What are three quotes that show Liesel loves Rosa, Hans, and Max in The Book Thief?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In short, Liesel loves Rosa, Hans, and Max.  Liesel loves Rosa and Hans as mother and father figures.  Liesel loves Max as a friend; however, this friendship grows into romantic love due to them being kindred souls.

First, let us look at Liesel’s love of Rosa and Hans as mother and father figures.  Liesel’s love of Hans is much stronger than her love for Rosa due to Liesel’s treatment by the two of them.  Rosa is a fan of “tough love,” and is quite coarse with Liesel.  Rosa often swears and gossips about others, but she is quick to help anyone in need and is a big fan of prayer.  Leisel’s love for Rosa is often a result of what she overhears instead of what she observes publicly. 

Rosa was sitting with the accordion, praying.  “Make them come back alive,” she repeated.  “Please, Lord, please.  All of them.” Even the wrinkles around her eyes were joining hands. … Rosa would never tell Hans about these moments, but Liesel believed that it must have been those prayers that helped Papa survive.

This is an instance where we can tell Liesel is moved by Rosa’s actions and loves Rosa as a result.  Yes, these prayers are overheard; however, they are a testament to how deeply Rosa cares for Hans and, consequently, for Liesel as well.  Times like this make up for Rosa’s tough exterior.

On the other hand, Hans is always gentle.  Hans is happy to teach Liesel to read and even offers to sit with Liesel every night as she has nightmares of her brother’s death.  Hans does this for Liesel until she no longer needs his help:

Liesel told her papa that she should be old enough now to cope on her own with the dreams.  For a moment, he looked a little hurt, but as always with Papa, he gave the right thing to say his best shot.  “Well, thank God.”  He halfway grinned.

The love between Liesel and Hans, as indicated above, is a good-natured love of child and father-figure.  Hans has become so accustomed to sitting with Liesel as she deals with her night terrors, that he has grown fond of the time with Liesel.  Liesel loves Hans for his lack of fear to show his love for her at all times.

In regards to Max, Liesel’s kindred spirit and eventual (implied) true love, there is one simple quote near the end that is the perfect evidence:

Liesel came out. They hugged and cried and fell to the floor.

This embrace happens when Liesel and Max are reunited after the war.  Of course, when they first meet, Max is a starving Jewish boy and Liesel is a guest in Hans’ and Rosa’s house.  They prove themselves to be kindred spirits through their love of books and their tendency towards having nightmares.  Max even writes a book for Liesel on the back of Hitler's Mein Kampf.  All of these things allow Liesel and Max to grow in both friendship and love leading to the embrace within the quotation above.

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The Book Thief

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