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The Book Thief: Character Symbolism

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Dinah Douge

on 29 August 2014

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Transcript of The Book Thief: Character Symbolism

Before the war, this was just an instrument that makes a racket. But while Hans is at war, this reminds Rosa of him. Rosa hoping that one day he'd just come back and play his stupid music. Leisel catches Rosa crying one day, hugging the accordion because all the memories of Hans. The accordion reminded her of a piece of his love and his compassion that still lives in the house while he has gone of into war.
Hans' Accordion
The Book Thief: Character Symbolism
Rosa Hubermann is Liesel's foster mother. She is highly opinionated and is not afraid to speak her mind. Although she is abusive phsyically and verbally to Hans and Liesel, it is just her way of showing love.

Rudy Steiner is Liesel's neighbor and close friend. He is older than Liesel and does not believe in the teachings of the Nazi Party. He is quite intelligent for his age. He was playful. He had an innocent personality. The book explains his appearance as the "perfect ideal human" to the Nazi Party.
Rudy Steiner
Rosa Hubermann
Rosa's iron symbolizes her aggressive manner towards Hans and Liesel. She did the washing and ironing for the neighbors, so she always had it in hand. Whenever she would shake the iron, know that she meant business.
Hitler Youth
Jesse Owens
By: Dalphny Cafe, Austin Washington & Dinah Douge
Rosa washes the neighbors clothes for money which symbolizes the hardship the Hubermann household faced and Germany also. All of her costumers eventually had to stop sending clothes for washing to her.
When food rations were low due to the war, Rudy, Leisel, and their gang of apple stealers would go to the orchards and steal apples. This symbolizes the struggle for food in the war, and also the fun times Rudy and Leisel would have.
The dominoes symbolize the tragic events that occur to Rudy from one after another. Rudy's life starts to fall down when he started having problems with his Hitler Youth trope, Franz, who ended up breaking his ribs. Because Rudy loved to run and wanted to get back at Franz he won most of the races at the Hitler Youth Carnival. Then he was chosen to leave his family and go to a special school, and his father was sent to war. From this point, like all the characters in the book, Rudy was walking on eggshells.
Rudy was the ideal image for Hitler with his "gangly blue eyes and hair the color of a lemon." But Rudy did not believe in Hitler's teaching so he was rebellious during meetings and acted out. The Hitler Youth symbolizes Rudy's beliefs and how he does not care about what they are ordering him to do. He helps Tommy regardless of what he was told.
Jesse Owens was a famous African American track and field legend. Rudy would idolize him, going as far to cover himself in mud and running around a field. To Rudy, Jesse Owens represents his desire to be the best and shows his acceptance to other ethnic groups.
Her cooking symbolizes her kindness at heart. Even though Rosa is a horrible cook, she still gets up and cook for her family and anyone who is in dire need of food. Rosa does get offensive of her cooking. Rosa has most of her happy moments while she is in the kitchen or cooking. Just like her cooking, Rosa was a little hard to be around but in the end she was all you needed in a crisis, even thought she was stubburn in hard, there was always true kindness behind her actions.
Liesel Meminnger is Rudy's best friend that lives on Himmel Street. Rudy loved to spend time with her and even had romantic feelings toward her. To Rudy, Liesel symbolizes all that is good in the world because when he's with her, he is his happiest.
Max was very close to Rosa and the Hubermann's. Rosa was constantly by Max's side when he was ill. Max reminded Rosa of her son, Hans Junior, who barely stopped by the house any more. By Max being in the book and needed a place to hide, this shows the true kindness of Rosa.
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