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The Book Thief
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ARCHIVED > Quarterly Book Discussion "The Book Thief" Question #7: Liesel had complex relationships with her foster parents, Hans and Rosa. In what ways do they show how they feel about her and about each other?

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Julie (julie_prewett) Question #7

Kelsey Multiple times, Death tells us that Rosa uses the words "saukerl" and "saumensch" as terms of affection. It reminds me of the way people now use the word "b*tch" to basically say, "this person is my friend". Even though it's a very weird way to show affection, that is how Rosa used it! She also came by Liesel's school to tell her Max woke up, because she knew how much he meant to her. We also can't forgot that Rosa took Liesel in, when she didn't have to. She gave her a home and food and clothes, and though was not outwardly motherly, she did love Liesel.

Hans was the complete opposite of Rosa, in the way he showed affection. He taught her to read, helped her through her nightmares and bed wetting, and gave her books. He played music for her and kept her as safe as possible in Nazi Germany.

It's clear to see that Liesel loved him most, but she also loved Rosa, too. And I think it's interesting to see, because, like Hans, Liesel was openly affectionate towards him, but like Rosa, her love for her was more subdued. It was definitely there, but not outwardly shown, like it was with Hans. She often made comments about Rosa, and I think it took Liesel awhile to understand her, but in the end, they really did all love each other.

Julie (julie_prewett) Hans was such a great father to Liesel. She had so many bad dreams and he would stay with her every single night to get her through them. Rosa didn't have a lot to feed her family but she always made sure Liesel got her share. A big event for me on how much "ruff and tuff" Rosa loved Liesel was when she went to Liesel's school to tell her Max was awake. Rosa came to her class and acted like Liesel was in trouble to get her out of class but was there to say the best news to Liesel.

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