character names and how they helped liesel.
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I'll begin with Hans Hubermann, Liesel's "silver-eyed foster father." Hans' compassion sets a strong example for Liesel, who is soothed by his presence. Hans' impulsive kindness ultimately gets him in trouble but also serves as an inspiration to Liesel. She takes his lead, in her own scrappy way, and fights Nazis and oppression in her own way, largely through the power of the written word.
Max Vandenburg is a 23-year-old Jew who hides from the Nazis in the Hubermanns' basement. Max is wracked with anguish and guilt over leaving his family to save himself, but he comes to befriend Liesel as the two share their respective nightmares. Their friendship grows very deep, and Liesel reads to Max every night when he falls comatose. Max makes two books for Liesel, both of which involve thinly-veiled allegories about their friendship and Nazi Germany: an illustrated story called "The Standover Man," and a long book of sketches that includes the short story "The Word Shaker." Max inspires Liesel to never stop fighting, to get up when she is knocked down. He helps and inspires her to use her artistic talents as an outlet for her rage.
Rudy Steiner is Liesel's best friend. One of six Steiner children, Rudy is gallant and impetuous. Rudy is motivated throughout the novel by his love for Liesel; at one point he retrieves Liesel's book from the icy cold river and asks her for a kiss. By the end of the novel, Liesel has come to love Rudy as well, just a little too late. Rudy inspires Liesel to do the right thing, to fight and believe in what you want.
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