel’s brother dead. And as her mother was communist, her mother had to leave her, because if she stayed, the living conditions would get even worse(Like, slavery).

So yeah, terrible beginning. Her character at this point is one of what you would expect a little girl to be like. You know, freaking out over how her brother died, and trying to remember something about this moment by stealing “The GraveDigger’s HandBook”. But if you take into account her sad past, you begin to see a tale of a determined young girl who won’t let anything hold her back. Her determination to find her mother again, and not be held back too much by her brothers death, even while dealing with a heavy and sad past, is extremely impressive and inspiring.

And now we know what kind of person she is at the beginning of the tale, a little girl going through so many terrible experiences that it would’ve been fine if she went insane from it(I would of, pretty much anyone would).  So then we move onto the next part, where she meets her new family!

Hans and Rosa. They deserve their own write ups like this one, but basically, Hans is the kind hearted father, who taught Liesel how to read, and helped keep her sane when anyone else would go insane. And Rosa, who is the mean talking, but kind hearted mother. . ““Saumensch, du dreckiges!” Liesel’s foster mother shouted that first evening when she refused to have a bath. “You filthy pig! Why won’t you get undressed?” She was good at being furious. In fact, you could say that Rosa Hubermann had a face decorated with constant fury. That was how the creases were made in the cardboard texture of her complexion.” That was Rosa, the filthy mouthed women who was mean to everyone, and always angry. But in that quote, you can still tell that there was a certain amount of care in there, towards Liesel. Both Hans and Rosa set up Liesel with a family, with all the love and care you can get from it. This is something she never would of had before this, and would be something she always remembered. And as this came after such a large turning point in her life, this family would of saved her. If Hans or Rosa had acted differently, the Liesel we get later on would of been completely different(If Hans was more mean, she would of never been saved mentally, and if Rosa was nicer, then the concept of meanness would never be present in Liesel).

So basically, we have managed to get past the first chapter or so, and we have already had massive amounts of development, from a little girl with a terrible past, to a little girl who is developing with her new family. Honestly, I could go on and on about how every single person she meets changes her, like the school incident and the bully she beat up, or Tommy Muller who she beat up because she thought he was making fun of her too, but then had to convince him for ages “that she wasn’t going to kill him.” Just this one incident changed Liesel into a person who isn’t afraid to hurt others, while also making her more determined to learn how to read so she doesn’t mess up in front of others again, and also taught her how to tell the difference between friends and enemies. This massive change, and it was one short chapter. So I will shorten down what I say(And luckily at around this point there was ‘less’ development.) The next part is about the middle of the book, after the library incident.

At this point, Liesel can read, but is still increasing her knowledge of words. She can hurt other people if necessary, and also steal from other people to get what she wants. She has Rudy as a friend, and someone for her to talk to, but still not quite confide and trust in, meaning she had social abilities. And Max was living in her basement around here in time, who is someone she always talks to after the near death incident from the snowman. From this, her knowledge on death has increased, and she can ‘better’ handle the concept of people she cares about being in precarious positions. And the library incident got her to know more books, and also developed the idea of ‘treachery’ and ‘guilt’. Treachery from how the mayors wife stopped paying her, which was akin to kicking her out of the library, and stopping her from reading(Which was literally keeping her sane a few years ago, so reading is extremely important to her). And guilt from when she insulted the mayor’s wife, and realised that that might of been a bad idea. This particular incident would of changed her into someone less trusting, and less susceptible to guilt. It also had risen her confidence to overcome guilt and fear, which she used to feel when going to the mayor as she feared being in trouble.

And after all that, I suppose all that is left is the ending. Oh, well, a brief note, I didn’t include the summer of going around painting; or the reading aloud of the book in the shelter; or the suicide of the soldier who came back but who didn’t want to live because he couldn’t handle the guilt of wanting to live; or Rudy and the romance/friendship between them; or Max and the fear of his death or capture, and the many books she got; or the champagne she once drunk and loved; or the time she went into that thief group again, but she left quite quickly because the new leader didn’t like her or Rudy. So yeah






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