Study Guide

Rosa Hubermann in The Book Thief

By Markus Zusak

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Rosa Hubermann

A Rosa By Any Other Name Would Be As Strict

Aww, Rosa. We start this booking thinking she's going to be a textbook Mean Mommy. But by the time we're done with the novel, we realize that Rosa is as lovely as... well, a rose.

Rosa is Liesel's foster mother. When we first meet her, we don't necessarily trust her with Liesel. We're nervous. And let's face it—Rosa is down-right abusive with her wooden spoons and her constant scolding and criticism. But she's also probably super-stressed and scared out of her wits.

When Max arrives on the scene, we, and Liesel, see a very different side of Rosa. She's always incredibly kind to Max and clearly believes that hiding him is the right thing to do. She shares her food, her love, and everything she has. Helping to care for Max and seeing his suffering produce an all-around change in Rosa, especially in terms of her relationship with Liesel.

In the end, Rosa stops the abuse... though not the (endearingly) foul language that she, Hans, Liesel, and Rudy all use. Although she will never be to Liesel what Hans is, she becomes a beloved figure—and even a role model.

Rosa Hubermann in The Book Thief Study Group

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