Why does death finds the survivors to be more tragic than the ones who are dead in The Book Thief?

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morrowl16 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Markus Zusak's novel, The Book Thief is a unique book about a young girl, Liesel Meminger, who becomes fascinated with stealing books in Germany during WWII. Narrated by death, The Book Thief provides a different take on Germany during WWII, through both the eyes of both Liesel Meminger and death. 

This question could be interpreted in different ways, but one idea is:

Death finds survivors to be more tragic than those actually dead because survivors are haunted with the visions and memories surrounding the circumstances of the death of their loved ones.

Liesel Meminger is a perfect example of how survivors can be more tragic than those who are dead in The Book Thief. Throughout the novel, Liesel is forced to cope with the death of her little brother, the death of her foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann, as well as the death of her best friend, Rudy. Though the death of her brother, Rosa, Hans and Rudy were all tragic deaths, losing so many of her family members and friends makes Liesel a tragic survivor. She must cope with their memories and the circumstances of their death for her remaining years.