The Book Thief – Part Four – The Swapping of Nightmares (cont.)

The Swapping of Nightmares

An Attribute of Rosa Hubermann

She was a good woman for a crisis.

I believe this has been mentioned before, either in the book or by myself, but I have no idea where exactly that reference is, so either I’m making things up, or I am right. Rosa is a really good person in a crisis, and you need those sort of people around to sort out the other people who just freak out! It seems this crisis has changed her whole attitude, and she isn’t yelling and screaming and swearing, which would be suspicious for their neighbours, so hopefully she still does this enough that people don’t think something has happened (though Hans saying she is sick, as well as Rosa saying she is sick, might help cover that up a bit). I mean she didn’t even explode with rage at the fact they only have one washing customer left, the mayor and his wife. What exactly is pointing to her mouth signifying? Is it not talking about Max? Is it saying ‘close your mouth’? Not too sure, but I can take a guess that is along those lines. Ah Rudy, you are funny, repeating things that Liesel was actually there for, and not caring at all. Now Liesel is reading a book called The Whistler, is this based on a real book, or is a real book? And she can’t put it down.

A Small Excerpt from The Whistler

She lay there, frightened, in a pool of blood, a strange tune singing in her ear. She recalled the knife, in and out, and a smile. As always, the whistler had smiled as he ran away, into a dark and murderous night…

If this isn’t a real book, then Zusak just created a section of a whole new book, and it sounds so amazing! ‘Murderous night’! I want to read this book if it is real, and if it isn’t Zusak should write it! Does this mean that Liesel is sharing her book with Max (The Shoulder Shrug) because didn’t Liesel steal this book from the fire? Well Liesel isn’t doing the sharing, Hans has decided that the three of them shall read together. And Max is actually really cold, so he has to be warmed up before they read anything. I thought it might get too cold in the basement, maybe they should give him some more blankets or something. So now Max will come up during the night, and remain hidden during the day. Because Hans raises a good point, that he would rather risk his life with a Jew that was alive, than a Jew that was dead. Remembering of course, you can’t just dispose of a body, especially not a Jewish one (as in say to the police ‘oh yeah this guy died’) because they will realise that he is Jewish, and they’ll be in trouble. Did Trudy learn about Max, or was his existence kept a secret? And it is a really good thing that Hans Junior did not come sniffing around, because I think he would sell out his own parents if he knew they were protecting a Jew.

I actually want to know, is it offensive to call Jewish people Jews, because the book does it a lot, and I tend to do the same, but I don’t know if it is actually offensive, so if it is please tell me, and I’m sorry, but if you think it isn’t, also tell me. Because the book is set in Nazi Germany, so they aren’t going to care what they call Jewish people. (Some parts of the internet, say it isn’t offensive, what’s your take?) And I’m not about being ‘politically correct’ I just understand that words can hurt, even if in the correct context.

The Qualities of Smoothness

Max remained in the basement. Trudy came and went without any hint of suspicion.

I guess that clarifies things. Trudy didn’t know about Max, which is a good sign that he can be kept hidden, at least from someone who isn’t snooping around. Sometimes I think I should just wait until I read these little ‘indents’ because some questions are answered, but my posts are chronological, so if I have a question then, I’ll probably type it, even if it is answered later on. Even though Trudy is their daughter, you want to keep the number of people in the loop to a minimum, because there will be less chance of exposure, even accidentally, that way. The Hubermann’s are amazing, they even apologise to Max because they were celebrating Christmas, while he is Jewish, how nice of them.

Liesel has finally asked her question! One I am interested in, is Mein Kampf ‘good’? He doesn’t answer truthfully, though the book saved his life the contents didn’t really do that and I guess for Max the book is terrible and angering because of the message it provides. From a modern perspective, it would just be interesting to read what Hitler had to say, and what his ideas were (even if they are atrocious) and it provides a means of understand what was going through his and other Nazis’ minds. But at least now Liesel and Max seem to be talking, and sharing their stories. And now we know how Liesel came to know, and write about Max’s story, because remember this story is written by Liesel, but is being narrated and retold (sorta) by Death, a tad confusing!

Questions Like

How long did you stay in that room? Where is Walter Kugler now? Do you know what happened to your family? Where was the snorer travelling to? A ten-three losing record! Why would you keep fighting him?

All of them are good questions, some more insensitive than others, but we know from experience that Liesel isn’t afraid to ask questions that others wouldn’t, as most children do. It isn’t easy for Max. He thinks he is selfish, and some might agree, but it isn’t selfish, he is doing it the most selfless way possible. It isn’t his fault all this is happening, so he can’t be to blame! How does Hans know about Liesel’s fight? Word certainly travels fast in a town, especially if you are in the right place at the right time with the right person. I really like how even Hans seems to know how violent and strict Rosa is, and even makes fun of her, but clearly he loves her. Finally Liesel has decided that Max isn’t a monster, and starts to care for him and wants to ease his nightmares, something she knows all about.

The Swapping of Nightmares

The Girl: ‘Tell me. What do you see when you dream like that?’

The Jew: ‘… I see myself turning round, and waving goodbye.’

The Girl: ‘I also have nightmares.’

The Jew: ‘What do you see?’

The Girl: ‘A train, and my dead brother.’

The Jew: ‘Your brother?’

The Girl: ‘He died when I moved here, on the way.’

The Girl and the Jew, together: ‘Ja – Yes.’

You are right Death, it would be nice, but of course it isn’t true. And then you go on and use amazing methaphors, which I’m not going to copy because you should just grab a copy and read them for yourself! But Liesel has made a huge improvement. She no longer needs Hans, which means he can get proper sleep again! Where did they get the money for a book on her birthday? The Mud Men, sounds interesting… Max is so kind and deserves the hug he gets. And I don’t think Liesel really should be reading Mein Kampf because it would pollute her mind, it should only be read by someone who realises that the words aren’t the law, and that the ideas aren’t good ones, and the person should only want to figure out why Hitler thought they way he did, and not try to replicate him. But I will be so interested reading it, and I keep going on about it, but it is something I will do one day.

But now we will just have to find out what Max has in store for Liesel!





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