The Book Thief Questions and Answers
by Markus Zusak

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How does Liesel struggle in The Book Thief?

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twelvejammydodgers eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Like all of the main characters in The Book Thief, Liesel struggles in many different ways throughout the story. One main struggle she endures is her fear of losing those she loves.

At the very start of the book, she loses both her little brother and her mother, events that devastate her and continue to be a struggle for her to deal with for much of the book. Once adopted into her new home, Liesel struggles to please the Hubermanns, especially Rosa, who is uncomfortable showing the girl affection or praise. Once Max is introduced into her life, Liesel has to cope with the constant fear of losing him and whatever other dire consequences would result from his being discovered by the Nazis. Hans Hubermann, whom Liesel quickly becomes very attached to, must leave to serve in the army. And of course, at the story's tragic climax, she must endure the losses she so feared when almost all of people she cares about are killed, including her best friend Rudy.

Liesel also...

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ahenry826 | Student

Liesel Meminger struggles to understand humanity, love, words, and death. From the very beginning of the book, Death, our narrator, lets us know that this brave young girl will not observe the best of our world at times. Quickly, we are thrown into her grief over her brother's death and subsequent abandonment by her mother. Although abandoned for survival, the abandonment still stings until she connects with her new family. It is through words that she connects with them and understands their struggles, especially Max's. Liesel struggles to understand the depth and power of words spoken by leaders, but through that struggle, she finds love and peace. On top of all of this confusion, she must manage the normal every day trials of childhood and being a part of a community.