In The Book Thief, why does Liesel feel so connected to Hans?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hans Hubermann is not only the antithesis to his violent and mouthy wife Rosa, but he is the father that Liesel never had. He is kind and loving with her, but he also teaches her to read. Instead of simply reading The Grave Digger's Handbook to her, he teaches her the alphabet and how to write using a painter's pencil and sandpaper. He doesn't give up there, either. Every night Liesel has a nightmare, and every night, Papa comes in to comfort her and give her a "midnight class" (69). The time spent reading and comforting Liesel is above and beyond what many fathers do. In fact, Hans Hubermann sacrifices many cigarettes to be able to buy Liesel two books for Christmas. This is only one of the many instances where Hans shows love to Liesel and she knows how important she is to him. These wonderful memories at the beginning of the book create a foundation for many other bonding moments and family secrets to be held between them throughout the story.

user4108059 | Student

Hans and Liesel are both "quiet souls." She is like a lost and injured puppy when she lands at Hans and Rosa's home, and whereas Rosa is clearly strong, strict, and loud, Hans is gentle, friendly, and open. He immediately and carefully establishes the tone in Liesel's first impression of the couple and her new home (which would otherwise have been dominated by Rosa's exaggerated expressions, cursing swearing and demanding nature).

Though it appears to outsiders that Rosa is fully in charge of the household, as she is in many situations, Hans is the picture of kindness and patience for Liesel, from the moment she arrives. And, in this way, Hans establishes himself as her ally and friend. Because Liesel needed nothing more than she needed a gentle friend at the moment, she is immediately grateful and drawn to him. His use of music to calm and console Liesel solidifies the positive nature of their relationship even further.

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The Book Thief

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