Study Guide

The Book Thief Love

By Markus Zusak

Love

Chapter 3
Death

From the toolbox the boy took out, of all things, a teddy bear.

He reached in through the torn windshield and placed it on the pilot's chest. (3.9, 3.10)

Though we don't know it until the end of the novel, that boy is Rudy. By this time in the novel, he's dedicated himself to acts of kindness and love, small and large. Ironically, a plane like the one he sees crashed here, with its pilot barely alive, is like the one that will drop a bomb on Himmel Street, ending Rudy's life.

Chapter 6
Death

Liesel observed the strangeness of her foster father's eyes. They were made of kindness, and silver. […] Upon seeing those eyes, understood that Hans Hubermann was worth a lot. (6.22)

We understand it too. The novel seems to argue that it's easy to be loving, when we take the time to see the worth in those around it. Of course, Hans makes this really easy.

Chapter 9
Death

As long as both she and Rudy lived, she would never kiss that miserable, filthy Saukerl. (9.9)

Liesel does change her tune, but doesn't reveal the change to Rudy, until it's too late. The fact that she never kisses Rudy when he's alive will haunt Liesel for a long time to come.

Chapter 16
Hans Hubermann

"You know, Liesel? I nearly wrote you a reply and signed your mother's name. […] But I couldn't. I couldn't bring myself." (16.1)

Hans demonstrates that sometimes love simply means telling the truth. Love is behind Hans' desire to shield Liesel from the fact that her mother is dead, but the truth is much more helpful. When she learns that Hitler is at the root of her mother's disappearance, she learns to see Nazism for what it is.

Chapter 29
Max Vandenburg

"Do you still play the accordion?" (29.4)

This is the second line Max speaks to Hans when he finally makes it to Himmel Street. Bringing up the accordion evokes the relationship between Hans and Erik, Max's father. They are words that foreshadow the father-son like relationship that will develop between Hans and Max.

Chapter 31
Walter Kugler

"Bring nothing," Walter said. "Just what you're wearing. I'll give you the rest." (31.74)

Walter commits a huge act of love by taking Max into hiding and helping him find his way to Hans. And that's what friends are for.

Chapter 35
Death

Now I think we are friends, this girl and me. On her birthday it was she who gave a gift to me. (35.21)

These are lines from The Standover Man, Max's loving gift to Liesel after she hugs him on his birthday. The hug, at that point, is more out of pity than love. But, The Standover Man changes all that.

Chapter 44
Death

He must have loved her so incredibly hard. So hard that he would never ask for her lips again and would go to his grave without them. (44.42)

Rudy's premature death keeps Liesel and Rudy from ever truly discovering whether their love is confined to friendship, or whether it extends into the romantic realm. We are sure it's a romantic love for Rudy, at least in his imagination, but he's only fourteen, with much more to learn and see and grow.

Chapter 87
Death

They hugged and cried and fell on the floor. (87.4)

This is a moment from the end of the novel, when Max and Liesel reunite. We don't know what happens to their relationship after this, but we can be sure it has lots to do with love.