Liesel and the mayor’s wife have a complicated relationship. Describe the complications. Eventually, the mayor’s wife leaves her a plate of cookies, and Liesel later returns the plate to the doorstep. Afterwards, “her brother never climbed into her sleep again.” Why?

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Ilsa Hermann (the mayor's wife) lost her son Johann during World War I. Her pain and grief have shattered her world completely, making it hard for her to function normally both in her own life and when interacting with other people—hence the complicated nature of her initial relationship with Liesel....

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Ilsa Hermann (the mayor's wife) lost her son Johann during World War I. Her pain and grief have shattered her world completely, making it hard for her to function normally both in her own life and when interacting with other people—hence the complicated nature of her initial relationship with Liesel. She wears her bathrobe all the time and seems disconnected from life.

Liesel first perceives Ilsa as a cold, cruel woman, but the relationship between Liesel and Ilsa becomes more friendly over time because both characters are united in their grief for loved ones. Liesel is still hurting over her little brother's death and has nightmares about it. She too is scarred and in need of healing.

Ilsa sees Liesel steal a book from the Nazi book burning, but she does not report her to the authorities. Rather, she allows Liesel to take some of her books and even leaves treats for her. In a way, Liesel becomes a surrogate child for Ilsa, giving her a reason to reconnect to another human being after the loss of her son.

Liesel is immensely grateful for this. The books are her greatest treasures, so she too warms up to Ilsa. In a way, both characters comfort one another and help one another to grow. Ilsa is able to recover from the death of her son by having someone to love, and much the same happens with Liesel regarding her brother. Their shared love of reading and their compassion for one another give them new connections, allowing the past to heal.

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