The Book Thief

The Book Thief


Markus Zusak

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Rosa loses another customer, and Liesel and Rudy go on a few more stealing exploits with their gang. One day the two decide to ambush a boy named Otto Sturm, who delivers food to the already well-fed Catholic priests. They pour some water on the road to freeze in the place where he rides his bike, and Otto comes by and falls spectacularly. Rudy and Liesel make off with his basket of fine foods, and they deliver some to Arthur Berg's gang. Afterwards they return the basket to the Sturm farm, and Rudy and Liesel feel bad but not overly remorseful.
Liesel and Rudy both feel bad after playing this trick because of Otto Sturm's fall – they aren't bothered by stealing food from those who have too much (the priests), but causing harm to another person crosses the line. In this way Liesel is figuring out her own morality outside of society's accepted rules. When war and racism are the social norm, she must figure out right and wrong for herself.
Stealing and Giving Theme Icon
Liesel and Rudy go stealing again with Arthur Berg's gang, but this time Rudy gets stuck on the barbed wire and escapes the angry farmer just in time. The next time they see Arthur Berg he gives them a bag of chestnuts. Rudy and Liesel each eat one and then sell the rest, and they take the money to triumphantly purchase candy from Frau Diller.
Their guilty consciences make them give up tricks like this one with Otto Sturm and return to less ambiguous thieving. Liesel and Rudy have a small victory against the Nazi shopkeeper. They are pleased by the candy, but also by overcoming Frau Diller's mockery.
Stealing and Giving Theme Icon