Finish Part Four (which is where this book really starts to pick up steam) and be prepared to share! Does anyone have any questions/confusions/comments/criticisms? If so, post here. Also, here are some discussion questions for you to be pondering tonight:
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?
6. Guilt is another recurring theme in the novel. Hans Hubermann’s life was spared in France during World War I, and Erik Vandenburg’s life was taken. Why does Hans feel guilty about Erik's death? Guilt is a powerful emotion that may cause a person to become unhappy and despondent. Discuss how Hans channels his guilt into helping others. Explain Max Vandenburg’s thought, “Living was living. The price was guilt and shame.” (p. 208) Why does he feel guilt and shame?
7. How is the use of Mein Kampf in this story ironic? Look at the description on p. 159 for a quick reference!
8. On p. 189, Death addresses how much he "likes" Max's "stupid gallantry". What insight do we gain into Death's personality? Into Max's?
9. Review p. 198-199. This is a pivotal moment between Leisel and her foster parents. What has happened?
10. "Imagine smiling after a slap in the face. Then think of doing it twenty-four hours a day. That was the business of hiding a Jew" (p. 211).What does this comparison mean to you?
11. "The Standover Man"-- How much do you love this gift from Max to Leisel? :)
Feel free to respond to any of these here in a comment, or just come to the meeting tomorrow focused and ready to chat!