The Book Thief

How does Liesel use damaging words in the Gamblers? Describe the reactions of Ilsa, Rosa, Hans, and Liesel herself to these words.

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Liesel uses damaging words to Ilsa after she tells her they no longer need Rosa's services. Liesel is thoughtless and completely out of line. Ilsa's reaction....

The mayor’s wife’s arms.
They hung.
Her face slipped.


After a miscarriaged pause, the mayor’s wife edged forward and picked up the book. She was battered and beaten up, and not from smiling this time. Liesel could see it on her face. Blood leaked from her nose and licked at her lips. Her eyes had blackened. Cuts had opened up and a series of wounds were rising to the surface of her skin. All from the words. From Liesel’s words.
Book in hand, and straightening from a crouch to a standing hunch, Ilsa Hermann began the process again of saying sorry, but the sentence did not make it out.
Slap me, Liesel thought. Come on, slap me.
Ilsa Hermann didn’t slap her. She merely retreated backward, into the ugly air of her beautiful house, and Liesel, once again, was left alone, clutching at the steps. She was afraid to turn around because she knew that when she did, the glass casing of Molching had now been shattered, and she’d be glad of it.

Rosa refused to believe Liesel would say such things....

Rosa touched one and picked it up, but she did not wield it. “I don’t believe you.”
Liesel was torn between distress and total mystification. The one time she desperately wanted a Watschen and she couldn’t get one! “It’s my fault.”
“It’s not your fault,” Mama said, and she even stood and stroked Liesel’s waxy, unwashed hair. “I know you wouldn’t say those things.”
“I said them!”
“All right, you said them.”

Hans comforted her.....

“Papa,” she whispered, “I think I’m going to hell.”
Her legs were warm. Her knees were cold.
She remembered the nights when she’d wet the bed and Papa had washed the sheets and taught her the letters of the alphabet. Now his breathing blew across the blanket and she kissed his scratchy cheek.
“You need a shave,” she said.
“You’re not going to hell,” Papa replied.


The Book Thief