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The Book Thief
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ARCHIVED > Quarterly Book Discussion "The Book Thief" Question #9: Why does Liesel refuse to bathe?

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Julie (julie_prewett) Question #9

Kelsey (I'm assuming you mean at the end, when she goes to the funeral?) But to me, it's a combination of shock, and trying to hold on to the life she knew. Every single person she knew just died, except for Ilsa and her husband. She doesn't know if Max is alive, either. She's completely alone, and she's also incredibly young, so she can't really process what had happened. I think too, by her not washing the ash off, she's showing what she has went through and survived. She's saying, this is my family, all this dust and ash and these particles, and look at what we went through, look at what I survived, and I don't know why, but I'm here, and symbolically, so is my family.

Julie (julie_prewett) First, she is in complete shock. Sleep is her friend right then. A second thought I had, the dirt from Himmel St was a way of still being able to cling to the people and place that she loved. She wasn't ready to give that,or them, up just yet.

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