This tiny sentence helps us feel Liesel's utter dismay at being forced to leave her mother, on the same day she buries her brother. Her life was chaotic and filled with twists and turns since the moment the novel started. The death of Liesel's brother caused her great suffering, but with that suffering she became a stronger person. The death of her brother prepared her for the chaotic and dangerous journey that lied ahead.
"Did the Führer take her away?"
This quote is extremely important, because it was on Hitler's birthday that Liesel comes to the realization that he was responsible for her mother's disappearance and her brother's death. This realization is very important to all her future actions and her general character development. "As for the girl, there was a sudden desire to read it that she didn't even attempt to understand. On some level, perhaps she wanted to make sure her brother was buried right. Whatever the reason, her hunger to read that book was as intense as any ten-year-old human could experience."
Liesel's desire and hunger to read began the day her brother was buried and she stole her first book! The quote marks the beginning of her career as "the book thief!"
"The book thief has struck for the first time – the beginning of an illustrious career. " (5.119)
This quote marks the beginning of Liesel's love for books and the power of words. When Liesel stole her first book she couldn't read or write. By becoming the book thief Liesel also changed her life. She created connections with people through reading literature. Liesel wins over the residents of Himmel Street by reading to them during the air raids, and expresses her love for Max by reading to him when he's in a coma.
" Then they discovered she couldn't read or write. "
This is an extremely important part of the story, because learning to read and write changed Liesel's life. Being able to read and write is what saved her during the war. Liesel's growth and change throughout the novel is incredible. Liesel couldn't even read one word, and by the end of the novel she has written the story of her life!
Quote from Part 1: Growing Up a Saumensch
"All told, she owned fourteen books, but she saw her story as being made up predominantly of ten of them. Of those ten, six were stolen, one showed up at the kitchen table, two were made for her by a hidden Jew, and one was delivered by a soft, yellow-dressed afternoon. When she came to write her story, she would wonder exactly when the books and the words started to mean not just something, but everything."
Summarizes the main idea related to Liesel, that books and words changed her life!
"As long as both she and Rudy lived, she would never kiss that miserable, filthy Saukerl."
This quote shows the playful relationship between Liesel and Rudy. Rudy was in love with Liesel and was dying to kiss her, making attempts throughout the novel. Liesel didn't see Rudy in the same way, until it is too late! The fact that she never kissed Rudy when he was alive will haunt Liesel for the rest of her life!
" Beneath her shirt, a book was eating her up." (21.56)
Liesel's love for books is very apparent in this moment. Liesel would rather let the book burn her skin than abandon it and loose it in the fire. Liesel stealing the smouldering book, "The Shoulder Shrug" was risky, but worth it!
"Out of respect, the adults kept everyone quiet, and Liesel finished chapter one of The Whistler."
Liesel is finding ways to use words for good and is becoming "the word shaker." She comforts the people in the bomb shelter by reading to them, to take their mind off the frightening situation they are in. Liesel recognizes and acknowledges the power of words, and how they can help people in difficult situations.
"I thought if you're not going to read any more of my books, you might like to write one instead. […] You can certainly write. You write well."
This marks the moment of Liesel's transition from reader, to reader and writer. Liesel has come a long way, and is now capable of writing an amazing memoir of her life.
"They hugged and cried and fell on the floor."
This is a moment from the end of the novel, when Max and Liesel reunite. It shows the powerful friendship that developed between them, and how strong they felt about being apart from one another.
"I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right."
This quote is the most important and famous quote from the book. It is the last line written by Liesel Meminger in her novel. Without words Liesel never could have written the story of her life!
Liesel sees words in both a positive and negative light. After encountering Max being forced on the way to a concentration camp, Liesel becomes hopeless and disdainful of the written word. Liesel sees the negative side of words, because Hitler's words are the reason and source of her suffering. If Ilsa Hermann did not give her a blank book and encouraged her to write, we may never have got to know and read Liesel's story. Liesel's story contains both beautiful and tragic moments, making Liesel realize that words can cause both violence and comfort.
Advice/Quote: What Liesel would say to me. Words create meaning. Words can be manipulated. Words are powerful. They can take life and they can save life. Reading words creates family and community. Never stop reading!