How does Liesel struggle in The Book Thief?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Poor Liesel has so much to cope with at the beginning of this book. Let us remember that she witnessed the death of her brother and also her mother effectively abandoned her into the hands of complete strangers before disappearing without a trace. The major struggle that Liesel has from the beginning of her time with the Hubermann's is therefore trying to accept the fact that her mother is not coming back for her and also trying to process her brother's death. The book she stole is a visible reminder of the last time she saw both of these family members, and, as the following quote makes clear, the thought of her family causes a massive struggle with her:

Sometimes, she would whisper the word Mama and see her mother's face a hundred times in a single afternoon. But those were small miseries compared to the terror of her dreams. At those times, in the enormous mileage of sleep, she had never felt so completely alone.

So Liesel faces so many challenges, and struggles primarily with trying to make sense of her situation as effectively an orphan who is trying to cope with both the death of her brother but also her abandonment by her mother.

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