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Themes

The characters in The Book Thief exhibit great courage in the face of great adversity. It takes courage for the Hubermanns to take in Max Vandenburg, a young Jewish man. It takes extreme courage for Max to make the trip to their home in the first place, and even to trust them. As the characters grow and change, courage becomes a bigger and bigger factor in their lives. In fact, it becomes a life-sustaining attribute and a testament to their positive humanity. The courage to resist unjust laws and practices and to display their resistance publically, even in small ways, makes these characters an inspiration to many readers.

Questions About Courage

  1. Who's the most courageous character and why? Who is the least courageous character?
  2. What gives Max courage?
  3. What are some courageous moments in the novel?
  4. What is your most courageous moment? What would you like it to be? Do you know, or have you heard of anyone you thought was particularly courageous? Can you connect that with The Book Thief?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Rudy's teddy bear is a symbol of his courage.

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