How would Rudy become infamous in The Book Thief?

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Rudy becomes infamous by mimicking Jesse Owens.

Death describes Rudy as “infamous” when introducing him to the reader in the beginning of the book.  His infamous because he would not bow down to the Nazis and do as he was told.  Rudy was an original.  He worshipped Jesse Owens, spoke his own mind, and stood up for what he believed in.

Rudy’s obsession with running was based on his own skill and the success of Jesse Owens in the Berlin Olympics.  Jesse Owens was an American athlete, and he just happened to be black.  It did not matter to Rudy that he was black, or that he was an American.  All he cared about was that Jesse Owens was a hero.

Rudy was considered crazy by most of the neighborhood.

This was on account of an event that was rarely spoken about but widely regarded as “The Jesse Owens Incident,” in which he painted himself charcoal black and ran the 100 meters at the local playing field one night. (The Kiss)

The Nazis did not like Jesse Owens. They believed that blue-eyed, blond-haired Aryan Germans were the “Master Race.”  It was very dangerous for Rudy to imitate Jesse Owens.  His father explained that to him when he caught him running covered in charcoal.

Rudy’s inability to fit in extended to his friendship with Liesel.  Like Rudy, Liesel did not bow down to the Nazis.  They became friends because both of them were outcasts.

Rudy refuses to become a Nazi pawn.  A good example of this is the race.  Rudy does not win the fourth race on purpose.  It is a protest to the Nazis and an acknowledgement that they can’t control him.

Rudy is a perfect example of the fact that not all Germans were Nazis.  Many of the German people were not true believers, but went along with the Nazis because they were afraid.  They were held hostage by Hitler too.  Rudy was not a Nazi.  He was a child, and racism meant nothing to him.

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