Abandonment in the Book Thief

Topics: The Book Thief, Suffering, Markus Zusak Pages: 2 (788 words) Published: September 2, 2013
"No matter how many times she was told she was loved there was no recognition that the proof was in the abandonment" (Zusak 32). The novel The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young girl who struggles through WWII and faces the pain and suffering of abandonment. When one is faced with such an abandonment and is forced to cope on their own, they may feel lost and alone. These emotions force people to find comfort. As in Liesel's case, some people find comfort in books and words. Liesel's perspective on abandonment can be seen through how she coped with her childhood trauma, Max's illness and the Himmel Street bombing.

Liesel suffers serious trauma after being left at the Hubermann's. She has never experienced abandonment before and she must search to the best of her abilities for means to face her suffering. She has haunting nightmares overnight about her brother's death. Her cast connection to her family is The Gravedigger's Handbook a book that she found at her brother's funeral. "On her first night with the Hubermann's, she had hidden her last link to him- The Gravedigger's Handbook- under her mattress… It was what it meant that was more important" (Zusak 38). She uses the book to cope with her overwhelming sense of loneliness and her foster father, Hans, gives her strength and assists her in surmounting this loneliness.

Liesel also feels abandoned when Max Vandenburg, a Jew, comes to hide in the Hubermann's basement, but falls ill after Liesel brings snow into the basement on Christmas Eve. She starts reading for him and giving him gifts everyday. "She gave The Dream Carrier to Max as if words alone could nourish him" (Zusak 328). Liesel's recovery from her abandonment stemmed from Hans teaching her to read. Words were what had kept Liesel connected to her mother and brother and now they kept her tied to Max.This connection supresses her guilt and fear of losing him. One can see Liesel's courage and her ability to cope...

Cited: Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief. New York: Chelsea House. Print.
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