No one is truly courageous until they are face to face with a type of fear or agony. It is often one of the most difficult qualities to truly overcome. Being courageous means being able to face fear and to embrace the unknown. In the novel The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, there are some people who act courageously in the town of Munich. Rudy Steiner, Liesel Meminger, and Hans Hubermann are just some of the main characters who show what true courage is.
Throughout the novel, courage is shown through the acts of standing up to the Nazis, showing bravery while is suffering, and fighting for what is right. First of all, there are many of examples of Rudy showing courage by standing up to the Nazis people. He believes in standing up to them even when he knows there will be a consequence of his action. In particular, Rudy stood up to Franz Deutscher, who is the leader of the Hitler Youth group and is treating Tommy Muller unjustifiably, “That was when Rudy stood forward. He faced Franz Deutscher, looking up at him. “He’s got a problem, sir–“” (Zusak, 259). This made Rudy open his eyes to see that even if the person is standing alone, all it takes is one small act of standing up to someone can make a difference. Another example of Rudy standing up is during a time of December when there is a smaller collection of Jews marching down the street towards Dachau.
Seeing this, Rudy thought of Hans of when he is giving a piece of bread to a Jew and decided to take this upon himself to show an act of courage. Both Rudy and Liesel placed the bread on the street where the Jews will be coming and then hide behind trees. When the captive arrives, the Jews had begun to snatch up the slices of bread on the road, “In the trees shadows, Liesel watched the boy. How things had changed, from fruit stealing to bread giver. His blond hair, although darkening, was like a candle. She heard his stomach growl- and he was giving people bread” (Zusak, 440).
This shows that even though these difficult times, Rudy found the courage to stand up for the powerless. Secondly, throughout the novel, Liesel has lost many people in her life at a young age, but throughout it, she is devoted to taking action in the name of courage. Specifically, in the novel part four, both Max and Liesel are having nightmares and one night Liesel went into the living room and the bedroom to ask Max about them. Max tells her he sees himself walking away from his family and in reply, Liesel tells him about her dead brother Werner, “The Jew: “What do you see?” The girl: “A train, and my dead brother.” (Zusak, 220). Here, Liesel is demonstrating a different kind of courage.
It is not the physical kind of courage like on the battlefield, but a more important kind of courage, mental courage, it is when facing emotional and physical pain. Liesel also shows courage when she is stealing the book, “The Shoulder Shrug,” at the bonfire. By stealing the book, it is like saving a Jew which testifies her to going against Hitler himself. After the bonfire, Hans leaves Liesel to talk to Wolfgang, at the same time Liesel goes up to the putout fire of the book burning as workers clean up the ashes. Liesel noticed there is a book still intact and steals it, “She latched onto the closet of the books. It was hot, but it was also wet, burned only at the edges, but otherwise unhurt” (Zusak, 120). This shows her that in times of darkness, Liesel is capable of being courageous.
Thirdly, courage is fighting for what is right even when someone is risking everything they hold dear. In particular, Hans shows the most courage throughout the novel. He shows his courageousness when offering to hid Max in his basement which is a huge risk.
During that time period, offering help to the Jews is an act against the democratic nation. However, Hans takes his risks to protects Max in his house, “Max Vandenburg, the Jew, closed his eyes and dropped a little further into safety. the very idea of it was ludicrous, but he accepted it nonetheless” (Zusak, 185).
This indicates Hans courage of not letting his fear stop him from doing what he believes in. Hans also shows fearlessness when he gave a piece of bread to a Jew who is struggling to stand up and walk. The Jew welcome the bread and thanked Hans with passion, “The Jew stood before him, expecting another handful of derision, but he watched with everyone else as Hans Hubermann held his hand out and presented a piece of bread, like magic” (Zusak, 394). However, the soldier greeted Hans with whips four times. This action displays his nature to help someone who needs help even though he is risking his life for courage.Altogether, the novel The Book Thief shows that there are indeed some courageous people and some are not, specifically Rudy, Liesel, and Hans is some of the main characters who gives examples of what courage should be. That bravery is standing up, being courageous even when it is hopeless, and fighting for what is right. They all demonstrate in The Book Thief that courage is possible in a fearful world.
Without them, the people of Munich will continue to live their lives not speaking up for those who do not have a voice. To be courageous, the person is given an opportunity to do something by taking a chance even when they are afraid.