Sunday, 25 March 2012

The Book Thief: Reading Respond X


Part 10: The Book Thief


The End of The World (Part I)



The scene flashed forward to the future, where Death got to visit to Himmel Street as it was being bombed. Everyone was sleeping except Liesel, who was also the only one survived. She was in the basement, rereading her life story that she wrote. After the bombing, she hit the paint can with a pencil, letting the rescuer team know that she was there. Meanwhile, Death had just picked up her Mama and Papa's souls. She then saw her Papa's body and cried out, all the while holding to the book she wrote.



The Ninety-Eightth Day



For the first ninety-seven days after Hans came back; everything was fine, even after Hans was sent into the city to resume his service. However, on the ninety-eighth day, Micheal hung himself due to his guilt of living. Frau Holtzapfel broke down when Hans was forced to inform her and lay crying on the street. Hans took the responsibility to sit with her and walked her into her house after hours that she hugged her dead son.



The War Maker



Micheal's funeral was held on July 27, 1943, the same day as the Allies were bombed and forty-five thousand people were killed. Despite the crime, Death had to admire Hitler for his determination. Meanwhile, Max was already in a concentration camp.



Way of the Words



Finally, the day came, when Liesel spotted Max in one of the Jews parade. She walked to him, called out his name as he called out hers. He told her he was caught while he tried to escape to his hometown. Then, a soldier came and dragged her away, but she fought her way back. She started citing the words from The Word Shaker and Max stopped dead. Everyone watched as the soldier started whipping Max for stopping and then a whip landed on Liesel's shoulder. Rudy rushed in to hold her still as she fell to the ground, so she would not follow Max. He had to push her down when she tried to stand up and called for Max.



Confession



Liesel went to wait for Papa in the train station for half a day. When Rudy told Rosa what happened, she did not say anything and went to wait with the girl. When Hans came back and knew what happened, he tried to play the accordion to cheer everyone up. It did not work.

After three days of staying on bed, Liesel finally got up and answered Rudy's question, they walked toward Dachau as she took almost an hour to tell him everything. She showed him The Word Shaker. He found himself in one of the sketches and was surprised she told Max about him. Liesel, suddenly realizing how much she loved her best friend, simply said of course.



Ilsa Hermann's Little Black Book



At first, Liesel walked to the mayor's house to steal something, to cheer her up. But as she went on, rage built up inside her as she saw flashbacks of the damage the war had caused to people around her; all because the words the Fuhrer had spoken. She blamed the words. She then proceeded to rip a book into shed, taking her anger out on words. After she calmed down, she wrote a letter of apology to Ilsa for destroying her book. She punished herself by not going to the library again, but it came to her. Later, Ilsa Hermann came to her house and handed her a black notebook. She believed Liesel had the potential to write well and asked Liesel not to punish herself, or else the girl would be just like her. They then had coffee and bread with jam in the kitchen and Liesel told her that when her story was finished, she would let Ilsa read it. After that, in the night, Liesel would go down the basement to write her book, which she named it, ‘The Book Thief’.



The Rib-cage Plane



Every night, she would go to the basement and tried to write at least ten pages of her life, for fearing that something would be left out and forgotten. After ten nights of writing, another bomb raid came. Papa had to wake her up and together they fetched Frau Holtzapfel. By the time of the next raid, she had already finished the story of her life. She divided it into ten parts for ten books, how they made an imprint in her life. As she read and reread her work, bombs began to drop from the rib-cage of planes.



The End of the World (Part II)



Death picked up the souls of the Himmel Street one by one, started with Tommy and his family. Frau Holtzapfel was waiting for him in the kitchen, while Frau Driller was fast asleep. Her shop was destroyed and the picture of Hitler shattered. Death stepped on the Fuhrer's portrait as he came out of the shop. And then, he moved on to the Steniners.

Rudy was with his sister, being pushed almost out of the bed. Death tried to comfort his soul, but found himself weeping for the boy who painted himself black.

Next, Papa. His soul was sat up, meaning that he held no regret and was ready. His only worry was for Liesel, who would escape Death that night. And then, Mama. Death really thought she was snoring when she died. He saw through her, a woman more capable of love then anyone would think.

When the rescue team found Liesel, Death let his curiosity took over him. She was screaming, wailing and then started to mumbling non senses. As she was led by one of the rescuer, she saw the accordion, broken. She took it and then saw Frau Holtzapfel's body. She immediately looked around and saw another body being carried out: Rudy's. She went for him, yelling at him, confessing her love for him and then kissed him; all for the hope that he might wake up. He didn't. Not long after she tore herself from Rudy, she saw her parents. At first, she just stood there, hoping that they would move to her. But when the reality caught up with her, she moved and sat between them. She talked to Rosa of the first day she arrived at the Himmel Street and how beautiful she was strapped to the accordion. She did not talk to Hans, but instead gave him the accordion. In her eyes, she saw him alive and playing. And then he stopped. She hugged him and told him goodbye.

As Liesel wept, her book was dropped and forgotten. It eventually was thrown into a garbage truck, where Death climbed in and picked it up. Over the time he traveled, the words in it would fade away, but Death remembered them.




Epilogue


Death and Liesel



Long after the war, Liesel died an old woman. She was surrounded by her husband, her children, her grandchildren and all those who had affected her life. Her soul sat up, waiting for Death to come for her.



Wood In the Afternoon



Once the Himmel Street was cleared, Liesel had nowhere to go. Three hours later, the mayor and his wife showed up. They went into a car, where Ilsa sat beside Liesel with the accordion between them.

For four days, she did not wash herself, ate very little, slept a lot and talked even more. On the day of the funeral, she went to the Amper River and talked to Rudy. Afterward, another ceremony was held for the Steiner family as Alex finally got a leave. He regretted not sending Rudy to the school, or so he told Liesel when he heard about her survival. In return, she told him she kissed Rudy. He gave her a smile and a tear.



Max



After the war and Hitler's death, Alex went back to his business. In October 1945, Max came looking for Liesel in the shop. They hugged and cried on the floor.



The Handover Man



When Death met Liesel, he gave her The Book Thief. She was very surprised by it and asked if Death could understand it. He paused and thought for a moment. He would never really understand how there could be such good and such evil at the same time in mankind, but both of them had already experienced it. So he told her the only thing he knew for certain; that he was haunted by humans.

The Book Thief: Reading Respond VIIII


Part 9: The Last Human Stranger


The Next Temptation



Another thievery at the mayor's library, this time, The Last Human Stranger. What was difference this time was the Christmas cookies waiting for them on a table. Rudy, of course, highly appreciated it. Liesel, on the other hand, realized that if this was the mayor's library, the cookies must have been found long ago. So when she confronted Ilsa, she confirmed her suspicion that the library was, in fact, the mayor's wife's. Liesel showed her The Last Human Stranger and asked her if it was good, and she got a positive respond. After a moment, the mayor's wife suggested Liesel to leave, for Rudy was waiting for her. They then left, ate the cookies, and wondered what to do with the cookies plate.



The Cardplayer



The scene switched to Hans, who was playing cards with his mates, including Reinhold Zucker, who would later die in Hans' seat. When he won, Hans would not gloat about it and would sometimes even share his cigarette. If Hans did not win, Reinhold might not have hated him so much that he took Hans's seat to death.



The Snow of Stalingrad



In mid-January 1943, when Liesel was expecting Frau Holtzapfel to answer the door for their reading section, she instead found a man with an injured, bloody hand. He told her to come later. Three hours later, he then came to her house to tell her that Frau Holtzapfel was ready for her now. Meanwhile, Liesel asked him what happened to his hand. It turned out that he was a soldier from Stalingard, being sent home because a bomb took three of his fingers. He then tried to light a cigarette, but failed, so Liesel helped him. She inhaled the smoke in process. Rosa walked into the scene and was shocked to see the man, Micheal Holtzapfel, looking so old. Out of blue, he told her his brother died, that he watched him died. He then asked to take Liesel to his mother and mentioned Hans Jr. Rosa immediately wanted more information, but he only said that her son was alive, as far as he knew. When he got to his house, his mother did not take the news well.

Death told us how the brother died. It was in Russia, January 5, when Robert Holtzapfel's leg was blown off to the shin. Unfortunately, he did not die right away. It was three days later, on a hospital bed, as Micheal was saying comforting words, in which Death took him away.



The Ageless Brother



One night, a few weeks before Liesel turned fourteen, while Rosa was praying with the accordion, Liesel took the cookie plate back to the mayor's house. Right then, she saw her brother, and realized that he was frozen at the age of six forever. From that moment, she never had nightmare about her brother again. Although, she did have a vision that night, with her brother, Papa, Rudy, Max and her own mother in the most bizarre manner. When she woke in the morning, Rosa was still praying for all the men lost in the chaos of the war.



The Accident



Back to Hans, as he was getting into the truck that would take him to his work. And then, out of nowhere, Zucker came yelling that he wanted Hans' seat. Not wanting to waste his energy, Hans gave in. During the ride, the left front wheel got punctured, the driver lost control and the truck flipped. This incident gave Hans a broken leg and Zucker a broken neck. This injury gave Hans an excuse to send back to Munich, plus the fact that he was generally liked by his men.



The Bitter Taste of Questions



A week after Liesel's birthday, a letter came informing that Hans was coming home. Grateful beyond words, she took the letter to the Steiners, who congratulated her. However, she could sense that they were all asking: why Hans but not Alex?



One Toolbox, One Bleeder, One Bear



Ever since his father's recruitment, Rudy had been increasingly frustrated and Hans' fortunate news only pushed him further. He carried a toolbox and planned to rob the rich Nazi in the neighborhood. Liesel, of course, went with him. Everything inside the toolbox made sense, except a teddy bear belonged to his sister. Rudy said it was in case a kid caught them, he would use it to distract them. However, as they walked on, he began to lose his confidence and anger. At the end of the day, he just left a pair of dirty socks on the road.

A few weeks later, he cleared off everything besides the teddy bear from the toolbox and put his family's valuables inside, so when a raid came, he could grab it. On March 9, the raid came and the box served its purpose. Meanwhile, Liesel and Rosa were asked by Micheal to convince his mother to go to the shelter. Frau Holtzapfel was unmovable in the kitchen, despite her son's pleading and Rosa's shouting. Then, Liesel went inside and threatened her that she would not come to read anymore. It did not work, so they were forced to leave the woman behind. In the shelter, Micheal had a minor breakdown from his survivor guilt and his desire to live. Shortly afterward, Frau Holtzapfel stepped in and sat with her son, while Liesel took out her book and began to read.

When they came out of the shelter, Rudy and Liesel saw smoke coming from the Amper River and ran for it. There, a pilot attempted to land on the river but failed and was about to die. Rudy got out the teddy bear and placed on the pilot's lap, and then Death took him away. At this moment, Death recognized Liesel from the night her brother died.



Homecoming



At the beginning of April, Hans was given the permission to rest at home for a week before going to help with paperwork. Liesel saw him coming and hugged him, calling him over and over again. That night, they all sat in the kitchen as Hans told them everything that happened while he was away. When Liesel had to go to sleep, she woke up several times to check that he was still there, he was.

The Book Thief: Reading Respond VIII


Part 8: The Word Shaker


Dominoes And Darkness



Earlier, Rudy went through a physical inspection that he refused to tell anyone about. So while he was playing dominoes with his sister, two men from the party showed up and offered his parents an opportunity. They wanted Rudy to attend their specialized school, because he qualified as an Aryan, he was a good student and he had shown himself to be athletically gifted. The parents, however, refused due to the rumors they heard about the school and did not want Rudy to suffer. Death said that this would lead to Rudy's father suffering the same fate as Hans and Rudy lost what might have been his hope to survive the war.



The Thought of Rudy Naked



The scene flashed back to the physical examination Rudy and other two boys had. They were stripped naked and humiliated in front of a nurse, a doctor and between themselves. Two out of three, including Rudy, we're chosen for an officer class of advanced German school. After the day the party visited his house, Rudy told Liesel the examination, which caused Liesel to have the image of naked Rudy stuck in her head.



Punishment



Hans Hubermann was expecting a punishment, not an approval to join the Nazi party. What he waited for revealed itself two days later, when he got a call to the war front. It was also a sign that German army was getting desperate as they had to recruit any man available. Five days later, Alex Steiner also got the call for not letting his son be taken away.



The Promise Keeper's Wife



The night before the men left their home, Hans and Alex drowned themselves in liquor. Hans accidentally knocked on Frau Holtzapfel's house, mistaken for his own. When he got to his home, he ended up sleeping in the basement. On the following morning, Rosa woke him with a bucket of water.

Before he left the Himmel Street, he got blessing from Barbara - Alex's wife, and even from Frau Holtzapfel. Before he left the train station, he asked Liesel to take care of Mama and his accordion, and to continue reading during bomb raids. He stepped on the train, they waved for him, and he was gone.

After twelve days of his father's absence, Rudy had enough. He and Liesel went on a walk to nowhere in particular. Rudy yelled aloud that he wanted to kill the Fuhrer and insulted Liesel. She shouted back that he only lost his father, not explaining more how she also lost Max, her brother, her mother and a father who was not even biologically related to her. As they walked back, they mentioned the race they had and how they both ended up covered in mud. Good time.

That night, Liesel woke from noises in the dark. She immediately thought of a ghost, her Papa, and Max. But it was Rosa with the accordion strapped to her chest, silently praying.



The Collector



Alex was sent to Austria, being a tailor he was, to fix uniforms for soldiers in Russia. Hans was sent to, ironically, Stuttgart, Max's hometown. His job, much less pleasant, was to collect dead bodied from air raid. On his first taste of the raid, the old man he carried died mid-way in his arm. He also encountered a boy body, whose man was, again, ironically, Rudy. As he watched the mother cried for her son, he thought of his own family back home. Once the job was done, he attempted to write a letter home, but took too long to make the words out.



The Bread Eater



Back in Himmel Street, Liesel often imagined how Papa, Alex and Max were doing. To distract her from this, she concentrated on the reading section between her and Frau Holtzapfel, who would sometimes gave her something to eat. There were also more Jews parades, which gave Rudy an idea to follow Hans's footsteps. He and Liesel cycled ahead of a parade, dropped pieces of breads over the street and then hid. It almost worked, if not because Liesel trying to see if Max was amount the Jews and was noticed by the soldiers. They were chased after but managed to escape.



The Hidden Sketchbook



There was another bomb raid before Christmas, and of course, Liesel was expected to read. After the raid, Rosa presented her Max's sketchbook from under her bed sheet. Max said she would get it when she was ready, and Rosa had always thought that Liesel was ready, ever since the first day they met. The book contained sketches, of Rudy, her presents, the snowman and several other things, one of them being The Word Shaker, a story featuring Max and Liesel. The story was about the power of words and how both Hitler and Liesel used it, but for different effects.



The Anarchist's Suit Collection



On Christmas Eve 1942, lacking of the two fathers, the Steiners invited the Hubermanns to celebrate the special day together. That evening, she and Rudy went exploring his father's tailor shop. There, she promised him to have his Christmas present, and then grabbed a suit for him to wear. Once he tried it on, he laughed and said he missed his father. Despite an urge to kiss him, Liesel simply help him up from the floor he was laying on and wished him Merry Christmas.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Book Thief: Reading Respond VII


Part 7: The Complete Duden Dictionary And Thesaurus


Champagne and Accordion


Those whose basements were marked as shelters needed to paint their windows black to make it visible to anyone where the shelters were. This, unexpectedly, meant Hans finally had some work to do. He was usually paid with nothing, some cookies, a cup of tea or half a cigarette. He would also take Liesel with him, telling her stories about his life while they painted. When they had a break, Papa would play his accordion. One time, Hans asked for champagne as a payment and let Liesel had a taste. On her first trial, she spit it out. On her second trial, it bubbled in her mouth. She vowed never to drink it again, for it would never be as good as it was before. This was the same for the accordion. Despite wanting to know how to play it, she never asked Papa to teach her, for she knew they would never be equal. In the future, Liesel would claim that this was the best time of her life.



The Trilogy



Meanwhile, Rudy was doing running practices for the upcoming Hitler Youth carnival, where he intended to win four medals on running 1500, 400, 200 and 100 meters. There were two reasons for this: to show off in front of his old Hitler Youth leader and to be more like Jesse Owens, who also won four medals. He trained for six months until the actual race.
On the actual day, he won three medals. But on the fourth race, he was disqualified because he kept dropping down to dig the earth. After the race, he even left the medals for Liesel to keep. She often wondered why he did so, and came to her own conclusion that it was because he was not Jesse Owens.

After finishing The Dream Carrier, she went to the mayor's house to steal another one: A Song in the Dark. The only difference was that this time she went without Rudy. A week later, Rudy and Liesel noticed a book being place on the window on purpose. It could have been a trap, but they took it anyway. It was The Complete Duden Dictionary and Thesaurus. While making their way back, she turned back and was surprised to see the mayor's wife, waving at her. They discovered a letter to Liesel inside the book afterward. It said that she - the mayor's wife - did notice someone sneaking around her house, but decided not to act on it because she was glad Liesel did visit at all. She only hoped that Liesel would come in a more civilized manner and hopefully find the dictionary useful. Liesel made her way back to the house, but did not have the courage to knock.



The Sound of Sirens



With the money he got, Hans bought a secondhand radio so they would be noticed if a raid was coming. In September, a raid came. They were forced to abandon Max and went to the Fiedler's shelter. Papa forgot to even bring his accordion, but Liesel did not forget to bring her book. In the shelter, they waited with other twenty two people, frightened and panicked. She found Rudy in there as well and started observing the top four people who looked the most afraid: Frau Holtzapfel, Mr Fiedler, Rolf Schultz and Mama. Soon enough, everyone was holding their hands to each other into a circle. When everything was over and they made their way back, Max was hiding behind sheets and paint cans. He said when everything was quiet; he went upstairs and took a peak of the sky.



The Sky Stealer



The first raid was a fault raid, the operator got overexcited. The next one in September 19, however, was real. In the middle of the chaos, Liesel read The Whistler aloud to help her concentrate. By page three, everyone quieted and listened to her. And, despite the raid being over, they all waited until Liesel finishing the chapter before they got off the basement. Liesel told Max about what happened in the shelter, and that was when Max thought of his next project: The Word Shaker.



Frau Holtzapfel's Offer



A few days after the raid, Frau Holtzapfel showed up on the Hubermann's door steps and demanded for Rosa. She was interested to hear Liesel reading The Whistler, so she made an offer; Monday and Froday every week in exchange of coffee ration. Rosa agreed, but Liesel was not exactly happy about it.



The Long Walk to Dachau



A Jew died of disease and starvation and caused the transportation of other Jews to stop. The leader of the soldiers felt that it was a perfect opportunity to make a parade of Jews, marching passed the Himmel Street.

Meanwhile, Liesel was playing soccer when she heard the noises. More people started gathering as Jews and criminals were pushed through their street. One of the Jews was an old man who kept falling down because he could not catch up with the line. So out of sympathy, Hans stepped up and gave the old man a piece of bread. The Jew fell to his knees, thanked Hans and cried at his angles. Soon, a soldier noticed. He whipped the Jew six times and Hans four times for committing such crime. Hans' paint cart was turned over and he was called names. He immediately regretted the kindness he had shown because now, the party would come after him.



Peace



Max was forced to leave because they were afraid that the Nazi party would come and found him. Max said he left something for Liesel which she would get when she was ready, and then left without turning back. Four days later, on what was supposed to be their meeting, Hans found only a note saying, 'You've done enough.'



The Idiot and the Coat men



Since the day of the parade, Papa was in deep depression, deep guilt, deep fear. Max was gone because of him, and the party had not come yet. If they would not come at all, it meant Max had to leave for nothing. With this, Hans believed he was fully to be blamed. After three weeks of extreme paranoid, the party finally came. But they did not come for Papa, they came for Rudy.