Friday, October 2, 2009

Discussion Questions--to p. 123

I'm a little late with this-- sorry! I'll be better next week. :) Questions:

1. I love some of the word choice, imagery and figurative language in this book. What are some of the language choices that stand out to you? Where have you paused and thought about what was being shown to you?

2. Is Leisel a substitute for Hans and Rosa's children? Why or why not?

3. Death says that Leisel is "a girl with a mountain to climb" (p. 86). What is her mountain? Who is her climbing partner?

4. Hans Jr. calls his father a coward. How does it take courage to oppose Hitler?

5. FEEL FREE TO POST HERE any questions that you have... as you have them! We can discuss together.
Mrs. P


Joe Mehsling said...

What a fantastic book. I hope more adults read this than one might think as it is a "young adult" book.

Very powerful.

Joe M.

Kukulkan said...

"The Standover Man" cometh.....

JAD said...

Hi guys how's it going? I really like this book a lot and I agree with mr. Mehsling very powerfull. what do u guys think? The word choice is amazing and has a very deep meaning to it! Lesiel is a very good character that has a mix of amottions (sp?) and confusion. Well I have to go now guys! Bye see you guys on Friday! 8)

Rae said...

Okay, I really thought that on some page (My book isn't with me right now, but I marked it) it was really interesting how Hans Huberman talked about the colors like Death does. I found that really interesting how he "saw the colors and also spoke them"

And since I had to leave 5 minutes early for Jazz Band, I'll just post my answer to question 4.

I disagreed with Hans Jr. calling his father a coward. I feel that it probably would be easier to just go with the Nazi's and support them than to say, "No, I don't agree with what they're doing," especially when the "they're" are the Nazi's and and how they were so violent and very say the very least.

Basically, the whole part with Hans Jr. made me really mad at Hans Jr. and feel that Hans was very hurt by what his son was saying. I don't see a good end for Hans Jr. either.

That's my thoughts!

Srta. Bahrenburg said...

I was waiting for a question like this after last weeks comment about Leisel’s father not caring for his family by not giving in to Hitler but remaining communist… He showed the same courage Hans did by not backing down. Hans and Rosa are not “replacing” their children, but they are doing what they can to beat Hitler – one person at a time. It took courage to stand up for what he believed in when he knew by then it would likely cost him his livelihood. Changes may be slow to come, but by standing up for his Jewish friends when he did, he was making a stand that he needed to take whether his children understood or not…

If you check out the site above, it discusses variations of the following that is attributed to Martin Niemöller

"When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church -- and there was nobody left to be concerned."

Kimberly said...

1. I, too, picked up right away on the author's amazing word choice and use of imagery and figurative language in this book. Something later on in the book stood out to me, past page 123, so I will comment on that later so as not to ruin it for those who aren't there yet. :) But just how Zusak uses phrases like "a necklace of sweat had formed around her throat" (p 122) is brilliant. And because of this, the author was able to fill my senses, all of them, when describing the book burning. I love it!

2. I think Liesel both is and isn't a substitute for Hans and Rosa's children. She is really not like the older boy/man at all, but she is like the other child a bit more. So in a way she might be a "stand-in" while they are gone, but she isn't really similar enough to their own children to be a true "substitute." Does that make sense? Haha...

3. I think her mountain changes with nearly every scene in this book - Liesel is a very dynamic character, and what she wants and needs changes slightly throughout, though it centers around literacy and knowledge (in my opinion). Her climbing partner is, of course, Hans when it comes to literacy.

4. It really bugged me that Hans Jr. acted so rudely to his father. I thought that calling him a coward was uncalled for, due to the fact that I was raised to always respect your elders, ESPECIALLY your parents. If anything, it takes more courage to be and act like Hans than it does Hans, Jr. to be so politically outspoken.

5. I am so excited to read the next questions/blogs - I've read ahead a bit, so I will postpone my questions. :)

Mr. Butler said...

Hey gang, I am sorry I've been a bit behind on posting (AKA not at all until now), but I am loving this book.

1. Amen! The figurative language in this book is incredible. Here's one example, from page 79, when Liesel beats up the boy for making fun of her reading struggles on the playground, and she's swearing a blue streak:
"Oh, how the clouds stumbled in and assembled stupidly in the sky.
Great obese clouds. (personification)
Dark and plump.
Bumping into each other. Apologizing. Moving on and finding room.
Children were there, quick as, well, quick as kids gravitating toward a fight. (simile) A stew of arms and legs, of shouts and cheers grew thicker around them. (metaphor)

3. In that particular scene, her mountain is learning to read, and I love how the author evokes the wonder and power involved in that process. In general, it seems that Liesel's mountain is trying to make sense of and understand the world around her.

More later... I've gotta see what happens next.

amandamenihan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
amandamenihan said...

The mountain Liesel has to climb is a combination of things inside her. She wants to be able to read and conquer her ignorance. She wants to conquer her nightmares. She wants to conquer the loneliness she feels without her mother and brother. Each of these things help to make up the mountain she needs to climb.

Papa is her partner for this journey. He is teaching her to read, he comforts her every night without fail after the nightmares and he has become her friend to help ease the sense of loneliness. It makes me very happy that she has a compassionate foster father because I'm sure that even though Rosa does care about Liesel in her own way, I know that this new life would be unbearable for Liesel without Papa.

I love that one chapter is called the Smell of Friendship. I read somewhere once in college (a hundred years ago ☺) that smell is the strongest sense tied to memory. I totally and completely relate to this. A faint whiff of something can bring back so many memories for me. I have always been able to remember a day, a person, an event, whatever, in clear, vivid detail from just one quick sniff of a familiar scent tied to it. This is especially amazing to me because I have such a horrible memory. Anyone who knows me has witnessed that I have to do things like put my watch on the wrong arm just to remember the simplest things. Even though the thought of the things Liesel calls the smell of friendship (tobacco and kerosene) seem gross to me, I can completely understand how these normally unpleasant aromas can have a wonderfully safe and comforting affect on her.
~Mrs. Menihan

Mr. Butler said...

In response to Kimberly and others who were offended by Hans Jr.'s disrespect toward his father: I completely agree that he was out of line, and that Hans's actions take more courage than those of his son. However, to play devil's advocate, consider this: What if the roles were reversed, but the son was still being just as disrespectful? In other words, what if the father was going along with the Nazis and the son called him a coward for that? Would we be condemning the son's behavior in that case, or would we be praising him?

Rae said...

Hello again!
WOW. I love the teacher's posts a lot! Here's what I'd like to add:

When Mrs. Bahrenburg talked about how they were standing up to Hitler one person at a time, that hit me. I think that makes sense. By taking in these children the children see Hans (and Rosa's) point of view. Your parents teach you a lot about what you stand up for, and being a foster kid, you could be easily influenced by Nazi foster parents. I really liked that.

Kimberly, when you said the mountain is changing, I agree with that too. I think that's interesting. I think that maybe it's not just changing, but maybe it's slowly getting bigger as she sumits the small mountains, and life keeps coming.

Mr. Butler, everyone was so formal and then I read,"hey gang," and I was transported into 7th Grade English class. Still so passionate about similies, metaphors and personification I see. Your second post interested me too. I think that we wouldn't be so mad at Hans Jr. if he was talking against Nazis. He'd be on "the right side" and mabybe that wouldn't be considered as rude.

I also agree with Mrs. Menihan when she said that Leisel's new life would be unbearable without Hans. I do think Rosa loves her and maybe she just has a harder time expressing it. Plus, someone has to be the enforcer or you'll end up plain spoiled. Hans and Rosa balance eachother out.

Thants all I got!

AWESOME said...


Anonymous said...

it sounds like a good book

WOW PERSON said...


copa 37 said...

i'm on team jacob he is da bomb I LOVE NEW MOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!