The Book Thief
It's just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . . Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist-books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul. From the Hardcover edition.
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Prologue: A Mountain Range of Rubble
A prologue is a section of a book which opens the story, often giving information about the setting and providing background details. The first passage in this prologue establishes three important things for the reader to attend to: the narrator, colors, and the book thief. These three things will be central to unlocking meaning in the text.
Death and Chocolate
This is the first of many examples of boldfaced text that is used to share the narrator's commentary and/or shock the reader. This device will be used to foreshadow things to come or even spoil future events in the plot.
Using clues in the text, the reader can infer that is the narrator of The Book Thief.
Although the narrator mentions it casually, this list names some of the most important people and concepts in the text. The reader should be wary of the narrator, as Death, often misleads with minor tricks like this throughout the book. Similar to the boldfaced text, it becomes another way to throw the reader off guard, creating openings for surprises.
Beside the Railway Line
Why might Death focus on the color white during this scene?
If you should encounter a word which you do not know, remember to click and hold until it is highlighted. After this, choose "Define" from the menu and a definition will appear.
The reader can infer that the corpse is likely the book thief's
This is an example of a metaphor. The plane is being directly compared to a bird throughout this passage. Watch the video for a detailed explanation of metaphor and continue to look for examples as you read. (This annotation contains a video)
The two highlighted sentences contain
Death is commenting on the fact that humans cause much of the pain and suffering in the world, yet they want to blame things such as fate or misfortune.
Why has Death chosen to keep and retell the book thief's story?
Munich (aka Munchen) is in southern Germany. See the map below for an idea of where the city of Munich is located and where the country of Germany lies within Europe. (This annotation contains an image)
Liesel awakens and notices
Note the author's description of the train, using verbs that are usually reserved for the movements of a living thing. This is called personification. Watch the video below for more information about this literary device and look for more examples as you read. (This annotation contains a video)
This phrase is an example of
The "higher echelons" means high rank in society. People of this class are generally wealthy and educated. This tells the reader that the foster family Liesel is going to live with are not wealthy, yet are still in a better position than her own family.
The highlighted passage can best be summed up by which idea?
This is a reference to Hitler's "final solution," his systematic plan to eliminate the Jews through genocide (murder of a specific group of people.) This type of casual reference to something is called an allusion. It is not explained and requires the reader to have background knowledge to fully understand its meaning or multiple meanings.
With this sentence, the author foreshadows (suggests) which events to come?
This is another allusion, or reference, which requires background knowledge. Mein Kampf (My Struggle) was Hitler's manifesto, in which he outlined his plan for Germany's future and voiced his hatred of the Jewish people. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on what you've read so far, compare and contrast how Rosa and Hans Hubermann view Liesel and how that affects their interactions with her. Provide evidence from the text to support your conclusions.
Hans's accordion will be an important symbol going forward in the text. Watch the video below to see and hear an accordion player performing traditional German music. (This annotation contains a video)
What might this seemingly contradictory statement (called an oxymoron) mean?
Notice that Liesel sees Hans's accordion music as a gift given to her. This shows her appreciation for the little things in life, as she has had a very rough start.
The reader can infer that taught the "midnight class."
The Hitler Youth organization was used to indoctrinate young people into the Nazi belief system. Below is a picture of young girls in uniform performing the "heil Hitler' salute like Liesel would have been expected to do. (This annotation contains an image)
Explain why this is an example of personification.
This chapter is called "The Woman with the Iron Fist." This has multiple meanings because Mama washes and irons other people's clothes for a living. The title also comes from a phrase describing someone in charge who shows little mercy to others, which also describes Mama's status in the Hubermann household.
What is Death's point of view on Himmel Street?
The narrator is letting the reader know that Rudy will be a very important character in the text. Using what information you have thus far, what do you think the crimes might involve?
Why might the author have added this section of text?
A misogynist is someone who is prejudiced towards women. The author is letting the reader know that Rudy actually likes girls very much, though he has a strange way of showing it.
"The road of yellow stars" is a symbol of
Listen to the "Radetzky March" by Johann Strauss below. (This annotation contains a video)
What does the word vowed mean? Use context clues to help you.
This is an idiom meaning to beat someone or treat them roughly.
How does the language of the text change during the description of this incident?
This section shows the complex nature of life in Nazi Germany during this time. Mr. Steiner is depicted as a relatively nice person, yet for many reasons he is willing to look the other way while his Jewish neighbors are persecuted. His conscience tries to rise up within him, knowing this is wrong, yet he pushes these feelings away. Why does he do this?
What does the word steering mean in these sentences?
Rudy's blond hair and blue eyes make him an ideal candidate for Hitler's Aryan race. Believing these traits were superior, Hitler imagined a future Germany populated by Aryans and focused his hatred on eliminating those who were different in any way. Looking like Rudy meant safety and protection as long as one went along with Hitler and his party.
Use evidence from the text to describe Hans Hubermann and explain how his presence affects Liesel.
As you read the text, look for more connections between words and life.
Why does Hans decide to "start from scratch" instead of teaching Liesel from the book?
Consider why the author added Hans's artwork to the text. How does it add to the story line?
Mama thinks that Hans is .
Dachau was the first Nazi concentration camp where Jews and others considered undesirable by Hitler were tortured through forced labor and other extreme measures. Over 32,000 deaths were documented at Dachau.
The highlighted text is foreshadowing events to come. It also establishes the accordion as a symbol for the reader to pay attention to as the text progresses.
Liesel's reading ability
The term "Fuhrer" is a German word meaning leader. It has become synonymous with Hitler.
In this passage, the reader can infer that
It is as if the sun is shining a light on Liesel's deficiency and adding to her humiliation.
There are several examples of alliteration on this page. Which of the following is an example?
This is a defining moment for Liesel. She is finally coming to terms with all the awful things that have happened in her life up until now.
The hunger for words or ideas in books could be considered a in this text.
Book burnings were used as a form of censorship in Nazi Germany. Watch the video below of a book burning during this time period. (This annotation contains a video)
What does this say about Liesel? How has she changed as the story has progressed? Use evidence from the text to support your conclusions.
Notice that the colors described in the text have become more vivid as Liesel learns to read and gains confidence.
Hans Hubermann might best be described as .
This is one of many instances of duality, or two sides of something, in this text. Cigarettes are usually seen as negative, yet they are used to create a positive outcome here.
Why does Mama begin sending Liesel out to pick up and deliver the laundry?
Occasionally, the author adds German words to the text. Sometimes an English translation is offered, while other times it is not. Consider how this impacts the text.
Why is Liesel able to infer that Papa is not telling her something?
This is a coping mechanism that helps Liesel deal with scary or upsetting information. Look for other coping mechanisms that help Liesel deal with her shifting emotions throughout the book.
This second Watschen was
In this scene, Papa's accordion is like medicine that helps Liesel recover.
In this scene, Papa uses humor to hide
The reader can infer from this that Hans Junior is a Nazi sympathizer, unlike his father.
This is an example of
This is an allusion to the Battle of Stalingrad and tells the reader that Hans Junior will go away to war. Since we were told things don't work out well for him, we can assume he will probably be gravely injured or killed.
Summarize the highlighted passage in your own words. What do you think it means?
Reread the highlighted passage, where the mound of books to be burned is described through the metaphor of an unpopular child. Consider how the author's choice of language adds to the tone of this scene.
According to this passage, which is most dangerous?
Remember the metaphor of the unpopular child? The author has kept the metaphor going by now describing the pile of burned books as a corpse.
This action is clearly out of character for Hans as we know him. Why might he do such a thing?
An "olive branch" is considered an offering of peace. Papa is asking Liesel to roll him a cigarette as a way of saying he is sorry he had to teach her a tough lesson and wants things to go back to the way they were.
What details does the author use to compare the mound of burned books to a magnet? Provide examples to support your thinking.
The author uses the metaphor of survivors to describe the books that were not burned. The language makes them seem alive, which also fits the ongoing theme of words carrying much importance and life within them.
Who is the shadow that saw Liesel take the book?
The book is literally burning Liesel because it was hot from the fire, but it there is also a figurative burn. Liesel "burns" for more books and language. Learning to read has ignited a fire within her.
In the highlighted text, Papa is
This section allows the reader into Hans's mind for just a moment, so we can see what he sees. This is a clever device the author uses to make his character come to life.
What does the highlighted section of the text foreshadow for the future in this story? How do you know?
Paranoia is a thinking that is heavily influenced by anxiety and fear. Consider why Liesel might feel this way.
Why does Liesel want to evade knocking on the Mayor's door?
This is a metaphor. The door is being directly compared to a blanket of wood. Continue to look for other metaphors in the text.
Explain why the highlighted text is an example of personification.
Watch this scene from the movie of The Book Thief and consider the similarities and differences in how it is portrayed in the book versus on film. (This annotation contains a video)
Compare and contrast the portrayal of this scene in the movie version of The Book Thief to the same scene as described in the book. Make sure to provide evidence from both sources to support your thinking.
This means that the Mayor's wife
Below is a map showing the locations of Stuttgart, located in the southern part of Germany north of Munchen (Munich). (This annotation contains an image)
"The dry corridor of his throat" is an example of
The book was intended for burning because it challenged Hilter's negative portrayal of the Jewish people. Our narrator, Death, is being sarcastic when describing the book's ideas as "Unforgivable".
Rudy and Liesel call each other these names as a term of
With the highlighted text, the author conveys the theme that words have immense power over the human existence.
This line can be best connected to one of the book's
Imagine having to eat small portions of the exact same unsatisfying meal every day. This illustrates the desperate nature of this time period.
Thievery or stealing, has become a "motif" in this text. Watch the video below to learn about this term. (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following themes does the motif of stealing help illustrate?
The barbed wire should remind the reader of
Liesel has become so malnourished that her body isn't able to digest the apples properly, which is why she is vomiting.
The reader can infer that her teeth are in her mouth.
This is an example of verbal irony. Watch the video below to learn more about this term. Look for more examples of verbal irony from our sarcastic narrator, Death. (This annotation contains a video)
The highlighted text is an example of
Max's guilt is two-fold. First, he feels guilty because he is a Jew "pretending" to be a German. Second, he is guilty of traveling without "papers" and worries he will be caught guilty of this dangerous crime.
The fact that Mein Kampf is being used by a Jew to cover his identity is
The author plays with language here. Rudy's smile is described using the simile of a "skid", while he and Liesel hatch a plan to make Otto "skid" out on his bike.
How does this scene illustrate how Liesel has evolved as a character in this text? Would she have done this earlier? Be sure to include examples that support your opinions and ideas.
Which of the following quotes from the text could be considered a theme?
Liesel does this "instinctively". She feels responsible for Rudy and is willing to put herself in harm's way for him without even thinking about it. The two of them are like a family unit.
Both Death, as narrator, and Liesel, as a character, share the belief that they are
Notice how the mood has changed to dark and ominous. The author is using specific language to create this mood. Reread the last page of text while reflecting on the word choice that creates the mood in this scene.
World War I was fought in Europe from 1914-1918. Below is a map of the countries involved. (This annotation contains an image)
Descriptions of the setting in this story involving the color white (like this one and the scene at the beginning in the snow) usually center around
This is an allusion to the frequent bombing of the town of Essen during World War II.
The reader can infer that Max is
Hochdeutsch refers to a dialect of German spoken by those living in the southern uplands or the Alps. It would indicate the area where the speaker was born and raised.
What does this act say about Hans? Use evidence from the text to support your thinking.
The Gestapo were German secret police who operated outside of the law. They investigated and often cruelly punished those who were viewed as enemies of the state.
Which of the following might be another version of the question?
This is an interesting sentence the author has crafted. Which of the items in the list might not usually be associated with a smell?
One can infer that Max's uncle died of
Death notes that Max will change as he ages and experiences the harshness of the world around him. As you continue to read, consider how Max has evolved from the angry young man described in this section of the text.
The highlighted text is an example of which literary device?
These laws were part of the Nazi ideology and plan to eradicate the "Jewish Problem".
This meant that Jews with money were moving to other countries in order to survive.
This line exemplifies which theme from the text?
Calling someone a wildcard means you cannot predict how they will act or react to things. Liesel is a wildcard because a child could accidentally say something that would put the whole family in danger.
After Max arrived at the house, Rosa
The highlighted text shows that Max is so accustomed to hiding and living in fear of being caught that he can practically make himself invisible and noiseless.
How does Liesel know Rosa is serious?
This shows the constant fear during Nazi Germany that someone was watching and ready to report any behavior that seemed abnormal or unpatriotic. Neighbors were known to turn each other in to show "the party" that they were dedicated and loyal.
Why was it necessary for Hans to act "like a tyrant" during this conversation? Explain.
Reread the highlighted text. Consider how it illustrates the theme of the dual nature of life; the quality of having two sides to everything.
Max is feeling
Max's life is miserable and he lives in constant anxiety, yet he is thankful for what little food and shelter he does receive.
Why did Max feel guilt and shame?
This shows that Liesel is drawn to Max by a sense of guilt and responsibility. It foreshadows their coming friendship and the connection between two people who have been wronged by the political movement and have been taken in by the Hubermanns. Liesel, however, can go on living in the light, while Max has to hide in the darkness of the basement.
How has the situation with Max shifted the reader's view of Rosa as a character? Be sure to include examples to support your analysis.
The text frequently reminds the reader of Max's status as a second-class citizen with comments like this. He indeed has no rights in any sense under the current system. As you continue to read, look for more references to Max's low status.
The highlighted sentence contains which type of figurative language?
Consider why Max might bother to read this book if the contents are so offensive to him.
In which of the following sentences does the word related have the same meaning as in the highlighted text?
Again, the author is building the connection between Max and Liesel by highlighting their similarities. As you continue to read, pay attention to how their friendship grows and how the author chooses to create this connection.
This idea of duality is meant to support the book's
Mama's typically difficult and abrupt manner make it easier for her to help keep Liesel from the basement, while Max works on her gift. It is ironic that she is using her harsh personality to hide a kind deed.
Which of the following themes does the highlighted text emphasize?
Liesel is literally acting as his Standover Man once again in this scene. Look for other instances where she literally or figuratively acts as Max's Standover Man.
The text in the past two pages contains examples of
As long as Max is in their home, life will never be the way it was. There will always be a sense of fear, even though they have settled in to a routine. Is the fear justified?
What does this scene show about Liesel?
The focus on the color yellow and comfortable things like stroking pets and baths highlight Liesel's feelings of happiness and contentment in this scene. Look for other examples of how the colors and setting match the characters' feelings.
How does this section of the text support the theme of duality?
The author uses this passage to show that although the family's life goes on, Max is spending all of his time stuck in the basement. Time is a cruel thing when one has absolutely nothing to do, and the author uses this descriptive language to help the reader understand this point.
Why is the boxing ring so perfect?
Hitler's mustache is very recognizable and has become a symbol of him and all he stood for. You very rarely see a man wear this style of mustache today, as it would be instantly connected to Hitler. See the picture below. (This annotation contains an image)
When the text says, "Max Vendenburg could feel the fists of an entire nation," it means that he could feel
This is symbolic of the family unit they have become as time has progressed. It is also symbolic of the love the three share for Liesel.
The highlighted text is an example of
Listen to the sound of a clock below. Do you agree with Liesel's description? (This annotation contains a video)
In this moment of anger, Liesel would have possibly
Liesel completely loses her composure in this scene. Does this change the reader's view of her? Consider your feelings about Liesel and why she says what she does in this scene.
Why doesn't Mama believe Liesel?
This shows that Papa is always kind and understanding with Liesel. Why might this be?
How does the highlighted section affect the text?
This is an idiom meaning he could make a mess of a marching line.
What was the message?
The Klar apples were the ones they stole in a previous chapter. See a picture of some below. (This annotation contains an image)
This exchange shows that Rudy is
This fact makes stealing considerably more dangerous than last year. This also might be a way for the author to foreshadow trouble ahead for Rudy and Liesel.
This statement is an example of
This line emphasizes the theme of words having a life and power all their own. Look for more examples of this as you read.
In your own words, explain what Max was trying to say with the pictures and words in his book. How do the pages connect to the rest of the story?
This means that fertilizer (usually made with animal feces) had been spread over the field in order to help it grow.
This line shows that Liesel is about stealing something.
This description lets the reader know about the setting. The scene takes place during a time of year when the trees have no leaves. Look for other descriptions that give clues about the time of year.
Which of these explains Liesel's feelings in this scene?
This is not the first time Liesel's sense of guilt has been described using personification. Continue to look for more examples of this.
The fact that Rudy knew Liesel was lying shows that
Listen to the sound of a German police siren. Do you hear what the author means with this description? (This annotation contains a video)
What makes this book theft "official"? Explain why this stolen book brands her as "the book thief."
This is the German word for "police" which makes Rudy worry he will be arrested for stealing the potato.
What was Rudy's failure?
Franz needs to severely hurt Rudy now in order to spare his pride. If Rudy had stayed down the first time, he may have escaped a truly terrible ordeal. Consider why Rudy would create this situation for himself?
Why does Rudy wear his Hitler Youth uniform if he has no intention of going to the meetings?
Rudy's first reaction is to become anxious and remember the beating he received last time he saw Franz.
If some of the group disagree with Viktor, why don't they do anything to help Rudy and Liesel?
What might be Liesel's reason for turning him down this time? Use what you know about her responses to Rudy's request to consider this.
This is an allusion to the Invasion of Normandy in France during WWII, also known as D-Day. To this day, this is the largest amphibian invasion ever to take place, and established Allied Forces in Normandy. The Allied Forces lost approximately 12,000 men between them in April and May alone and many more were lost in the ensuing battle.
A family with very little has found other ways to entertain themselves. No presents were exchanged, yet it is referred to as "the greatest Christmas ever." Consider how the circumstances might warrant this description.
What does this say about Rosa?
Watch this scene in the movie and consider how it is similar to and different from the one in the text. (This annotation contains a video)
Why does the author include this score sheet?
A paradox is a statement that appears to contradict itself even though it could be true. Consider what makes this statement a paradox.
This is an example of
Once again, Rosa's reputation as a difficult personality might come in handy. Keep reading to see how Rosa handles this.
Why does Liesel collect all these presents for Max?
This supports the theme that words have power. Liesel believes the book has the power to wake Max up.
What does Mama know?
How does this simile help the reader picture the weather?
Why does Liesel choose this book?
This seems like a callous and horrible conversation to Liesel, but it is a terrible reality for Rosa and Hans. If Max dies, the disposal of his body will create a huge problem for them.
Liesel identifies Max with
Rosa's reputation is so infamous that even the teacher is afraid of her. Consider how Liesel must be feeling right now.
Liesel is grinning after a slap to the face from her teacher because
Again, the theme of duality arises. Liesel's inside and outside worlds are very different. How might the relief of her inside world affect her preparedness for the outside world?
The highlighted text is an example of
This is the acronym for the Nazi Party. See their emblem below. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Liesel need to get home?
This refers to the dice theme in this section of the text and how seven was defined as the unlucky roll by Death in the story.
How is the man different than what one would expect from a Nazi?
The book is alive in her hands and the author makes it seem as if it worries, just as Liesel does.
Who is Papa talking to in this scene?
Remember that Death sees the souls of the dead in colors. This was a time when Hitler began "exterminating", or murdering, Jewish people by the tens of thousands. Death is overwhelmed by the number of souls during this time.
In this section of text, Death is
Painting their windows or blinds would help "black out" their city to bombers flying overhead. This would make it more difficult to find their targets, which meant it was less likely that their city would be bombed.
This is an example of personification because the author makes the accordion seem
This emphasizes the theme of duality. These people have no money, yet have champagne, which was probably useless to them in many ways. They were most likely a wealthy family once, but hard times had hit even them. Champagne is a luxury and people during this time had little use for luxury when basic needs were barely being met.
The "brightness had shown suffering the way" in the same way that
Rudy feels like he needs to win the races to get back at Deutscher for all the torture he endured while in his Hitler Youth group. What if he did win all four events? Would it make a difference?
What does this imply about the Nazi party officials?
As much as Rudy tries to hide it, Liesel knows he is tired because she knows him better than anyone else.
Brainstorm some reasons why Rudy might have done this on purpose. What does this say about Rudy?
Notice that not only has Liesel begun to steal books more often, but she is now going to do it alone. She continues to gain confidence and increase her need for books.
This book is probably
Liesel has accepted the peace offering and has forgiven the Mayor's wife after feeling betrayed. Do you think this will become a pattern? Will Liesel steal from her again?
If Liesel is not a criminal for stealing the books, then why is she a criminal at all? Use evidence from the text to support your ideas.
Watch the video below to see and hear an old German air raid siren. (This annotation contains a video)
Use the dictionary function to read the definitions of the word civil. Based on its usage in this sentence, which of the following words would be a good synonym for civil?
This Rosa Hubermann is very different from the one we have encountered so far in the text. As you continue reading, pay attention to her demeanor. Does it stay the same or does it shift after this experience?
Death is comparing the situations of
This shows that Rudy's father has an unexpected sense of humor to be able to joke about the "Jesse Owens Incident" now.
Most likely, the first air raid was a result of
Liesel uses her reading to calm the people in the same way Papa uses his accordion to soothe Liesel. Again, the author illustrates the theme that words have tremendous power.
How does this section of the text help build meaning?
Again, words are shown to be powerful. The image of Liesel handing out the words as comfort to the people in the basement is described through this prose.
Which of the following is an example of a simile?
During this time, supplies were rationed, which meant that only certain items were available, usually in small amounts. Often, rations were traded between people so they could obtain a larger variety of goods.
The highlighted text is meant to help the reader understand
This line is meant to show the reader the utter lack of care and respect shown to Jews during this time period. They were viewed as vermin or inhuman by the Nazis and were treated accordingly.
The highlighted text gives the reader which idea?
The Jewish Star of David, a beloved religious symbol, was turned into a way to brand Jews and deride them and their beliefs. See the picture below of emaciated camp victims wearing the star badges. (This annotation contains an image)
Summarize what Papa did in this scene and explain what is says about his character.
Below is a picture of the gate the officers used to enter the Dachau concentration camp. Notice the Nazi symbol of an eagle holding a swastika. (This annotation contains an image)
Why was Max leaving Himmel Street?
The silence is now a reminder of Max being gone and wondering if he will make it. Consider how the Hubermann's lives will change as a result of Max's departure and how Papa's seemingly kind action towards the prisoner will affect the family.
The highlighted text is an example of
Imagine this time and place, where taking pity on a starving man makes you an outcast and puts your family in jeopardy. How else might Papa's act affect the family?
What motivates Papa to do this? Use details from the text to support your thinking.
This simple and innocent game of destruction is set against the cruel and vicious game of destruction being played with the Jewish people in death camps all over Germany.
What is the purpose of the school that Rudy is being asked to attend?
Once again, Death uses this unique literary device to warn readers of what is to come in the text.
During this exam, the boys feel
Based on events in the text so far, consider what would likely have happened if Rudy had spoken his thoughts.
Why might Papa have stopped playing the accordion?
This is a cruel situation. Hans is finally accepted into the party, but only as an excuse to punish him by sending him off to war.
This metaphor of a rip on Rosa's cardboard face is describing
The song "Gloomy Sunday" became popular in the U.S. after Billie Holiday recorded a version in 1941. Listen to her rendition of the song below. (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Papa go to the basement to sleep?
Even in this terrible situation, Liesel tries to cheer up her father with a small joke. She has shifted from being the one who needs to be consoled to the one supporting her Papa.
From the text, what can you infer about Frau Holzapfel's feelings about Hans leaving for the war?
Each person has been affected in their own way by these events. Liesel loses her need for books, which was built up through her father's patience and love.
What was better?
Study the painting below by artist Wendy James. Aside from the accordion, what similarities and differences do you see between the artwork and the scene with Rosa? (This annotation contains an image)
While Max was forced to live down in the basement, even with the air raids, now Hans is being forced above ground with the destruction and victims as punishment for his crime.
The highlighted text is an example of which literary device?
This simile perfectly sums up the experience of seeing some people united safely with loved ones, while others grieve over their dead.
Why does Boris point the woman in the wrong direction?
Liesel has no way of knowing that Rudy's father has a much safer and more mundane job. Her father's brief letter was meant to spare her the knowledge of his horrible situation.
This is a very dangerous thing Rudy and Liesel are doing. Why might they take such a risk after what happened to Hans? Be sure to use evidence from the text to support your thinking.
Liesel's father is with her figuratively in this scene, as her brother was in previous sections of the text. These important people continue to be a source of direction and support for her, even though they are not with her physically.
The Word Shaker consists of
The text from The Word Shaker illustrates the book's theme of words having great power. In it, Max acknowledges the terrible power of words as they led to Hitler's rise.
The text differentiates between types of words and the powers they hold. As you read, pay attention to how words are described in Max's text.
Why might the Word Shaker's tree grow faster than anything else?
This new character has taken a long journey and is exhausted. Think about a previous scene in the text that mirrors this arrival. Who might the new character be?
Look back at the pictures included in The Word Shaker so far. Choose one picture and explain how it adds to your understanding of the text.
Although the tree has fallen, it still resonates and leaves behind the words. The power of words can not be easily destroyed; they have a lasting effect, for good or bad.
What probably led Liesel to this decision?
Consider how Liesel's feelings about Rudy have changed during the course of the text.
What might this title mean? Consider what you have learned in the text that would support your prediction.
In this scene, the absence of words figures prominently. Liesel's guilt about the unkind outburst she had previously with the Mayor's wife prevents her from finding the words for what she wants to say.
What technique does the narrator use to grab the reader's attention in this passage?
Notice how the author uses something cheerful (cherries) to describe something awful. This juxtaposition of seemingly opposite ideas grabs the reader's attention.
The three dots after the word "so" are meant for what purpose?
In the highlighted sentence, words are mentioned again. This time they are used to hide other words that a speaker regrets.
Why would Death have been invited?
Reread the previous page up until this point. The color white and snow are once again being used to create a scene involving death.
Why do the dreams of her brother cease after this?
This is an example of dramatic irony because the reader knows that this act will save Hans's life and end Zucker's. Watch the video below to learn more about this literary device. (This annotation contains a video)
What good news does Hans receive?
Now that Hans has positive news to share, he finally sends a detailed letter to his family.
Why is Rudy going stealing?
Rudy has clearly thought through his plan and considered many possibilities. Based on what you know about him, do you believe he will go through with it?
Why won't Frau Holtzapfel come to the air raid shelter?
After reflecting on the possibilities, Liesel chooses the one she believes will make a difference based on what she knows about Frau Holtzapfel. She believes the power of the words she reads to her will convince her to want to live.
Which theme does the highlighted section represent?
Notice how descriptive this section of text is. The author often reserves his most vivid language for scenes of death and destruction in this text.
Describe Liesel's connection to Death. Use details from the text to support your ideas.
Death reflects on his connection to Hitler in this section of text. Consider how the two and their work are intertwined for better or for worse.
The highlighted text is an example of which literary device?
How does the author use the setting in this section of the text to support the plot? Provide evidence from the text to support your thinking.
Reread the highlighted text and consider the contrast between how the rescue worker feels as opposed to how Liesel will likely feel.
Use the define feature to look up the meaning of the highlighted text. Which meaning matches the way the word direction is used in the sentence?
Liesel is torn between the discomfort of watching the suffering people and the knowledge that she is lucky for not having to feel their true pain.
The highlighted text is an example of which device?
Once again, snow is associated with death. Consider how the author has woven this throughout the text and what impact it has on the story.
The reader can infer from the text that
Notice that the author does not use commas to separate the items in this list. Consider why the author made this choice and how it affects the text.
The context in which the author refers to Max as a "nasty Jew" is
Just as Max gave Liesel the gift of words with his manuscripts, she now gives the gift back to him in this terrible hour.
Why does Liesel invite this punishment?
Reread the highlighted text. How well does the author convey Liesel's pain?
Papa's inability to play the accordion is a metaphor for
The text boils down the story of Max to these elements, yet it was so much more to Liesel. Was it wise for her to confide in Rudy?
This line is an example of
Liesel is reflecting on all of the terrible things she has had to witness and how Hitler is the cause of all the pain and suffering. Why might the author have chosen to set this moment in the Mayor's wife's library?
Liesel sees as the root of the pain she sees all around her.
The reader's view of Frau Hermann shifts in this scene. Her sense of humor and engaging warmth towards Liesel show what she is like underneath the shell the reader has been allowed to see until now.
Through the blank book, Frau Hermann also gives Liesel the gift of
Words are giving Liesel strength once again. This time, however, they are her own words. Consider how words have changed Liesel during the course of the text.
The accordion in this context is a symbol of
Death's humanity is on display in this section of text. Reread the page and consider how the author makes the narrator such a complex and nuanced character.
What does the highlighted text mean?
The accordion, a symbol of safety, is being taken away by the LSE worker, just as Liesel's sense of safety has been taken from her.
Explain the meaning of the highlighted text.
Liesel uses words to pay tribute to the dead in this section of text, highlighting the theme of the power of words.
Why was the narrator in so many places during this time?
Death and Liesel
The last "fact" Death delivers in the book is about Liesel's death. Is this a fitting way to end this textual device?
Wood in the Afternoon
The accordion is once again used a symbol of
These ideas seem contradictory, but consider how they apply to the text.
The Handover Man
Could Death understand it? Use evidence from the text to support your thinking.