Hans Hubermann in “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak

Paper Info
Page count 5
Word count 1508
Read time 6 min
Topic Literature
Type Research Paper
Language 🇺🇸 US

Establishing the Topic

I have chosen Hans Hubermann as the primary focus of the current research assignment. In my opinion, he symbolizes the light and hope in the grim protagonist’s life. Hans is a peaceful man who opposes the principles of the Nazi political regime and merely wants safety for his family and oppressed people. He risks his life by saving Max Vandenburg and rejecting the German ideology during World War II. Moreover, he teaches Liesel how to read and shares the joy of writing and reading, gradually transforming her life and showing that there is still hope in this world. Among all characters, I particularly sympathized with Hans and admired his dedication to protecting his family. Therefore, I believe that Hans Hubermann is the chief vehicle for the conveyance of the novel’s “message of hope, connection, and the empowering effects of the language.”

The Results of the Research

Article 1: “’Into Eternity’s Certain Breadth’: Ambivalent Escapes in Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief” by Jenni Adams

Adams, J. (2010). “Into eternity’s certain breadth”: Ambivalent escapes in Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. Children’s Literature in Education, 41, 222-233. Web.

Summary of the article’s main point (argument) and an important claim

Adams thoroughly investigates the narrative of the novel and emphasizes the consolation-confrontation duality as its main point. The setting of World War II and the Holocaust is a disturbing subject that reveals historical horrors to the readers. However, the author argues that Death, as a character, reduces the emotional distress and provides consolation to the readers via the lens of supernatural perspective. The dualistic narrative is further emphasized through the child-adult worldview of the ongoing events and their response to historical horrors. The author presents it by describing Liesel’s relationship with Hans and their attitude towards the Nazi regime.

Lessons learned about the novel from the article for the research essay

I believe that the most relevant information from the article is the description of the dualistic narrative on the Holocaust from the perspective of children and adults. It concerns both the readers, since the novel was published for teenagers and grownups, and the characters – Liesel and Hans. The author examines various literary techniques and narrative strategies to explain this duality and examine how children and adults might perceive the horrors of the Holocaust. Ultimately, I believe that this distinction further emphasizes Liesel’s character development and the role of Hans Hubermann in this process.

A quotation from the article that is useful in the research essay

“The references to Hans as ‘Papa’ in this passage invoke Liesel’s viewpoint, arguably positioning the passage as free indirect discourse, yet the syntactic simplicity of such phrases as ‘[n]othing went in and nothing went out’ suggests the perspective of a child much younger than Liesel, who is at this point fourteen years old” (p. 230).

The aspect of the chosen character and the character’s role in The Book Thief

While Adams does not explicitly analyze Hans Hubermann, she emphasizes the role of his character in the development of Liesel’s worldview. He acts as both an opposing side in the dualistic child-adult narrative and as a mentor who reveals the joy of reading and writing to Liesel. Adams suggests that Liesel, who has grown significantly and got used to the horrors of the war during her life in Molching, returned to the “child” perspective after the discovery of Hans’s death. The author believes that Liesel’s quote, “Papa was a man with silver eyes, not dead ones. Papa was an accordion!” resembles the words of a small child and not a 14-years old girl (p. 230). This breakdown of a character further emphasizes their close relationship and Liesel’s ultimate grief of losing her “foster” father. Thus, Adams states that Hans’s role is vital to Liesel’s character development and dualistic narrative of the novel.

Article 2: “Words from the Basement: Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief” by Susan Koprince

Koprince, S. (2011). Words from the basement: Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. Notes on Contemporary Literature, 41(1).

Summary of the article’s main point (argument) and an important claim

Susan Koprince emphasizes the role of the basement as the main point of the article. She claims that the basement is generally perceived as a dark and evil place in literary works of famous authors, such as Edgar Allan Poe and Henri Bosco. However, Zusak describes the basement of Hubermanns’ house as a shelter and a sanctuary. It is the safest place in the house, far from the reach of the Nazi regime. Furthermore, Hans teaches Liesel how to write and read in the basement, associating positive connotations with the cellar and creating a feeling of a sanctuary.

Lessons learned about the novel from the article for the research essay

I believe that Koprince’s interpretation is highly relevant to the final essay since it presents a slightly different perspective on Hans’s role in the novel. The vast emphasis on the basement as a sanctuary portrays Hans as a mentor and a ray of hope in the war-torn nation. It also demonstrates Hans’s importance to Liesel and Max as they gradually start perceiving the basement as their shelter and a “safe space.” Ultimately, the safety of the basement is directly associated with their perception of Hubermanns and their belief that Hans will protect them.

A quotation from the article that is useful in the research essay

“Through his portrait of the Hubermanns’ basement and the telling of Liesel’s story, however, Zusak presents his readers with a counterbalancing, hopeful message: that any basement-whether real or metaphorical-can be transformed into a shelter where goodness reigns; that any place of darkness and “walled-in tragedy” can be transfigured, in the end, by the extraordinary power of words” (p. 2).

The aspect of the chosen character and the character’s role in The Book Thief

As mentioned briefly before, the importance of the basement is directly connected to the role of Hans Hubermann as a character. He protects Liesel, teaches her to read and write, and provides shelter from the Nazi threat. He also introduces Liesel to his work and hobby, “since Hans is a house painter by trade, he and Liesel paint the words that Liesel doesn’t yet know on the basement walls” (p. 1). Consequently, readers also perceive the basement as a sanctuary that Hans uses to convey the power of words. Ultimately, in the article, Koprince explains the significance of the basement, and the safety of the cellar is reflected in Liesel’s beliefs that Hans will protect her. 92 words.

Article 3: “Shaking Words: Memoir as Confrontation in Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief” by Emma Dominguez-Rué

Dominguez-Rué, E. (2019). Shaking words: Memoir as confrontation in Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. Holocaust Studies, 25(4), 514-527. Web.

Summary of the article’s main point (argument) and an important claim

In the article, Dominguez-Rué discusses the concepts of mortality and death; however, the paper’s main point is that words can save the legacy of the deceased people and tell their stories. Throughout the novel, Liesel learns how to use the power of language to protect the memories of her family and close people. Dominguez-Rué describes Hubermanns, Max, and other characters as “silenced” people – the ones who could not tell their story are were killed too early. However, even among the unending death and pain, Liesel survives and shares that there is still hope with the power of words.

Lessons learned about the novel from the article for the research essay

Dominguez-Rué explains the concept of mortality and untold stories from various perspectives, including the role of Hans Hubermann. I believe that the most relevant information from the article is the transparent explanation of Liesel’s character development after learning about Hans’s acceptance into Air Raid Unit. The family understands that it is the most severe punishment for Hans and, most likely, death. However, Liesel is not frustrated – she is determined to use the power of words to preserve Hans’s story. Thus, she uses the language that was taught to her by Hans to protect his legacy and oppose the Nazis.

A quotation from the article that is useful in the research essay

“This double absence (Hans’s punishment) triggers a new feeling of abandonment, this time not rendering Liesel powerless but further stimulating her progress toward self-definition” (p. 522).

The aspect of the chosen character and the character’s role in The Book Thief

As described by the quote above, Hans’s acceptance into the Nazi party played a vital part in Liesel’s character development and the story’s plot. At this point, Liesel and the reader anticipate Hans’s death, but the narrative supports the idea that there is still hope, and Liesel is determined to preserve her family’s legacy. Dominguez-Rué explains, “It crystallizes with the writing of her memoirs in the basement, which strongly reverberate with her awareness of the power of words and simultaneously vindicate the stories of those who are absent” (p. 522). As a result, the reader starts perceiving Hans not only as a father figure to Liesel but also as a catalyst of her determination.

Cite this paper

Reference

NerdyBro. (2022, December 30). Hans Hubermann in "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak. Retrieved from https://nerdybro.com/hans-hubermann-in-the-book-thief-by-markus-zusak/

Reference

NerdyBro. (2022, December 30). Hans Hubermann in "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak. https://nerdybro.com/hans-hubermann-in-the-book-thief-by-markus-zusak/

Work Cited

"Hans Hubermann in "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak." NerdyBro, 30 Dec. 2022, nerdybro.com/hans-hubermann-in-the-book-thief-by-markus-zusak/.

References

NerdyBro. (2022) 'Hans Hubermann in "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak'. 30 December.

References

NerdyBro. 2022. "Hans Hubermann in "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak." December 30, 2022. https://nerdybro.com/hans-hubermann-in-the-book-thief-by-markus-zusak/.

1. NerdyBro. "Hans Hubermann in "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak." December 30, 2022. https://nerdybro.com/hans-hubermann-in-the-book-thief-by-markus-zusak/.


Bibliography


NerdyBro. "Hans Hubermann in "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak." December 30, 2022. https://nerdybro.com/hans-hubermann-in-the-book-thief-by-markus-zusak/.