Maria hates herself because the Russians raped her. When she finds out she is pregnant, she is devastated. Do you think she died by accident trying to get rid of the baby, or did she kill herself?
Join Date: 10/11/10
Join Date: 04/10/11
Because of something she said earlier to Christine I think she was trying to cause a miscarriage, but she was willing to risk death. She felt so worthless, as though there was no hope for her to have a normal happy future. I believe that if she had been able to tell her mother about it, Mutti might have been able to help her.
Join Date: 06/13/11
Join Date: 04/14/11
I think I have to agree with the above answer----she was so distraught that she killed herself. Nothing that Christine did seemed to help and Maria just felt worse and worse. I was a little surprised that this happened because Maria always seemed so strong; I thought she would overcome her "guilt" feelings.
Join Date: 12/07/12
I thought she was willing to risk death to terminate the pregnancy. I don't think it was suicide because falling down the stairs just doesn't seem like a fool proof way to die. The rape which caused the pregnancy was then and is still such a part of war. One side tries to harm the other side by "ruining" the women. I found it so sad that Maria was so distraught and felt so worthless when she was not responsible for what happened to her. How is it possible for society to blame the women for the actions of the men and reject the women?
Join Date: 01/21/13
Join Date: 05/22/12
I think, as others have pointed out, that Maria's misery was so unbearable that death was a desirable end for her attempt at 'losing' her pregnancy--and that she 'gave in' to this by throwing herself down the stairs with a will to die.
Join Date: 10/20/10
Both. She knew if she used a home remedy type of abortion process the chances it would kill her were good. The psychological trauma of being raped by a Nazi and the shame it would place on her family was too much for her to process.
Join Date: 04/14/11
I might change my thoughts on this. She may have thrown herself down the stairs to cause a miscarriage, but it caused her to die instead. She did not plan on that. As I said, she always seemed like a stronger person in the beginning of the book...more character.
Join Date: 09/01/11
Maria was sad beyond our comprehension. She had been brutualized in the worst possible ways and just felt unworthy of life. When she realized she was pregnant it was more that her spirit could bear. I think when she fell she just didn't care what the outcome was.
Join Date: 06/14/11
I think the author purposely left this unknown so we can develop our own sympathies toward Maria. A fall down the stairs doesn't always kill. Maria was to the point of despair where to live or die made little difference as long as she didn't have to bear the shame of the rape and its consequences. This even was nicely placed in the book as another example of the absolute horror of war and the various ways people react to despair.
Join Date: 04/14/11
Join Date: 01/22/11
jacquelynh, I like your idea of the author leaving it open ended so each reader can make their own decision on this. I felt like Maria had totally lost the will to live and her spirit was so damaged that she felt like when she killed herself, she was also erasing the life of the baby.
Join Date: 01/05/12
I feel that the rape and pregnancy was too much for Maria to overcome and she killed herself; we must also remember that during that time, the 1940’s, a woman was considered “damaged goods” if she was not a virgin and even rape was not an excuse. We are now in 2013 and still in the Middle East they put women in jail when they are raped; the assumption is that they (the women) did something to cause being raped.
Join Date: 12/17/12
I agree that Maria didn't care if she killed herself or if she caused a miscarriage. Falls don't usually cause a miscarriage, but Maria probably didn't know that, or was desperate enough to try it anyway.
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