These are characteristics that not everyone has. These are characteristics that set people apart from the rest. These are the characteristics that make little Rudy Steiner capable of challenging the injustices going on in his small world. In the novel The Book Thief, set in the of time Doll Hitter’s reign during World War II, by Markus Sake, Lies Engineer moves to Hummel Street and befriends Rudy Steiner, one of the six Steiner children, ultimately becoming best friends and partners in crime.
Throughout his childhood, Rudy is witness to various instances of injustice and decides to stand against them; making him one of the characters that most effectively challenges injustices. As a young boy living in Munich Germany at the time of Hitter’s rule, Rudy must attend the Hitler Youth, like every other German boy of that time. During one of his Hitler Youth sessions, his class is practicing their marching for an important event coming up when Tommy Mueller, Rowdy’s friend and class mate, falters in his step and gets punished due to this small blunder he committed near the end of the rehearsal.
Rudy reminds their Hitler Youth leader, Franz Deutsche, that Tommy has had severe ear problems after getting lost in the snow as a child that prevents him from hearing all the orders he is given and causes him to falter in his steps. Deutsche did not like this, seeing it as an act of defiance, and made both Tommy Mueller and Rudy run laps around the field outside. In order to provide for themselves, Rudy Joins a gang of thieves along with Lies. After their original gang leader, Arthur Berg, left, Victor Schemes was the person to take over.
Arthur Berg and Victor Schemes were complete opposites: Arthur being onerous in the giving everyone a fair share of stolen goods and looking out for the rest of the kids in the gang as to Victor being a bully to the kids, especially Rudy and Lies. Schemes was unlike the rest of the boys and girl who stole for sustenance; Schemes, however, coming from the richer part of town, stole because he wanted to. After their first act of thievery with their new leader, Rudy and Lies expected a reward and a fair share of the stolen goods. Schemes had another a different idea in his mind, giving the pair an apple to split between themselves.
Rudy thought him ND Lies deserved more than half an apple because of the hard work they put into the day and protested against Schemer’s unfairness. Before either Rudy or Lies had any time to react, Schemes was on top of Rowdy’s small body with his hands around his neck. Franz Deutsche continues to abuse his authority and unjustly punishes Tommy and Rudy during the Hitler Youth meetings. During one of these meetings, Rudy was told to run laps around the field until he was able to remember the Fuehrer’s birthday. Having had to run seven laps total, Rudy was resentful toward Deutsche.
When they encountered each other out on the streets of Munich a few days later after the birthday incident, Rudy thought it was time to put an end to Franz Deutsche unfair punishments. Rudy threw a rock at him in order to get his attention, angering him in the process. After having exchanged a few words, their fight commenced. Despite eye, cracked ribs, and a haircut. ” Shortly after this occurrence, Rudy was able to Join a new troop, leaving Deutsche in the past. Before Rowdy’s tragic death, he follows Hans Haberdasher’s example and helps the Jewish prisoners marching to Dachas.
He takes bread and gives it to the starving Jewish people. Hoping that most of it will be eaten by someone who needs it more than he does before the Nazi soldiers notice, he leaves food on the ground for the prisoners to eat. This simple act of generosity could be extremely dangerous. Helping a person of Jewish descent was considered a felony in the eyes of the Nazi soldiers. Rudy Steiner first appeared in the novel as a little ten year old boy with “bony legs, sharp teeth, gangly blue eyes, and hair the color of a lemon,” obsessed with the American athlete Jesse Owens.
As time progresses, Rudy is forced to grow up, learn how to balance staying alive in an unstable environment, and challenge the injustices that are thrown his way. Despite his being so young, Rudy knows that he must take a step towards stopping the injustices that occur around him. Although most of his attempts caused him more trouble, in Rowdy’s perspective his attempts were intrinsic wins because even though he was beaten, threatened, and put in danger, he did what he deemed to be right. After all, “it’s better to fight for something than to stand for nothing. ”