The Grave diggers Handbook: This book was immensely important to Liesel as it was the first book that she ever read, which kick started her reading education. The book also constantly reminded her of her dead brother, as the book was found in the snow after his burial. Liesels feels that she will never go back to her brothers grave again and therefore feels as though she must have an item to remember him by. We see this when she clutches the book in her arms as she mourns him. The Grave diggers Handbook could also symbolize the last time she saw her mother as shortly after, she leaves Liesel in the train station with the book and a small suitcase full of clothes.
The shoulder Shrug: Stolen from the scolding ashes of a book burning, the shoulder shrug shows how determined Liesel is to acquire books, even as it burns into her chest she continues to hold it close to hide it from view. If someone found out she stole the book she may have been beaten and her family could be taken away, Liesel knew this however she was willing to defy the Nazi’s and risk being hurt or killed in order to learn to read. Liesel may have desperately wanted to read due to pressures from her peers and adults that were bullying her about her inability, If this is the case Liesel must have been a stubborn determined child who would do anything to prove you wrong. The theft of the shoulder shrug sparked the beginning of Liesels hate of Hitler and the Nazi party as Hans explains to her that she could be taken away, which angers her. When other people are in fear of Hitler, little 9 year old Liesel was angry at him which shows the kind of person she was.
The Dream carrier: For most of the story Liesel only steals from people she dislikes, such as Frau Heinrich (the Nazi shop owner next door) or the farmer down the road. But when her trusted friend and only customer for her families crucial laundry business betrayes her, Liesel cannot control herself, shouting and screaming at Ilsa Hermann and angrily stomping home. For many months Liesel no longer needed to steal books due to Ilsa Herman’s huge library but once her constant supply had gone Liesel felt that it was only fair to steal books from Ilsa to punish her for what she had done. This shows that although Liesel is very intelligent she is too young to understand what the mayor and his wife must do in order to gain the public’s respect. The book Liesel stole was the Dream carrier and from then on it symbolized Liesels actions that day and reminded her of her unfounded hate towards Ilsa Hermann.
The Standover man: Written on the blanked out pages of Hitlers “Mein Kampf” The Standover man symbolizes Max’s hate and defiance of Hitler and the Nazi regime and shows his process of removing his dark past by painting over it with his own words. In some ways Mein Kampf haunted Max as it was his passport through to the Hubermanns that he held close and it kept him alive, but it was also the book that was an insult to his entire race and spoke of Jews as if they were animals waiting to be culled. This must have scared Max and reminded him of what may have been happening to his family, and thus it felt only right to vandalize it into a form he could love. Max spent all his time creating this book for Liesel, his focus kept him from boredom and sickness giving him a new reason to live. The book is about the people who stood over Max throughout his life and caused him pain, first his father, his opponents and then Liesel, who stood over not in anger but in curiosity. I Believe there were many other stand over men in people lives at this time, Liesel’s may have been Rosa, who controlled her at all times, Rudy’s may have been the bully Franz, Hans’s guilt may have stood over him. But everyone’s stand over man was Hitler.