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The Book Thief: discussion questions

Here are some discussion questions from the Reader's Guide:
1)Abandonment is a central theme in the novel. The reader knows that Liesel feels abandoned by her mother and by the death of her brother. How does she equate love with abandonment? At what point does she understand why she was abandoned by her mother? Who else abandons Liesel in the novel? Debate whether she was abandoned by circumstance or by the heart.
2) Describe Liesel’s friendship with Rudy. How does their friendship change and grow throughout the novel? Death says that Rudy doesn’t offer his friendship “for free.” (p. 51) What does Rudy want from Liesel? Discuss Death’s statement, “The only thing worse than a boy who hates you [is] a boy who loves you.” (p. 52) Why is it diffi cult for Liesel to love Rudy? Discuss why Liesel tells Mr. Steiner that she kissed Rudy’s dead body.
A room without books is like a body without a soul.~ Cicero...
Inspired Bibliophile
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: The Book Thief: discussion questions

[ Edited ]

niki posted all of the questions for the book thief reading guide and suggested that we choose whichever we wish and respond. i did and posted it at that site, Re: RCBC: The Book Thief - July Book Choice: Discussion Questions. just in case the link does not work. it is on page three.
here is the link to all the questions she posted and my response...questions
her questions are above my response.

i hope it works and we can get some kind of a discussion going in either this or that place. at least i am becoming more adept at this..., i think.


niki wrote:

... Pull out whatever you want to talk about.

Discussion Questions for The Book Thief

2. What is ironic about Liesel’s obsession with stealing books?

well, i thought it was interesting that hans rescued people and liesel rescued books although she couldn't even read. both of them were engaged in acts of great courage because they were doing things that were forbidden and although stealing books doesn't seem as serious a crime as harboring a jew, both could potentially have lethal results, if they were discovered.

the books gave liesel a window on life and a reason to live. saving max made hans feel more purpose in his life.


9. Hans Junior, a Nazi soldier, calls his dad a coward because he doesn’t belong to the Nazi Party. He feels that you are either for Hitler or against him. How does it take courage to oppose Hitler?

anyone opposing hitler was at great risk so opposing him was often not an option unless you were willing to die or suffer horribly for your opposition. opposing him was an act of extraordinary courage and principle.

regarding hans jr., i thought he was the antithesis of everyone else in his family and it surprised me that he didn't turn the rest of them in for not being active members of the party. children who were in hitler youth and blindly followed the nazi principles. were encouraged to betray their families.
to me, hans jr. was actually the coward using others as his scapegoats and using power to take advantage of those less fortunate or weaker. it doesn't take a brave man to brandish a gun at an unarmed man but it takes bravery to stand up to the gun even though you are unarmed because of the strength of your principles.


sorry, i can't give a more detailed response. i read the book awhile ago and i just passed it on to my kids when i thought the discussion would not take off so i no longer have a copy to refer back to for more info.



Message Edited by thewanderingjew on 07-21-2008 12:10 PM
Message Edited by thewanderingjew on 07-21-2008 12:14 PM