How does Liesel Meminger's life represent beauty in the wake of brutality in The Book Thief?Liesel Meminger lived to be an old woman. Death says that he would like to tell the book thief about...

How does Liesel Meminger's life represent beauty in the wake of brutality in The Book Thief?

Liesel Meminger lived to be an old woman. Death says that he would like to tell the book thief about beauty and brutality, but those are things she had lived. How does her life represent beauty in the wake of brutality?

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teachertaylor's profile pic

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

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In The Book Thief, Liesel Meminger's life represents beauty in the wake of brutality through her relationship with Max and her survival after the death of her family.  The Hubermanns take in Max out of kindness and understanding, and Liesel learns that morally, it is worth risking one's life to challenge discrimination.  Max and Liesel bond through words, and while Germany crumbles around them, the two continue to share their bond in the basement of the Hubermanns house.  Near the end of the book, Himmel Street is bombed and Liesel is the only survivor.  But instead of giving up on life, Liesel grieves for the loss of Hans and Rosa and continues to life.  Liesel's sense of resilience shows that her life represents beauty in the wake of brutality.

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thetall | (Level 3) Educator

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Liesel’s life is marred by contrasts between beauty and brutality, and although some events were painful to the young girl and those around her, she also had some moments of beauty. The story starts with the painful events of Liesel losing her younger brother and being separated from her father. She is later separated from her mother and placed in foster care with the Hubermanns.

During her stay with the Hubermanns she encounters moments of beauty such as learning to read and developing a close friendship with Rudy. The war makes life hard for everyone but she is able to enjoy reading a book or playing with her friends and going to school. She gets to meet with Max and although the circumstances were gloomy, the two established a connection and enjoyed the company. Liesel takes care of Max and keeps him safe from the Nazis and Max reciprocates by working with her on his projects.

In the story it is evident that Liesel had her moments when she encountered beauty, for example, when Max kissed her hand. She also suffered brutality at the same time, for instance, the separation from her family, the death of her foster family and the death of Rudy. These events made it difficult for Death to talk about beauty and brutality with Liesel as her life personified both.

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kkalyssac | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

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