Friday, December 28, 2007

Liesel Meminger

This post is strictly focused on Liesel Meminger, the main character in The Book Thief.

At the beginning of the book Liesel is a scared, timid, and an emotionally scarred child. After witnessing the death of her brother on the train and being separated from her mother (the only family she has left), Liesel shuts down. Every night her dreams are haunted by her brother's death aboard the train. Every night Liesel wakes up screaming, and every night Hans comes in to comfort her and read to her. Liesel develops a strong relationship with Hans and starts to open up to him. Each day Liesel gets more comfortable with her new home and foster parents. She makes friends in the neighborhood, especially with a boy named Rudy. Liesel begins to find happiness through reading, Rudy, soccer, and, of course, stealing books. Liesel makes friends with the mayor's wife, Ilsa Hermann, for whom Rosa Hubberman does the laundry. Ilsa invites Liesel into her home to read books in her library, something Liesel enjoys very much. However, when the Hermanns stop being customers of Rosa, Liesel gets mad and yells at Ilsa. Liesel sort-of apologizes, but still will not accept Ilsa's invitation to read in her library. So instead, Liesel decides to steal from the library. Soon, Ilsa discovers that Liesel is stealing her books, but she is not angry. On the contrary, Ilsa invites her to keep stealing and even leaves a dictionary right next to the window the book thief enters through. Through out the novel, Liesel develops a new relationship with Max (the hidden Jew). Liesel shares nightmares with Max and often keeps him company in the basement. She is devastated when Max is forced to leave. In the end Liesel loses many of the people she loves, but finds comfort when Max returns to her at Ilsa Hermann's house, Liesel's new home. (When Liesel's home and family are destroyed by a bombing, Ilsa takes her in.) Liesel evolves into a strong, but still very emotionally wounded teenager. Liesel still has two rays of light in her clouded life: Max and Ilsa.

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