The Book Thief Short Sample Answers

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Table of Contents

What role do books play for Liesel, Hans, Max, and in the novel as a whole? 4

What is the effect of having the book be narrated by Death? How would it be different if it were narrated by Liesel, Hans, or Max? 5

Why is it significant that Max is Jewish? 6

What role do books play for Liesel, Hans, Max, and in the novel as a whole?

In a time when literature came under suspicion if it was not supportive of the Nazi regime, books are a form of protest and escape for the characters. For Liesel, books are a refuge from her harsh and often chaotic environment as well as a means of empowerment, of transforming her situation of helplessness into one of strength, where she is able to help others. Books are instrumental to her bonds with Max and Hans, both of whom win her trust through the act of reading and being read to. But books can also be dangerous, as Liesel learns at the bonfire. The power of the ideas contained in books can incite crowds to violence, and can make ordinary people commit horrible acts. Towards the end of the novel, the knowledge of the potential evil in literature makes Liesel destroy a book.

Books are additionally a weapon of resistance. Max smuggles his false identity card in a copy of MKPF, which he pretends to read on the train to avoid detection as a Jew. Later, he paints over the pages of MKPF and writes his own story over Hitler’s whited-out words. It’s a practical act as he lacks access to fresh paper and writing utensils, but it’s also ...

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