Hubermann when his life was spared in France during World War I thanks to Erik Vandenburg’s, whose life wasn’t spared.
While World War I, Eric was in the army with him, the same group, and Eric is the reason Hans was able to stay behind when he suggested Hubermann to write a few dozen letters by coming up and saying his name along with “Immaculate handwriting, sir, immaculate” (Zuzak, 178). The rest of them got into a dangerous job that killed Eric. Thus, Hans is guilty because Eric could have stayed behind instead, and his life could’ve been spared instead of his, so he feels like he indirectly killed him.
Hans is able to channel his guilt by trying to help and save …show more content…
You also see in the beginning of the novel, he helps Liesel learn how to read even though he’s not that great of a reader himself. He helps out a miserable Jew in the "parade" by giving him some stale bread. He does all this because “A Jew had once saved his life and he couldn’t forget that” (Zuzak, 180).
Max’s thought that “Living was living. The price was guilt and shame”
(Zuzak, 208) stems from how he’s had to continually live for a majority of his life. The only way he could live was to count on others which was shameful while simultaneously putting them in danger for protecting a Jew which made him feel guilty. The mix of guilt and shame weighing down on him made him continually say the phrases “Thank you” and “I’m sorry” which felt so pitiful and shameful to him. He wanted to rid himself of the guilt, “He wanted to walk out--Lord, how he wanted to (or at least he wanted to want to)” (Zuzak, 208).
The theme of guilt is made from not only Hans guilt, but Max’s as well.
Which is ironic since Max’s guilt of being in that safe house would never occur if the guilt of Hans didn’t exist. They both the show how detrimental guilt can be as they always feel it and need to do something to combat the unhappiness it brings