What kind of atmosphere does Death describe on Himmel Street in Markus Zusak's The Book Thief?

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The atmosphere on Himmel Street is one of desperation and severity.

Death says Himmel Street's name is contradictory and whoever named it must have had “a healthy sense of irony .” This is because “Himmel” means “Heaven,” and Himmel Street definitely is not Heaven. It is a very poor neighborhood,...

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The atmosphere on Himmel Street is one of desperation and severity.

Death says Himmel Street's name is contradictory and whoever named it must have had “a healthy sense of irony.” This is because “Himmel” means “Heaven,” and Himmel Street definitely is not Heaven. It is a very poor neighborhood, made worse by the poverty and degradation of World War II.

The buildings appear to be glued together, mostly small houses and apartment blocks that look nervous. There is murky snow spread out like carpet. There is concrete, empty hat-stand trees, and gray air (Chapter 1).

Liesel is also nervous when she first arrives because she has lost both of her parents and her brother died on the train on the trip over. She has never been in a car before, and she has never met her foster parents. The whole situation is a recipe for misery.

Throughout the book, Himmel Street and its buildings are often personified, usually as weak and thin.

The shop itself was white and cold, and completely bloodless. The small house compressed beside it shivered with a little more severity than the other buildings on Himmel Street. Frau Diller administered this feeling, dishing it out as the only free item from her premises (Chapter 4).

At one point, the street is described as constantly dark and miserable (Chapter 67). Despite this, Himmel Street is not lifeless. The children play soccer in the street. The neighbors help each other. People do stick to themselves, but they are also just doing their best to survive the war.

Unfortunately, Himmel Street is bombed. Death tells us it seems like no one would want to bomb a street named after Heaven, in the poorest section of town. The bombs were "off target." It was unintentional, but led to the deaths of everyone on Himmel street except Liesel. She was in a basement that wasn't supposed to be deep enough to protect her.

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