In The Book Thief, how is the chapter 'The Wrath of Rosa', central to the theme of the novel?Slightly confused by this discussion topic so would appreciate any help.

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teachertaylor | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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In Part 4 of The Book Thief, the chapter titled "The Wrath of Rosa" is about the time when Max first arrives at the Hubermanns' home.  Rosa has fed Max a bowl of her pea soup, and she and Hans stand near Max to watch him eat.  Liesel has been sleeping, but she peers into the kitchen and is surprised to see the look on Rosa's face.  Rosa is usually mean and crass, but now she has a look of concern on her face.  Liesel thinks that Rosa might be thinking that at least Max appreciates her food.  Shortly after, Max vomits, and Rosa cleans up behind him.

This chapter is central to one of the themes of the novel--compassion for others.  Rosa must always make this horrible pea soup for her family because they do not have any other provisions.  Taking Max into the home is of course dangerous because they risk being killed by the German soldiers if they are found to be hiding a Jewish man.  But on top of this, the family can barely feed themselves, and now Rosa is also providing for Max which takes away from the food that she, Hans, and Liesel can eat.  But the Hubermanns do this unselfishly, and their actions towards others prove that compassion may be shown during times of war.

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