Title of novel:____The Book Thief
1. Who is the main character? The main character is Liesel Meminger.
2. What kind of person is the main character?
Liesel was described as a very positive girl and despite all the misfortunes she has encountered there is always some light in her enough to have Death pondering over his role to people. “Upon her arrival, you could still see the bite marks of snow on her hands and the frosty blood on her fingers. Everything about her was undernourished. Wirelike shins. Coat hanger arms. She did not produce it easily, but when it came, she had a starving smile.” Behind the pain that can be seen from this character when she found herself all alone in the village when all the people were killed from an air raid, she still proved to be a strong person. From that scene there was an assurance that she won’t succumb to pain and to death; rather, she will go on and prove that there will be a brighter life for her.
3. List the things you liked best and those you liked least about the main character.
What I like about the main character is her determination to survive the Holocaust, the drive to learn how to read, and to inflict the same brightness into other people’s lives.
What I like least about Liesel is the fact that she doesn’t really seize every opportunity to show people how she really loved them. Particularly, she gives Rudy the kiss he’s been asking for when he was already dead, saying that she loved him. She could have done it when he was still alive.
4. Compare yourself to one of the characters in the book. How are you alike? How are you different?
I can compare myself with Hans Hubermann. He was very warm to Liesel—he comforted her during her nightmares and taught her to read. I’m very close to children because I enjoy their company and find them very warm as well. I also think that I am a loyal friend like Hans, who showed his loyalty to Max’s father by hiding the young man in his basement. However, Hans is a quiet revolutionist which makes him different from me. I prefer to loudly reveal my disapproval rather than quietly expressing them.
5. Which character in the book changed the most? In what ways did he or she change?
Death was changed in his outlook on his role in the lives of people, especially with his many encounters with Liesel. At the latter part of the story, Death felt like humans are haunting him. This statement shows that he experiences the exact opposite of his role of haunting humans and getting their souls. Now he realizes that there are some people who can escape Death.
6. Pretend you are the main character in the story. Write a brief description of another character from the main character’s point of view.
Hans Hubermann is my foster father. He and his wife Rosa are very accommodating and they loved me as their own. Hans is a very caring father; taking care of me when I dream of my brother’s death. I owe much to him because he taught me how to read.
7. In no more than fifty words, summarize the plot.
Death narrates the life of Liesel, the book thief. In the middle of the Holocaust, she finds herself all alone after a bomb attack claimed the lives of her parents and best friend. She was very influential to Death because she made him ponder about his role as Death.
8. What is one problem/conflict in the story?
Liesel had one very important conflict with herself in the story—her inability to read. I regard this as a major conflict because it deprives her of the enjoyment of learning more from written sources. What she did to solve it is to snatch books from different people and later learning to read with the help of Hans.
9. Could the story have ended differently? Explain.
Yes, it could end differently but it will lose the essence of the moral about Death. I would prefer not to have the ending changed. The way that it ended with a few people close to Liesel left alive made her a stronger person, strong enough to face Death.
10. List as many words and phrases as you can find that tell where/when the story takes places.
Munich, Himmel Street, basement.
There were no people in the streets anymore. They were rumors carrying bags.
On Munich Street, they watched…they watched the Jews come down the road like a catalogue of colors.
In the small gap in the procession, there was a man…
11. Pretend you are one of the characters in the story. Complete this chart telling the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures you experienced in the story.
Pimples gathered in Rudy’s face
Sound of the accordion
Hans’ and Rosa’s voices
Scent of jam
Rudy’s dusty and sweet lips
The cold skin of Liesel’s brother when he died
RESPONDING TO THE STORY
12. Why did you choose this book to read?
This has received many positive reviews and seems very interesting because it centers on the life of a seemingly naïve young girl in the middle of a very conflicting world.
13. How did the author capture your interest as you read further?
The style of the author is very interesting, especially the way that he writes bold statements in the middle of every page, stressing particular ideas that are very enjoyable.
14. What did the author do to keep your interest as you read further?
The story was a mixture of happy and sad moments and this made the story very dynamic, not stagnant.
15. Are there any similarities between this book and your own life? Explain.
I don’t think there are large similarities because the book’s setting and the present context is a little bit different. I can say that similarities may just lie in the qualities of the characters.
16. Do you think the title fits the book? Why or why not?
Yes, I think the title is suitable because it briefly described the main character. It described her desire to learn and to beat the odds in life.
17. What questions would you like answered after reading this book?
Is this book trying to support feminism by using a very strong female main character?
18. What seems to be the major point the author wants you to remember?
One of the salient points in the movie is that although death is inevitable we can learn a lot from it.
19. Who should read this book? Why?
People who love survival stories should read this book because the story is centered on a girl’s survival in a time when people are losing the vision of their future.
20. Who should not read this book? Why?
People who are not fond of reading stories with young characters and which are family-oriented should not read this book. Although the background of the story is a bit mature, the young girl and her emotional developments are still the center of the story.