Blog for Ms. Ross's Classes

Period 3 Only: Bravery and Cowardice

Hans Junior, a Nazi soldier, calls his dad a coward because he doesn’t belong to the Nazi Party. He feels that you are either for Hitler or against him. Consider some of the following questions:

  • How does it take courage to oppose Hitler and the Nazi Party? 
  • There isn’t one coward in the Hubermann household. How do they demonstrate courage?
  • So far in the novel, do you consider Rudy to be brave or naive? How about Liesel?
  • Is Max’s guilt (on any of a few topics) more a result of his bravery or cowardice?
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20 responses

  1. Alexander M

    You have to be vary bold and have lots of guts to oppose the Nazi party. But i guess if you had more then on person you could do it. Because as they say, two minds are better then one. Rudy brave? I think so, to ask Liesel for a kiss was a bold thing to do. So I think he’s brave, even when the grim reaper predicted his death.

    March 4, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    • Alexander M

      oops very bold.

      March 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm

  2. Alice L

    It needs a lot of courage to oppose Hitler and the Nazi party, because the person might be taken away, lose job, or even be killed. I think there isn’t one coward in the Hubermann household. Rosa and Hans let Max to stay at their house, even though they know there are no benefit and many disadvantages for protecting a Jewish person. I think Liesel is also very brave. She cope her grief and move forward in life. I think Rudy is naïve. He ices the road to make Otto fall off the bike. He also paints himself black and pretend to be Jesse Owen. Rudy is young and playful. I think Max’s guilt is a result of his cowardice. On page 208, he says he imagines hundreds of time leaving Han’s house, but he does not. If he is brave, I think he would leave and not cause trouble to other people.

    March 4, 2011 at 5:24 pm

  3. Lester Y

    During that time period, joining the Nazi party I think is more like a trend. Either or not you support Hitler or you hates him, at least the Nazi party can guarantee you a life without any trouble. I don’t think it’s the matter of bravery or cowardice. It’s the matter of how much do you think through and how much do you consider. If you are a Dad or a Mom of 4 kids starving at home and you are just about to be executed, would you beg the executioner for a little mercy not to kill you? Maybe, you don’t, because you think it’s how you show your braveness, however when you die with heroic bravery, how about your kids and all the people who count on you for living. They will be dead as well because of your so called the “Heroic Bravery”. In my opinion, there aren’t real bravery or cowardice. It’s all about how smart you are and how far you have deeply think through what the consequences would be.

    “I’ve seen so many young men over the years who think they’re runing at other young men. They are not. They are running ar me” page 174

    March 4, 2011 at 6:59 pm

  4. Jake K

    #1.Definitely, opposing Hitler and Nazi party is very courageous, or even stupid. During that time period, German was a very dangerous place for people who did oppose Hitler and Nazi party. They were the majority and the one with authority, they could easily take people, who did oppose them, and eliminate them from the world. Thus, a lot of courage was needed in order to oppose Hitler and Nazi party.
    #2.No one in that Hubermann’s household is coward. This is because, first of all, Rosa and Hans hides a Jewish person in their basement, which is a seriously dangerous act. In addition, Liesel decides to keep a secret, which is that a Jewish person is hiding in their house, and it can be considered as a courageous act because she sacrifices her youth for one’s sake.
    #3.Rudy is brave. It is shown when he asks for a kiss to Liesel. Not many men are brave enough to ask for a kiss to a girl. Also, as I have talked before, Liesel is a courageous girl as well. Her sacrifice is the evidence for it.
    #4. In my opinion, Max is guilt is more with his cowardice. He is a coward because he first is scared of visiting Hans. If he deserves to be taken care of, he has no reason to be scared. He may feel sorry, but not scared. Thus, his guilty mind of living in Hans’ house is derived from his cowardice mind that scares of living in someone else’s house.

    March 4, 2011 at 10:20 pm

  5. Joanna C

    I believe that Max’s guilt was mostly resulted from his cowardice. He was scared to say goodbye. Perhaps he knew that he would not see his family again. He was afraid to face his family and could not bear to look at them.He had mentioned that if he did look back, he would not feel as guilty as he actually did.

    March 4, 2011 at 11:07 pm

  6. tina huang

    Join in the Nazi Party and support Hitler is only way to protect yourself and your family. If you try to fight them, you might be killed, or be taken away. You do not get any benefits or advantages.Therefore, many courage is needed to oppose Hitler and his Nazi Party.

    Personally, there was no coward in Hans Hubermann’s household. Hans and Rosa allowed Max to live in their house,even though they knew it was dangerous, but they still wanted to protect him. Liesel kept the secret about there was a Jewish person lived in their basement.

    March 4, 2011 at 11:15 pm

  7. cooky

    Courage is needed to be opposite Hitler and the Nazi Party. During that time, people that were supporting Hitler would have benefits. On the other hand, people that were not supporting would face punishment. Many people joined the party as they wanted to keep themselves safe.
    In Hans Hubermann’s household, there was no coward. Hans and Rosa were brave to keep a Jewish in their house. Knowing it would be dangerous, Hans still kept the promise. Liesel was keeping the secret tight that no one would know about the Jewish who lived in her house.
    Beside, Rudy was brave too. He stool apples and asked Liesel for a kiss.

    March 4, 2011 at 11:49 pm

  8. lance lu

    1.Of course, you need take courage to oppose Hitler and Nazi party. However, i think courage is not enough, you also need preparedness that everyone who has backed you up will get killed, if you fail. Therefore, i dont think that it’s a wise and brave action to against Nazi party when you have a big family and many friends at a clear situation that shows you have no chance to receive succeed. Sometime it requires much more courage to survive than death as an hero.
    2.I think that nobody in the Hubermann household is coward. Both Hans and Rosa konw what is going to happen if Nazi knows that they are hiding a Jew, but they still protect that poor Jew for Hans’ promise.
    3.Liesel is courageous because she dares to face the challenge and to fight to guard her dignity. Unlike Liesel, i think Rudy’s action is naive. He always do somthing for fun and without consider about consequence, such as imitate Jesse Owens.
    4.I think Max’s guilt is more a result of his cowardice. When he escaeped from Nazi troops, he has even forgotten to say goodbye to his family. Before the krisallnacht,he is scared to be took away be Nazi. However, he pretend he is a daredevil, that is a coward action. When a guy is really brave, he will speak out his fear, instead of hide them

    March 5, 2011 at 12:24 am

  9. tina huang

    Rudy is naive, he uses black coal to cover himself since he wants to be Jesse Owen. However, this action is not a good idea during that period. German may thing he is a Jewish person then kill him. Liesel is brave, she becomes the friend with Max,it is not necessary but she still do it.

    Max’s guilt is more a result of his cowardice. He knows that Hans household will in the trouble cause him. He does not want to face the reality,so he keeps living in their house. It shows that Max is a selfish man.

    March 5, 2011 at 11:41 am

  10. Gabriel L

    Opposing a regime that threatens dissidents with death is an act that requires not only courage but the resolve to die for your cause. In “The Book Thief”, Zusak develops his characters with different types of courage. Liesel is courageous in the way she is not afraid to speak her mind. However, I’m betting that eventually she will find better ways to resist Hitler. Hans Huberman epitomizes the silent, passive resistor. He paints over anti-Semitic slogans by “accident”. This also helps to keep him out of the Nazi Party, which I believe he hates. The Party has estranged his son, taken away his customers, and turned Germany into an enemy of the entire world.

    March 5, 2011 at 9:29 pm

  11. Jae Lim

    1. It’s hard to describe with words to tell how much courage you need to oppose the absolute power of that era. It isn’t just risking your life, but your entire family.

    2.There isn’t one coward in the Hubermann household. They all took the risk of hiding a Jew. That simply proves enough courage of them.

    3. – Rudy voluntarily endeavor to feed Max well. Feeding and hiding a Jew under the influence of Hitler and the Nazi Party? Isn’t that enough?

    – Liesel agrees to keep the secret of hiding a Jew. That is a very heavy responsibility for such a girl.

    4. Max’s guilt is more a result of his coward bravery. He is afraid of anything out side of the world. His living style like a rat shows you that. Yet he takes a huge leap of faith despite his cowardice. Hoping for only one thing with his COWARD BRAVERY.

    March 5, 2011 at 9:37 pm

  12. C.S.

    In that period of time, to oppose Hitler is rather a dangerous action because he is a dictator. Life would be tied on a string if they against Hitler’s believes. Hans and Rosa accept to hide Max, what kind of action can be more dangerous than that? Hans Jr. thinks he is very brave, but as the Death says “he is running at [him].” Rudy and Liesel seems naive at moment, for what they have done. Stealing may take courage, but certainly it’s not a brave action.

    Apparently, trying to survive is an instinct. At most time, logic is better than emotion. Logic can make the most rational decision. For example, if people know they can not change the situation, and choices are to die together or save his own life. For the emotional choice would be dying with others while logical option will continue the life.

    March 5, 2011 at 10:45 pm

  13. Larisa

    Because,in that time if you were to oppose Hitler you would have been punished or killed. Hitler wanted all men, women and children to be in the same mind set as himself, for example. all jews were trying to take over Germany and they were the cause of WW1. Hans and Rosa are courageous and brave due to the bringing in of the Jewish boy. They had to be brave enough to hide a jew in there household.I consider Liesel brave to become a better reader and stronger writer. On the other hand Rudy is definitely naive because he is very ignorant and also doesn’t show a lot sophisticated knowledge.
    Max’s guilt is a result of his coward bravery because of his life style inside the Hubermans house and living as filthy animal. Yet he was brave enough to try and live a better life then a normal jew would, like in the concentration camp or dead for that matter.

    March 6, 2011 at 1:06 pm

  14. inVicktion

    I think that it takes great courage to oppose Hitler and the Nazi Party. Anyone who opposed Hitler was either killed on the spot or sent to concentration camps and it really takes guts to oppose either. I think that both Hans and Rosa are not cowards but very courageous, partly due to the fact that they are holding a Jewish Person as a Refugee in Nazi Germany. This is a very big risk as if they are caught not only will Max be killed but also the Hubermann Family for supporting a Jewish person. In Nazi Germany I don’t think there was a bigger risk than hiding a Jewish Person.I would have to say that Rudy is a bit of both, Brave and Naive. He is a free spirit who does whatever he want’s, for example if most people saw a book floating in a river they wouldn’t jump into the icy water to fetch the book. An example of him being both brave and Naive was the Jesse Owens incident. He was brave to do that but also very naive as it could have resulted in something very bad. I think that Liesel is also a bit of both, brave and naive at the sometime. She is brave in the fact that she has the courage to steal books but naive in the fact that she didn’t know what happened to people who “opposed” Hitler. I don’t think Max is either brave nor a coward he is just doing whatever it takes to survive. I think Max’s guilt is due to the fact that hes is putting the Hubermann familly in danger and fears his stay may not be good for them.

    March 6, 2011 at 3:02 pm

  15. ksim

    As stated many times above, I also believe it does take an immense amount of courage to oppose the Nazi Party. Hans and Rosa are quite opposite to what their son, Hans Junior claimed them to be, cowardly. It takes a lot of bravery to go against the Nazi party and hide a Jewish person in those dangerous times. If they are caught, horrible things will happen to not only Max, but their whole family. I think Rudy is more naive than brave, he is young and has no idea about the consequences to his actions.

    March 6, 2011 at 6:02 pm

  16. Jenn Pal

    Of course it takes courage to oppose the Nazi regime, but, simultaneously, it is a foolish thing to do. Hans and Rosa are endangering their whole family by hiding Max in their home, but it also goes to show that there is some benevolence or compassion left in a world that is dangerously divided.

    Both Rudy and Liesel show courage in that they don’t seem to care what other people think; but being concurrently young and naive, they also have to be brave to deal with the consequences of what their presumptuousness might lead them into.

    March 6, 2011 at 6:17 pm

  17. R Fletcher

    I would have to say that it is very brave of Hans to oppose the Nazi party. Considering the point in world war two that the book has reached, it is very dangerous to be a non supporter of Hitler. For Hans to stick to his beliefs and refuse to conform is an act of bravery. On the other hand, the fact that Hans is only seen as a non supporter of Hitler behind closed doors, could be taken as cowardly. Despite that, keeping his opinion a secret is merely an act of survival, for there are harsh consequences for those who openly oppose Hitler. In all, I believe that Hans Hubermann is in no way a coward.

    March 6, 2011 at 10:52 pm

  18. toml

    First of all, I think this is a trick question.

    Secondly, the word “Courage” is define as “The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.” Dictioanry.com.

    “Have the courage of one’s convictions, to act in accordance with one’s beliefs, especially in spite of criticism. “

    Clearly, “Courage” has multiple meanings. To Hans Junior, not joining the Nazi Party is a cowardly move, yet why is it a cowardly move instead of being patriot?

    In addition, to be called a coward, is a good thing. That means you did not do something stupid. For example “Sam called Tim a coward for not jumping off the bridge.” ‘Hans jr called Hans Hubermann a coward for not killing innocent Jewish people.”

    Intentionally, without Hans Junior even noticing, He called Hans Hubermann a Coward for not doing something that’s stupid. In this case, joining the Nazi Party,
    if and only if Nazi party was any good or to be proud of, Hans Junior would have probably said “patriot” instead of “cowardice”.

    As far as I concern, Zusak wrote the line as a hidden message, which I don’t know if that was what he was trying to do, but at least that is how I interpret the quote.

    Otherwise, Zasak, would have noticed the word differences, and would have been straight forward with other words.

    Lastly, towards Hans Hubermann, saving a Jewish person’s life would be courageous.

    March 6, 2011 at 11:17 pm

  19. Liang W

    Disregarding whether it is right or wrong to join Nazi party, I think it takes courage to oppose Nazi party for it takes courage to be in the minority and against the majority.

    Hans demonstrates courage by believeing in his principles. He choose to not follow the Nazi party, and help a Jewish person, Max, as he has promised Max’s parents. Also, Rosa trusts Hans for she is helping Max as well.

    I consider Rudy as naive. He does things without caring how others think. However, it is because he doesn’t know much. Rudy will be considered as brave, if he still does things what he believes in after he gains more knowledge.(For example, he will be considered as brave if he knows the racism in the country, and still smears himself charcoal black and run on the street.)

    March 6, 2011 at 11:53 pm