I shall say all the meaning behind Rudy’s character after I finish describing what sort of person he is. The reason being is that I want to bring together all the different points into one conclusion at the end.
Rudy Steiner, the blond haired, blue eyed, athletic older brother in the steiner family. Basically the definition of the perfect Aryan boy. But there was a major problem with this, and that is that he hated Hitler(The main advocator for the reasoning that the Aryan race was superior to all others). And why would he hate Hitler, the man who is pretty much saying that he is the best? Because Adolf put Rudy’s and his friends family’s through so much trouble, and caused all of these problems like hunger and making some people disappear. And as Rudy never really figured out the reasoning behind the whole superior race thing, I guess he never bothered trying to win at it, or count it as him winning at something.
And of course I should talk about “The Jesse Owens incident”. And, ah, was this just fantastic. It is wrong in so many ways, and I’m not talking about racist ones or anything. Basically, Jesse owens has just won 4 gold medals at the olympics, and has become the idol of many different people, including our Rudy Steiner. And so, Rudy has the genius idea that he should become like Jesse Owens, and colour himself black with charcoal, like, really cover himself with it, make sure it gets everywhere. And then, go to a race track where he proceeds to imagine himself as Jesse Owens, with the crowd cheering him on, his competitors being left behind, and his father waiting at the finish line. So, yeah, his Dad tries to get Rudy to understand how bad of an idea this was, but completely fails as Rudy doesn’t understand the concept of there being a better race. And of course, the many problems that had nothing to do with race, are how he covered himself in charcoal, and got himself extremely dirty. And this is around about the time most germans are getting pretty darn poor and they can’t afford to lose any charcoal or the water needed to wash him. And the fact that no parent would want to see their kid covered in coal dust, no matter the reason.
Next should be Hitler’s youth! This is the school all kids must go to, as it is that school. You know, the one that indoctinorates all the children into the ‘perfect race ideal mental state’ that Adolf wanted. That is everyone being a complete and utter follower of every word from Adolf Hitler, and everyone wanting to do anything that is needed to achieve what Adolf wanted to do. Of course the school also teaches kids how to read and write, among other things. Now then, what does all this have to do with Rudy? Simple. Kids pick on kid called Tommy Muller. Rudy defends Tommy Muller. Kids pick on both Rudy and Tommy Muller. And so Rudy hates kids Hitler youth, and in turn, ends up hating Hitler’s youth itself. It got to the point that he was skipping out on ‘classes’, and he only went back when they shifted him to another class away from the bully’s.
Then there were the races I somehow nearly forgot to mention. The races being a athletic day being held at ‘school’ where all the different groups in hitler’s youth got together to do the same kinda stuff we do at MAC at the start of the year. Rudy’s goal for that day was to get 4 gold medals. At this time, he did say he wasn’t as into Jesse Owens anymore, and that he just wanted to prove anyone he was right. And so, he won 3 gold medals and then began to feel tired. So for the 4th race he starts digging up the ground and gets told off. Then he false starts. Then, he false starts again. He was disqualified. And the interesting bit is why he decided to be disqualified(Obviously he wanted to be, besides mentioning it later on, he also kept on doing stuff to convince the referee to disqualify him.) And it is interesting because Liesel believes that it was because he didn’t think he was Jesse Owens, like he truly wasn’t good enough to be like him.
Now then, what else is there? Hmm…Oh yeah, Love. Liesel is the girl that Rudy ends up falling in love with, or something akin to love I suppose? I don’t really know, but basically, Rudy is a lady’s man. Always trying to get the girl. That is, he is always trying to get a kiss from his new neighbour Liesel. And of course, Liesel always finds an excuse not to. Not that she isn’t tempted many times over, but she always finds an excuse. Interestingly enough, after a long period of time, like a year or 2, Rudy has ended up fantasizing that kiss so much, that he doesn’t want to risk asking anymore, and then get the kiss, as he is scared it might ruin it(I am not sure here, I never properly understood this point. Guess he just doesn’t want to ruin what he thinks it will be like.) And Liesel does end up wanting to kiss him as well, but she never does because she always thought it would be fine to wait longer or something like that. Well, she does end up kissing him when he dies…
So what else is there? More on Liesel I guess. Liesel is Rudy’s best friend. So, yeah, nead I say more? They play soccer together, they steal together, they run away together, everything is done together(why do you think I mentioned love before). And of course, they rely on each other quite a bit. Always helping out each other and making sure they don’t do something stupid, or at least, they try to stop each other doing stupid stuff. Without Liesel, Rudy would of found another person to be friends with, and he would of found some other girl to get a crush on, and in the end, not much would be different. However, that didn’t happen. But as far as I can tell, Liesel wasn’t necessary in Rudy’s life. Sure, the way she helped him out and the things they did together wasn’t something other friends would of done with each other normally, but still. Rudy didn’t need Liesel, he needed a friend. Liesel just so happened to fill up the position of friend(And crush, arguably). I am also not going to mention how much Liesel needed someone like Rudy, and that no one else could of filled in that position.
Ok fine, I will. Liesel moved into a brand new place after her previous family left her. She would obviously be broken mentally(Nightmares? Why is that all she suffers from?! Seriously. A little kid went through hell, and she has nightmares. Surely there would be more than that, or were they just not mentioned?) So she would need someone her own age to talk to and help her get along. So a friend is needed. It needs to be someone nice, and who she can open up to and not have everything thrown back at her. And so, who else but Rudy? Rudy wouldn’t want to hurt her anymore(If you think he would, then you need help), and Rudy can be opened up to and he can help right back, all because of that innocence and wildness. He possess the right qualities to help someone like Liesel, so in all honesty, Liesel got lucky. Rudy needs more luck if anyone does.
And finally, I just want to mention one last thing before moving on to explaining how all this affects Rudy’s character. Every time I think of Rudy, there are three specific scenes I think of. Two of them more than the other. Those two are the scene were the pilot dies after their plane crashed in the forest, and just before he dies, Rudy comes along and puts a teddy bear on his shoulder. The pilot says thank you, but of course in english so Rudy doesn’t understand. And then there is that scene of Liesel kissing Rudy. Oh, and the other fairly important scene is were Death comes to pick up Rudy’s soul, and just, ‘everyone cries’. If you don’t feel sad over that bit, then your emotions are in even more trouble than mine, so you need to do something now. Get a physiatrist, that stuff is SAD. All of those scenes are just sad when you think about them, and have my thoughts behind what happened.
Pages 288, 315, 384, just chock full of Rudy.