The Book Thief
The Book Thief
I found that “The Book Thief” portrayed perfectly one of the greatest casualties of war – the truth. Markus Zusak writes about a young girl – Liesel Meminger – who is initially illiterate, however she realizes the importance and power behind words and stories and she hungers for them. She steals books in an effort to understand and eventually, under the tutelage of Hans Hubermann – her papa – she is able to immerse herself in the new ideas and truths conveyed in these stories.
I believe Liesel Meminger being a book thief is very significant in this context.
During Nazi Germany, Hitler had terrorized and destroyed people and nations with his words, convincing others of his anti-Semitic and anti-communist perspectives, murdering millions of Jews as a result. Throughout the novel Liesel becomes increasingly aware of the effect the Fuhrer’s words had on the war and finally understands that it was in fact the driving force behind the war. In what I believe was an attempt to try and restore understanding of the truth, as Hitler destroyed with his words, Liesel was stealing them back.
In this novel, I believe that the effect of war was quite specific. War had the ability to suppress the truth by providing the people with only one side of the story, and because war is the conflict between peoples this oppression was accepted by those who believed in this side of the story whole heartedly, and forced upon those who were unable to understand any better or those too powerless to do anything if they believed in the contrary. However, Liesel Meminger was able to uncover the truth the war hid and realize the power words could have on a nation.
During Hitler’s dictatorship, propaganda was constantly being released speaking in favour of the Fuhrer’s ideals. The novel shows that these words and stories published in the newspapers were enough to convince a nation to follow Hitler, with few exceptions. For a while in the novel, we are told of Liesel complying with the rules that Hitler had set. “People lined the streets as the youth of Germany marched towards the town hall and the square. On quite a few occasions Liesel forgot about her mother and any other problem of which she currently held ownership. There was a swell in her chest as the people clapped them on.” I feel that in her ignorance, Liesel felt proud to be supporting the ideals of the Fuhrer. She followed the rules because she had been told that Hitler was right in trying to make Germany a ‘better’ nation; this was the only side of the story she had known.
It saddened me when I realized how vulnerable the people were. The children were especially susceptible to being convinced of the horrific ideals that Hitler and the Nazis had enforced upon the nation, as they had not known any other way. The adults would have been too afraid to teach them that what Hitler was doing was wrong, and in doing so they created another generation eager to follow the Fuhrer and his ideals. It only proved to me how malleable the human mind is. It astonishes me that Hitler was able to convince the entire nation proving that he possessed great skill in leadership and dialogue, it makes me wonder what would have happened if he decided to convince the people of a more benevolent cause.
World War II was a tragic event if not the worst case of evil discrimination and violence the world has experienced. However, like everything that happens in history I believe that we should be able to learn something from the war. Liesel discovered the truth that words are able to fuel a war, but perhaps they can be used to cause good as well. This shows me that perhaps we might not need to resort to violence and bloodshed to end the current conflicts; maybe we just need to find the right words. It seems to be too fanciful, but if words had the ability to start a war, it makes me wonder if they also have the power to end one.
The Jew her family was hiding in the basement told a different story to the one Liesel had grown up with. She uncovered the horrors of what was really happening in the country when she accidentally looked in one of the pages of the story Max was creating. On it was a picture of two Germans standing on a mountain of bodies, commenting: “Isn’t it a lovely day,” with the sun represented as the swastika in the corner of the page. Liesel was shocked to discover this other perspective. Perhaps she hadn’t realized the true horror of what was happening, but that day she uncovered the truth. Liesel was beginning to understand that perhaps Hitler’s way wasn’t the right way.
I recognized that it was through Max’s words that she was able to see thehorrors that the Jews were experiencing. Through Max’s story she had discovered the truth – just because the status quo is accepted by everybody doesn’t mean it is necessarily right, it depends on which ‘side’ you are on and the stories you are being told. Liesel realized that people had the ability to be incredibly cruel and brutal and in a way, I believe she lost her innocence. She was only beginning to truly comprehend the capacity people have for great destruction. She saw that people were able to stand on a mountain of corpses and still claim it to be a lovely day. “Holy Christ, you scared me Max.”
I find that the state of ignorance that Liesel was in during the first parts of the novel can be mirrored in present situations. Liesel wasn’t able to believe that the ideas of he Fuhrer were wrong because she was in an environment where everybody supported these ideals. I found parallels of these circumstances in an article that I had recently read, called “I am a North Korean Defector.” It spoke of a young woman who had escaped North Korea because she knew she had no future there. She spoke of how she believed their dictator – Kim Jung Il – to be a God. Although they are not in war as Liesel was, ‘The Book Thief’ helped me realize the power propaganda and stories can have on people. That this power of words wasn’t fictional, limited to the novel alone.
It made me reflect on the fact that this woman had only believed that Kim Jung Il was a God because this is what she had been told her entire life. The dictator’s stories and words had cloaked the truth of this brutality. The people of North Korea face injustices everyday – with a lack of health care, electricity shortages and anybody who spoke against the dictator had a right to fear for their lives. Despite knowing and experiencing all of this they still worshipped the man, all because of the stories they had been told. I believe we can learn something from Liesel’s experiences. We must strive to tell the people of North Korea the other side to their story. Before yet another war breaks put, I believe we must find a way to convince them that their dictator is not a God, and that not everything he says is right. For if he tells them to fight for him in a war, I believe they will obey their ‘God.’ Liesel taught me that words have the power to create a war, why shouldn’t they have the power to prevent another one?
Nearing the end of the novel, we are told that Liesel sits in the library of the mayor’s wife after breaking and entering. This was where she had stolen most of her books. In this library she reflects on everything that had happened as a result of the war: “She had seen her brother die with on eye open, one still in a dream. A young man hung by a rope made of Stalingrad snow. She had watched the bomber pilot lie in a metal case. She had seen a Jewish man who had twice given her the most beautiful pages of her life marched to the concentration camp.” In her sadness, anger and frustration she tore pages from the book she had taken off the shelf of the library. I believe that this shows the moment when Liesel finally saw the truth.
The words she had read in all the books, especially the ones Max wrote, told her of the horrors that was the war. She knew that she had the war to blame for all the sadness that she had to experience throughout. As she ripped the book apart, I believe this shows that she was wishing she never read the words that showed her this truth. I believe that maybe she would have preferred to stay ignorant, believing that these things happened for no reason, rather than a person who forced the world to follow his ideals or face the consequences, because a person shouldn’t be capable of doing these things.
In the end of the novel, we are told that Liesel Meminger writes her own story recording the various events she had experienced and the lessons she had learned. We also learn that she called this story “The Book Thief.” It was then that I realized that the novel that I had been reading, was in fact the story that Liesel had written, only it was told in Death’s perspective instead of Liesel’s. This further convinced me of the effect war had on a person. It made Liesel discover the truth behind the power words held, and once she fully understood what had happened, once she had gained full perspectives on both sides of the story, she was able to write her own side. Through reading Liesel’s story I was able to learn that truth was one of the greatest effects of war. The war showed Liesel the truth behind the power of words. She was able to learn that the Jews weren’t a parasite that they needed to get rid of, but that people only thought this way because that is what they were told.
Importance of Tolerance
In the society that I have been raised in, I have always been taught to be accepting of others and not pass judgment on their race, culture or religion. I was told to leave my prejudice at home. In other societies, has this been the case as well? Through the close analysis and reading of four texts, I believe that this wasn’t the case and that intolerance and prejudicial attitudes were common. The four texts that I have chosen that show this is To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
These texts have made the themes of intolerance and prejudice apparent and have also shown myself and other readers why it is important to have tolerance within a community, without prejudicial attitudes. In Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, Lee explores the importance of tolerance through the character of Miss Maudie.
Miss Maudie says, “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” The Mockingbird is like an innocent person, it doesn’t harm anyone. The author wants to show the reader that people who hurt or judge peaceful creatures show their lack of tolerance and compassion for humanity. The Mockingbird is an appropriate symbol for both Tom and Boo, they are both innocent, harmless creatures but have been subjected to false accusations from the community. Miss Maudie, like Atticus, believes that it is essential to accept people as they are. Judging people through prejudice eyes only marginalizes vulnerable individuals, creating a divided community. The close relationship between lack of tolerance and racism is shown by Tom’s trial.
Harper Lee has effectively communicated the intolerance throughout the novel, mainly through the people of Maycomb. They believe Tom is guilty, without giving him a second look. This is based on the setting of the book which was during the 1940’s and as in The Help, white citizens blamed everything on coloured people, and believed that no one who was coloured would be innocent of crimes. The lack of tolerance and racial division in the community is similar to The Help by Kathryn Stockett, where the importance of tolerance is shown through the character of Skeeter. Skeeter says “I am neither thrilled nor disappointed by the news that they might let a coloured man into Ole Miss, just surprised.” Skeeter is a white woman and most women of the time would be offended that a coloured man would even be considered entrance to university.
In contrast with To Kill A Mockingbird, Stockett is communicating that coloured people are innocent and there is nothing wrong with them, much to another character Hilly’s beliefs that they have “diseases.” The author wants readers to think deep into tolerance in this time and how many coloured people were discriminated on purely because they were different and how White supremacists thought coloured people would hurt or harm them, because they were different and like many did towards Tom and Boo in To Kill A Mockingbird, many did this towards the maids in The Help. These two texts relate as both Harper Lee and Kathryn Stockett have both established very intolerant divided communities, and this consequently makes the reader think more into their society.
Do we discriminate against races such as those from Asia because they have trouble speaking English? This text also intensifies the already questions within the readers minds about the people of that time and readers then compare the people in To Kill A Mockingbird and The Help to themselves. Are we fully tolerant of the differences in our bicultural environment? The lack of tolerance of individuals is established on not only a fictional level but also a historical level in The Book Thief. Through the narration of Death, we learn about tolerance and how one character, Hans Hubermann shows his tolerance of others. It is also through Death’s narration that we learn those who are intolerant of the Jewish race, such as the Nazi Party. What is very important to note is that Hans is German, and the Book Thief is set in the period of Nazism, and as history tells us, men such as Hans would despise Jews and believe all of Hitler’s anti-Semitism policies, and in general would be very intolerant of those who are not the “pure race.”
Death says “In 1933, 90 percent of German’s showed unflinching support for Adolf Hitler. That leaves ten percent that didn’t. Hans Hubermann belonged to that ten percent.” The reason Zusak has chosen to use these words is to establish Hans as a character- who he is and how he is tolerant. Hans immediately connects with Miss Maudie and Skeeter as all three are people who we would expect to be intolerant but all share the same value: that everyone is the same and should be treated equally. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne also communicates how important tolerance is within a community. This text centres on a woman who was convicted of adultery, and the text is set in Puritan times. This text is particularly important as it is not relevant to today’s society, as the three other texts are. The prejudice and intolerance towards a woman who committed adultery would be different in the 21st century. This is shown as the main character Hester Prynne was forced away from her loved ones when her sin came to light.
She was a member of “as befitted a people amongst whom religion and law were almost identical…that the mildest and the severest acts of public discipline were alike made venerable and awful”. The community of her time was very highly based upon religion which is yet again, much like racism and intolerance, is not as common in today’s society. The circumstances that take place with Hester in the novel are not applicable today. In today’s society, we have more of an open society in which one is given more support from their family, government and the community in general when placed in a position such as Hester’s. We realize that adultery is a common occurrence and, therefore, the authority does not place punishment upon adulteresses. This connects strongly with the three other texts as people are more accepting of others in today’s society- we accept coloured people. The United States president is a coloured man, so we also respect them. We look back at German history and feel remorse for the Jewish race, as we learn they did nothing.
They were simply scapegoats. I strongly believe that over the time that the novels are set in, society has changed its values on prejudicial attitudes and as a whole, society is far more tolerant than ever before. After reading my texts and thinking more laterally about them, I strongly believe that today’s society has changed in a big way. These four texts have shown readers how society used to be and although they are merely fiction, they communicate real ideas. In both To Kill A Mockingbird, we think of America in the 1950’s and the racial disparities and the prejudice and intolerance that people such as Boo, Tom and Aibileen would have faced.
Markus Zusak takes us straight back to Hitler’s autocratic fascist reign in The Book Thief and we learn even more about intolerance attitudes, but also learn about tolerant characters like Hans, and like Miss Maudie in To Kill A Mockingbird. In the final book, The Scarlet Letter, we see yet again how society has changed. We no longer discriminate against people because of their personal choices or who they are. Through these texts, readers have learnt this and apply it to their real life and are also thankful that we are tolerant. Thankful that we aren’t killing innocent people, hating on others because of their skin colour or because they simply made a mistake. I am personally glad that society has experienced this change because who knows of what consequences we as a societal whole would be facing today.
Human Goodness & Beauty
You ever wonder why people can be so harsh but yet still do good things for people? Do things they wouldn’t normally do that’s nice, but they did it anyways or are not suppose to do? The Book Thief is a book that describes lots of this and this paper will explain the main theme of the book. The Book Thief’s main theme is Human Goodness and Beauty because the book has lots of goodness in people, people looking out for one another, and bring each other joy through actions or words.
With people showing Human Goodness they do good deeds to help other people or animals. This can go from helping a dog stuck in a fence to a person in a car accident. Even a guy/girl that is a real pain all the time will help someone that is in danger because they don’t wanna be the witness of a death or something/someone being hurt.
Say for example that someone doesn’t have anything to do, and a person talks with that person finds something to give them to do they will usually grab it for them shown here, “the weekly edition of the Molching Express, she lifted it out took home, presenting it to Max,” (Zuzak 221). This shows the expression by someone getting someone something for another person that they don’t normally have and giving it to them. Most of the time they will be happy for you doing this.
In the world there is good/bad people but that doesn’t matter because they will still do something good for someone eventually no matter what it is. In the book Rosa Hubermann is a good example of this, “Rosa Hubermann, brown hair, in a bun, atrocious cooking, washes clothing for the rich, and hard headed but soft hearted women,” (Zusak 34). This quote shows that even though Rosa is a mean person, she is still nice to people at times. So Even a bad person will look out for a good person at times as well. For example they will save someone in a life or death situation because they are a nice person and don’t care if that person is mean, they are saving someones life and inturn thats what matters to them.
Also people can bring other people joy through actions or words by, saying something that is really nice, or helping someone out that might be in the need of it, but doesn’t ask. Even just doing a simple action that someone is not expecting can make them feel happy and overjoyed. “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). This action of Hans shows that certain small things can bring people joy and peace. His action showed that small things can bring people joy because the jew was never expecting this, but the jew took it joyfully and thanked him for the bread.
Not only does this show kindness but also shows that good people will sometimes not care what other people think and do what feels right. In conclusion, The Book Thief’s main theme is Human Goodness and Beauty because the book has lots of goodness in people, people looking out for one another, and bring each other joy through actions or words. Like lots of people have done and said it doesn’t madder if you’re nice or mean everybody will help someone, somewhere, and at sometime in life no matter how old or young you are. The body was created for many purposes and one of those purposes is helping another human being no matter the situation, or if its words or actions they are helping with.
Ateneo Entrance Exam Essay
“I am pretty unextraordinary.” – Hazel Grace Lancaster (The Fault in Our Stars by John Green) This little line from one of my preferred books helped me start my journey of self-discovery. Prior to, I actually did consider myself as someone really unextraordinary. To the world, I’m just an average woman that nobody will ever observe. Possibly I never ever will be observed in a remarkable way, however I’m figured out to make my mark. But very first things first, I needed to discover myself and specify who I actually am.
My first moment of self-discovery began, actually, when I initially established my love for books. And that minute happened way, way back when I was still a child. Absolutely nothing made me happier than going to National, Power Books or Totally Scheduled to go see what brand-new storybook, publication or book was available. To this day going book shopping, an activity many people my age would discover as agonizingly dull, is a chance to broaden my knowledge and vocabulary.
The only thing I require to improve on today is, admittedly, my book choices. My Daddy constantly reminds me to move onto more young person publications and cut back on the children’s books. Books are my first fantastic love. Through them, I can go on wonderful adventures that end up being almost real in my creativity.
I likewise associate with the characters in terms of their characters and the things they carry out in the story. From the lead character, antagonist and all the other characters in between, I can discover somebody or even something I can relate to in a book. My current favorite books are The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, where I have learned a terrific lots of deal of new words such as hamartia, toroidal, prototypical, conceited, bacchanalia therefore numerous other terms that were once too advanced for me to understand up until I looked them up in the dictionary. The Fault in Our Stars is a heartwarming and yet also heartbreaking romance of two young cancer-stricken teens who find their own little infinity together within their minimal number of days. I ‘d inform you more however I would not desire to ruin the whole novel. 2nd in my favorites list would have to be The Book Burglar by Markus Zusak. Here, I saw The second world war and the horrors of the Holocaust through a young woman like myself, who was not able to read and write till she was offered to a foster household in Germany.
Liesel Meminger then later befriends Max Vandenburg, a Jewish man who hides in her family’s basement to escape the Nazis. Again, I will not spoil this great work and you will have to read it yourself. This book really strikes me as something that can really make us all question our humanity. As almost all of us know, the Holocaust in World War II was the most horrifying genocide in the entire world. Millions of men, women and children all executed just because of their religion. If you ask me, Adolf Hitler must have been both insane and blind. Did he not know that in World War I, approximately 96,000 Jewish soldiers fought for Germany? It pains me to think that Hitler did not remember that. The Book Thief is most definitely one of those war novels that will have you questioning mankind’s humanity. As for a favorite book series, I would have to say that the How to Train Your Dragon series by British author Cressida Cowell. I admit, it’s a children’s books series but I really enjoy reading the books. The series is funny, compelling and the books have helped me fine tune my imagination.
In fact, this beloved series has been turned into two films and a TV show. But I’ll tell you all about it later. Indeed, through reading books of all kinds I have discovered things about myself I didn’t even know were there. I discovered that I have a talent for writing and storytelling. And I have grown to love these two hobbies, which I hope that I can turn into a job by becoming a writer or a journalist when I grow up. Aside from reading, I have also experienced being in academic contests in my school where I have begun to define myself as an intellectual. One of those contests is the Essay Writing Contest the school has every year. I never really win any prizes for my compositions but it’s always so much fun to compete. Through essay writing contests, my writing ability is steadily honed and constantly improved with every essay I write. So part of my journey of self-discovery has been accomplished through the means of books and writing. The other part is, honestly, what I’ve been recently obsessing about. “Everything we know about you guys…is wrong!” – Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III (How to Train Your Dragon Movie)
That line from an animated movie by DreamWorks Animation has always been embedded in my memory. The first part of this essay focused on my love for books and how reading and writing have helped me discover who I am in terms of what I can do in this world. This part will now focus on who I truly am as a person. How to Train Your Dragon is a 2010 animated film directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders under DreamWorks Animation. Its story revolves around a young Viking teenager named Hiccup (Yeah, I know. The name is pretty unusual.) who lives in the fictional dragon fighting island of Berk. In Berk, fighting dragons is as necessary as breathing air to live. However, Hiccup is the runt of the village and is physically unable to fight dragons and cannot live up to his father’s expectations. Incidentally, his father, Stoick the Vast, is the tribe chief. But when Hiccup creates an invention that shoots down an ultra rare dragon species known as the Night Fury and attempts to slay it, the young Viking then finds himself unable to do so.
This then leads to him freeing it and establishing a forbidden friendship with the dragon, whom he names Toothless. In Hiccup’s world, befriending a dragon is the highest act of treason. And yet in the end, Hiccup and Toothless’ amazingly strong bond enables them to change the relationship between the dragons and Vikings of Berk. Yes, it is an animated movie. But it is not strictly for kids only. I had a real moment of self-discovery and self-definition when I watched this at my best friend’s recommendation. And I was immediately awestruck by the movie on so many levels. The detail on the animation was superb, the lighting was perfect, the music score was just phenomenally beautiful. But what really touched my heart was the story.
I really relate to Hiccup. He is left-handed, physically not in the best of shape, intelligent and extremely different from the rest of his peers. I, myself, am also left-handed, physically weak, mentally strong and…different. I often look at my friends and other people and I can’t help but sometimes feel that I’m just too different. I don’t like all the things everyone else likes and sometimes I don’t even understand current trends and stick to the things I know. Like Hiccup, I am different. And also like Hiccup, I have embraced my difference. Thanks to this film (and its TV series and sequel) I have figured out who I am as a person. Everyone discovers a new trend and they all go along with it. Sometimes I do that but I’m more comfortable staying in my comfort zone. And when someone tries to change me, I steadfastly refuse to do so. I am an individual.
And I am proud of it.
I’m different from everyone else and that’s okay. Truth be told, we’re all different. We’re just scared to show the world our individualities. That’s why I try hard to stay true to myself and make sure nobody and nothing turns me into something I am not. But I also remind myself to keep an open mind and broaden my horizons. When I experience new things, it helps me discover more interesting characteristics that help define myself as a person. And that’s exactly what Hiccup does. He accepts his individuality and tries to do things nobody has ever tried before. Throughout the film, TV series and sequel, Hiccup stayed true to himself and didn’t allow anyone to change him. If you must know, I have recently watched How to Train Your Dragon 2 and had another great moment of realization. In the second film, Hiccup is now a young adult and is currently trying to find himself. This is exactly what I’m doing right now, even as I write this. I apologize if this essay may seem haphazardly constructed.
I must admit, my writing style does tend to confuse some people. But that’s essentially how I have defined myself as a person, through books, writing and dragons. And to tell you the truth, self-discovery and defining yourself as a person never stops. As the years go by, you will have more experiences, more moments that help you realize that there’s more to you than meets the eye. For me, I’m still pretty young so I still have a long way to go until I can complete my personal definition. In case some of you may not fully know me yet, allow me to tell you once again who I am. I am an individual with a love for writing, making stories, reading books, obsessed with dragons. And basically, I am different. And I am proud to be different.
The Fault In Our Stars Analysis
Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16-year-old teenager with thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs, attends a cancer patients’ support group at her mother’s behest. During a support meeting, Hazel meets a 17-year-old teenage boy named Augustus Waters, whose osteosarcoma caused him to lose his leg. Augustus is at the meeting to support his mutual friend, Isaac, who is losing his remaining eye to cancer. The two bond immediately after the meeting and Augustus invites Hazel to his house where the two strengthen their bond over a movie and their experiences with cancer.
Before departing, the two agree to read each other’s favorite novels. Augustus gives Hazel The Price of Dawn, and Hazel recommends An Imperial Affliction, a novel, written by Peter Van Houten, about a cancer-stricken girl named Anna that parallels Hazel’s own experience. After Augustus finishes reading her book, he is frustrated upon learning that the novel ends abruptly without a conclusion. Hazel explains the novel’s mysterious author had retreated following the novel’s publication and has not been heard from since.
A week later, Augustus reveals to Hazel that he has tracked down Van Houten’s assistant, Lidewij, and, through her, has managed to start an e-mail correspondence with Van Houten.
Hazel writes to Van Houten with questions regarding the novel’s ambiguous ending and the fate of the mother of Anna. Van Houten eventually replies, explaining that he can only answer Hazel’s questions in person. Hazel proposes the trip to her mother but is rejected due to financial and medical constraints. Later, at a Dutch-themed picnic, Augustus surprises Hazel with tickets to Amsterdam, attained through a charitable foundation. She is thrilled, but when he touches her face she feels hesitant for some reason. Later, she looks up Augustus’s ex-girlfriend, Caroline Mathers, who died of brain cancer. On Caroline’s memorial page, a comment by Caroline’s friend causes Hazel to compare herself to a grenade: Hazel loves Augustus and fears hurting him when she dies. As she struggles with her love for Augustus and her death, Hazel suffers an episode of pleural effusion and is sent to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) prompting her parents and her doctors to question the safety of overseas travel. The medical team argues against the trip until Dr. Maria, one of the physicians most familiar with her case, convinces Hazel’s parents that Hazel must travel because she needs to live her life. When Hazel and Gus first get to Amsterdam, they go to a restaurant and find that Van Houten paid for their meal and champagne. Augustus then confesses his love for Hazel that night.
Hazel and Augustus finally meet Van Houten but are shocked to find that, instead of a prolific genius, he is a mean-spirited drunk. Horrified by Van Houten’s behavior, Lidewij confesses to having arranged the meeting on his behalf, angering Van Houten, who proceeds to insult Hazel’s cancer and refuses to answer any of her questions. The two leave the author in anger and disappointment. Accompanied by Lidewij, Hazel and Augustus visit the Anne Frank House. Hazel struggles to climb the many stairs and ladders leading up to the attic due to her lungs but by the end of the tour, Augustus and Hazel share a romantic kiss, followed by an applause from the other tourists in the attic. The next day, Augustus confesses that a recent PET scan revealed his cancer to have relapsed. Resolute, the two affirm their love and support for each other. Upon their return to Indianapolis, Augustus’ health significantly worsens. Augustus ends up in the ICU for a few days.
In his final days, Augustus invites Isaac and Hazel to his pre-funeral, where they give eulogies. Hazel quotes Van Houten about “larger and smaller infinities,” reaffirms her love for him, and states that she would not trade their short time together for anything in the world. Augustus dies eight days later. At the funeral, Hazel is astonished to find Van Houten in attendance. He explains that he and Augustus maintained correspondence since Amsterdam and that Augustus had demanded he make up for ruining their trip by attending his funeral. In an attempt for forgiveness, Van Houten tries to reveal the fate of Anna’s mother. Hazel, still upset with his behavior, asks him to leave. A few days later, while talking with Isaac, Hazel learns that Augustus may have been writing a sequel to An Imperial Affliction for her. As Hazel searches for the pages, she again encounters Van Houten.
He confides in Hazel that his novel was a literary attempt to reconcile with the death of his daughter, Anna, who died from cancer when she was eight. Hazel tells Van Houten to sober up and write another book. Eventually Hazel learns that Augustus sent the pages to Van Houten because he wanted Van Houten to use the pages to compose a well-written eulogy about Hazel. Lidewij forces Van Houten to read the pages and sends them to Hazel. Hazel reads Augustus’s words. He says getting hurt in this world is inevitable, but we do get to choose who we allow to hurt us, and that he is happy with his choice. He hopes she likes her choice too. Hazel states she does.
The Fault in Our Stars has received critical acclaim from critics. Critics mostly praised the book for its humor, strong characters, language, themes and new perspective on cancer and romance. The New York Times?’? review of the book called it “a blend of melancholy, sweet, philosophical and funny” and said that it “stays the course of tragic realism”, while noting that the book’s unpleasant plot details “do nothing to diminish the romance; in Green’s hands, they only make it more moving.” NPR’s Rachel Syme noted that “[Green’s] voice is so compulsively readable that it defies categorization,” saying that the “elegantly plotted” book “may be his best.”  Time called The Fault in Our Stars “damn near genius.” Entertainment Weekly wrote, “[Augustus and Hazel’s] love story is as real as it is doomed, and the gut-busting laughs that come early in the novel make the luminous final pages all the more heartbreaking”, and gave the novel an overall A? grade. Amazon.com calls it “insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw” and Green’s “most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet.” The Manila Bulletin says that the book is “a collection of maudlin scenes and trite observations about the fragility of life and the wisdom of dying.
And while it does talk about those things and more, the treatment of it is far from being maudlin or trite.” The Manila Bulletin also added that “Just two paragraphs into the work, and he immediately wallops the readers with such an insightful observation delivered in such an unsentimental way that its hard not to shake your head in admiration.” The Manila Bulletin stated that The Fault in Our Stars was a triumph for John Green. USA Today called it a “elegiac comedy.” They gave the book a rating of four out of four stars.The School Library Journal stated that it was “a strong choice for Adult Collections.” The Fault in Our Stars received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews, who described it as “a smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance.” Several well-known authors have contributed their own positive reviews for the book. Jodi Picoult, author of My Sister’s Keeper, calls The Fault in Our Stars “an electric portrait of young people who learn to live life with one foot in the grave.” She goes on to say that the novel is “filled with staccato bursts of humor and tragedy.”
Bestselling author of The Book Thief, Markus Zusak, describes it as “a novel of life and death and the people caught in between” and “John Green at his best”. Pertaining to Green’s writing throughout the book, E. Lockhart, author of The Boyfriend List, says “He makes me laugh and gasp at the beauty of a sentence or the twist of a tale. He is one of the best writers alive and I am seething with envy of his talent.” Time named The Fault in Our Stars as the #1 fiction book of 2012. Kirkus Reviews listed it among the top 100 children’s books of 2012. It also made USA Today?’?s list of the top 10 books of 2012. In 2013, the Edmonton Journal named the book one of their “favourite books of the year.” One notable unfavorable opinion appeared in the Daily Mail.
In the piece, the plot of The Fault in Our Stars was described as ?mawkish at best, exploitative at worst? and the book was characterized as belonging to the ?sick-lit? young adult genre, together with other young-adult novels such as Never Eighteen and Before I Die. This entire genre, as well as the genre of young-adult novels dealing with suicide and self-harm (the piece mentions Thirteen Reasons Why; By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead; The Lovely Bones; and Red Tears) was criticized as being ?distasteful? and inappropriate for their target audience of teens. The Guardian criticized the piece, pointing out in particular that The Fault in Our Stars was chosen by The Guardian as that month’s ?teen book club choice? because ?it’s a gripping read, featuring two compelling characters, that deals sensitively and even humorously with a difficult situation without descending into mawkishness.? In general, The Guardian faulted The Daily Mail for suggesting that the issues of illness, depression, and sexuality are inappropriate precisely ?in the one place where difficult subjects have traditionally been most sensitively explored for teens: fiction written specifically for them.? For his part, in an interview for The Guardian, John Green said, ?The thing that bothered me about The Daily Mail piece was that it was a bit condescending to teenagers. I’m tired of adults telling teenagers that they aren’t smart, that they can’t read critically, that they aren’t thoughtful, and I feel like that article made those arguments.?
Hazel Grace Lancaster – The novel’s narrator and 16-year-old protagonist. An astute and remarkably conscientious girl, Hazel was diagnosed at age thirteen with a terminal form of thyroid cancer that has since spread to her lungs. She keeps most people at a distance, knowing her death will ultimately hurt them, until she falls in love with Augustus. Augustus “Gus” Waters – The sixteen-year-old with osteosarcoma who becomes Hazel’s boyfriend. Augustus has a keen wit and a tendency toward performance—he revels in grand romantic gestures. Augustus almost immediately falls in love with Hazel after meeting her at Support Group Isaac – The mutual friend of Hazel’s and Augustus’s who facilitates their introduction at Support Group. Isaac is cynical by nature. Blinded by cancer and kicked to the curb by his girlfriend Monica, Isaac often embodies skepticism and rage. It is worth noting that he shares his name with Biblical Isaac, who also was blind. Mrs. Lancaster – Hazel’s mother. She is an emotionally strong and kind woman who has made it her life to care for Hazel. During the novel Hazel obsesses over the emotional devastation that her death will cause to her mother. In the end Hazel is overjoyed to learn that her mother has secretly been taking classes to become a social worker.
Mr. Lancaster – Hazel’s father. He is caring and prone to tears. In contrast with Hazel’s mother, he only understands Hazel’s cancer broadly and spends much of his time at work. Peter Van Houten – The infamous author of An Imperial Affliction. Hazel and Augustus learn he is a verbose and brash drunkard who pretentiously deflects emotion with walls of intellectualism and cruelty Patrick – The leader and sole adult at Support Group. He is noted for his warmth and unequivocal optimism. As a consequence of cancer Patrick lost both of his testicles, which provides some of the more cynical group members with a bit of comic relief Augustus’s parents – The few glimpses that we get of Augustus’s parents in the novel are of kind and understanding people.
They do not hesitate to vegetarianize Hazel’s meal. Near the end of the novel, it means a lot to Hazel when Augustus’s father whispers in her ear about how great it is that she has been involved in his son’s life Dr. Maria – Hazel’s primary cancer doctor. She is a strong, assertive, yet empathetic physician. At one point Hazel remarks that Dr. Maria is very into giving out hugs. She convinces Hazel’s parents that Hazel should be allowed to travel to Amsterdam, despite their reservations. Kaitlyn – Hazel’s friend and former schoolmate. She is pretty, popular, and exemplifies what Hazel might have been like if she hadn’t been diagnosed with cancer and left school. Though they are still friends, there is a palpable distance between the two girls, who occupy such divergent worlds.
We shouldn’t view death as a terrible thing; when death is being forced upon us before it should, we have two choices. Wait for it to happen, or experience life as it happens and make the best of what you’ve got.
Sometimes it’s not about the destination, it’s the experience.
Accepting that life isn’t fair
The Book Thief: Theme
Theft is a central theme for the novel The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, because of the time in which it is set. War is a power struggle, and a battle for dominance over people and territory. Hitler was stronger than the German people, and convinced them through his powerful words to treat those who did not meet his idea of perfection as inferior. Liesel’s somewhat trivial theft acts in juxtaposition with the larger theft of innocence and purity that Hitler causes.
Hitler stole the lives of the German people throughout the war, and also the lives of all those who did not fit the Aryan stereotype. This theft helped to demonstrate that he was in control of their lives, and that he was invincible. Liesel is only a small girl, the picture of naivete. As the story begins we see that Liesel will unfortunately not be able to keep her purity for long. Death introduces us to Liesel; “there was one mother and her daughter.
One Corpse,” (Zusak, 4). The reader is first brought to the picture of the mother and daughter which seems peaceful and appropriate.
It is then contrasted with the corpse. The word “corpse” is harsh and helps to show that the picture first painted is not innocent, it is contaminated by death. Liesel’s personal purity is stolen, when death steals her brother’s life. There is a atmosphere of stolen possessions throughout the novel, be it people or objects, helping to achieve the atmosphere of war. This was a time when children stole for entertainment and the government stole for domination. As Liesel learns the power of words, she recognizes what the Fuhrer is doing. Her stealing is what leads her to realize the power which the Fuhrer holds. Hitler was a powerful leader because he was able to manipulate the minds of his people. Max helps to illustrate the influential power which the Fuhrer had in his story The Word Shaker.
He writes, “the Fuhrer decided that he would rule the world with words,” (Zusak, 445). Through the knowledge which Hitler had, he was able to steal the minds of his people and mislead them. Liesel is exposed to using this power as she reads to the families in the bomb shelter. They are all captivated and calmed by the words which she utters and even the sound of the bombs is placed in the backs of minds as they listen to a small girl tell a simple story. The same words which gave Hitler power to take over Germany and steal the lives of people, Liesel uses to calm and distract the people. This would not have been possible except for the fact that she stole the books.
Through her stealing of the books, she is able to escape parts of what Hitler is stealing from her family. Theft helps to show not only the strain put on those who did not fit the perfect race, but also the pressure which was part of being the perfect race. This idea is made most clear when Liesel exclaims that she “[hates] the Fuhrer,” (Zusak, 115) for that is when Hans, who belongs to “the 10 percent who didn’t” show “unflinching support for Adolf Hitler,” (Zusak, 63) “slapped [her] squarely on the face . . .and. . . [contemplated] one of the most dangerous dilemmas a german citizen could face,” (Zusak, 116).
Even though he too hates Hitler, one must never make that hatred public, for Hitler has the ability to steal a German citizen’s life. Theft is a huge part of the novel, The Book Thief, in more than just helping to define what it is. The amount of theft in this book was at points overwhelming as the reader holds his breath again and again as Liesel puts herself in harms way for one item or another. The stealing throughout the book helps to show how this attitude seeped even into even the most innocent of the people. Everyone was a victim and everyone was a perpetrator.
The Book Theif – Power of words
A symbol is an object that represents, stands for, or suggests an idea, belief, action or material identity. Symbols take the form of words, sounds, gestures or visual images and are used to convey ideas and beliefs. In The Book Thief by Markus Zusak he has used powerful symbolism to show how words and literature are used to symbolise destruction, and that they can be as powerful as a weapon. This is a very important and prominent idea that Zusak conveys to the readers because it is a universal occurrence, particularly during World War Two and Hitlers rise to power through his convincing use of words.
Zusak has used the innocence of the protagonist, nine year old Liesel Miemenger to show how she is discovering the destruction words can cause; to destroy cultures, people and whole societies. Words can be used to symbolise destruction of a culture which is exhibited at the book burning. In The Book Thief, Hitler and the Nazi’s goal is to eradicate Jews and if they destroy their culture they can erase Jews.
For the Nazi’s, all Jewish books, stories and poems represent the Jews themselves and by burning the books it symbolises the destruction of the Jewish culture.
Zusak has intentionally used descriptive and forceful language, as well as short simple sentences to convey this idea to the reader, “The orange flames waved at the crowd as paper and print dissolved inside them. Burning words were torn from their sentences. ” Zusak has used an extended metaphor in this quote: the flames of the book burning represent Hitler and the Nazi party while the paper and print being engulfed by the flame is the the Jews and their culture.
Once the burning has ended Liesel walks past the ashes, noticing that three books have survived the burning, and she quickly sneaks one under her jacket, “When the heap was reduced near the bottom a small section of living material escaped from the ash. ” Zusak has used this as an example to give us hope and that there will always be someone to pick up the survivors and give them shelter. This symbolises that no matter how hard a religious, political or supremacy group try to eradicate another culture, their literature will always survive and is worth fighting for.
Secondly, Zusak uses words as a symbol for destruction of a person through Liesel’s relationship with Ilsa Herman. An example of when words are used for destruction of a person is Liesel’s tirade against Ilsa when she cancels the laundry service of Rosa Hubermann. Liesel is infuriated by her giving The Whistler as a ‘pity gift’ so she turns around to berate Ilsa, “Blood leaked from her nose and licked at her lips. Her eyes had blackened. Cuts had opened up and a series of wounds were rising to the surface of her skin.
All from words. From Liesels’s words. ” This is possibly Liesel’s cruellest moment in the novel and Zusak has created imagery of Ilsa getting bloodied and battered from her verbal abuse. What Zusak is really telling us is that something as insubstantial as words can have real life effects: good or bad, depending how they are used. Teenagers grow up today with access to more and more technology, quickly adapting to new ways of communicating and often use the internet and mobiles as the main way to reach friends.
This access to technology also means that bullying can happen outside school wherever and however, using harmful words that they may not have the courage to say face to face. The real life impacts that words have, can be seen in our world today; one in five New Zealand teenagers report being cyberbullied which can have a huge impact on their life. Zusak has shown how words can be used as a symbol for destruction of a person, which is an idea that is and will be existent for all ages of people.
Lastly the use of words as a symbol for the destruction of a society is shown through Hitler’s suppression of the Jewish race, which has an impact on the whole of Germany and later, the World. This can be seen when a parade of Jews is walked through Molching and eventually comes through Himmel Street. Hans walks through the parade of Jews to an elderly man on the ground and reaches out to give him a piece of bread, the German onlookers watching in awe.
A soldier starts to whip Jew and the Hans, Death comments on the Jew glancing back at Hans, “If nothing else, the old man would die like a human. Or at least with the thought that he was a human. Me? I’m not so sure thats a good thing. ” Zusak has used the wise narration of Death the bring awareness and raise the issue of how Hitler has destroyed a society, and teaching them to hate another race is not a natural instinct of humans.
As the late Nelson Mandela said, “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. ” Hitler has used words to symbolise destroying a society by telling them to go against their instincts and to hate Jews, when really love comes easier to the human heart.
This is the underlying message Zusak is exhibiting through his use of symbolism. Through the use of effective symbolism, Zusak has showed how words and literature have the potential to destroy a culture, a person and a society as an entity. Zusak shows us through the book burning that culture and literature are worth fighting for, Liesel’s tirade against Ilsa symbolises that something as insubstantial as words can have real life consequences and Hans’ instinctual kindness shows that humans are born to love each other.
Stranger than fiction
In the film ‘Stranger than fiction’ by Mark Fortster, the director portrays the issue of time and how it has affected the protagonist who is Harold Crick. Harold Crick is an IRS agent who lives a ‘life of solitude’ and monotony. Harold Crick lives a calculated life timed to perfection by his wrist watch. This lasted for 12 years until one regular Wednesday when he hears the voice of Karen Eiffel narrating his life.
The issue of time pays such a vital role in stranger than fiction and is shown right at the start of the film but is most notably noticed when his wrist watch shuts down and leads to his ‘imminent death’.
During the opening scene of the film we are introduced to Harold Crick who is described as a man of ‘infinite numbers’ and ‘endless calculations’ but also shows the importance of time. The director uses an extreme wide shot of earth zooming onto Harold’s wrist watch to portray the idea of the issue of time.
The opening scene sets the scene throughout the movie.
The significance of the extreme wide shot zooming onto Harold’s wrist watch is that it acts as Harold’s companion and is seen as his way to make the most out of his time. This shows how the issue of time is affecting Harold’s life even though he doesn’t know it his mundane lifestyle is only breached when the announces in a 3rd person omniscience view that his ‘seeming innocuous decision would lead to his imminent death’ when he starts to live his life to the fullest before in time he dies. The wrist watch is a very important motif throughout the movie.
The wrist watch is given a persona and quote ‘his wristwatch thought it made his neck look fat but said nothing’. The wristwatch could be seen as Harold’s self-conscious but also portrays the issue of time throughout the movie. This is evident from the start of the film that it is important because of the extreme wide shot zooming onto the watch which suggests this. The watch is portrayed as the issue of time for Harold which he has relied on for 12 years but ironically cause his death. Throughout the film the director uses a narrator to portray Harold Crick’s life in a 3rd person omniscience view.
This is important because it gives us an understanding of Harold’s life but also helps Harold leave his mundane lifestyle and live his life by playing guitar and dating Ana Pascal. The narrator, Karen Eiffel is known for killing her main characters so the issue of time. Because of this Harold has to try find Karen Eiffel and try to stop her from killing him. This issue of time helps Harold try new stuff and helps him have a better social life by staying with Dave and dating Ana which helps him find a new man hidden inside of him. The narrator sparks a revival in his life which he does not time every second but lives his life.
During the movie ‘Stranger than Fiction’ by Mark Forster the use of extreme wide shots, motifs and a narrator helps to portray the idea of the issue of time. At the end of the movie Karen Eiffel says to Professor Jules Hilbert “A man that knows he is going to die and dies willingly, isn’t that the kind of man you want to live” shows that the issue of time didn’t shape the man, the man shaped the issue of time. The Book Thief During the novel ‘The Book Thief ‘by Markus Zusak, the Author portrays the power of words through a 10 year old girl.
This girl is Leisel Meiminger a girl living in Nazi Germany who has a love of words. Leisel saw a lot as a 10 year old. She saw her brother die right I front of her, her mother abandoned her and she fell in love with words and learnt the power of words. That year she also met her foster parents Hans and Rosa Huberman. For Leisel her next 4 years are the most important of her life where she reads 14 books, her family hides a Jew and Molching, Germany gets bombed. Leisel as she gets older use words for good and bad. During her first months on Himmel Street her papa taught her how to read and write.
These midnight lessons helped her to understand words. The words that she first fell in love with were the words of the fuhrer. This is shown during Leisel’s dream on the train quote “She was listening contentedly to the torrent of words that as spilling from his mouth. His sentences glowed in the light”. This dream shows how positively she views the fuhrer and shows how he had miss used words by using propaganda and now Leisel was in favor of Hitler. As Leisel matures she learns how Hitler had misused the power of words and she announces ‘’ I hate Hitler’’ this quote shows how her opinion has changed.
During the bombings in 1943 Leisel learns how words can be used to calm others down. Whilst in the bomb shelter she reads her books which consequently calms everyone down which make them forget they are getting bombed. Even though she uses words for good she also uses them for bad. Her mama 2, Rosa Huberman to makes ends meet she does the washing and ironing for the rich people living in Molching. Whilst delivering and picking up washing she falls in love with the mayor’s wife’s library here she reads. This is not a relationship based on speaking it is a relationship based on words.
On the day there last washing and ironing client fired them (The mayor) Leisel fires a torrent of words at the mayor’s wife “It’s about time… that you do your own stinking washing anyway. It’s about time you faced the fact that your son is dead. He got killed” These words shows that even good people can misuse the power of words. Even though she did use them poorly she helped Ilsa Hermann sort her life out and get over the death of her son. The ideas of the power of words portrayed by Markus Zusak is still important today because they can still hurt people or heal people. Today people use words to gain power over people.
Some are for good like the pope or your school principle but some are for bad like Mussolini or Hitler. Words are as powerful now as they were then but people now have more words and more ways of distributing there evil ways with words but in society there are still people like Leisel doing good with words. In the Novel ‘’The Book Thief’’ the author Markus Zusak portrays the idea of the power of words through a 10 year old girl living Nazi Germany named Leisel Meiminger. Leisel learns that words can be used for good and evil. She says “I have loved words and I have hated them but I hope I have made them right”
Character Analysis Essay In The Book Thief
Haley Squiers Goodman Period 1 May 14, 2013 Character Analysis Essay In The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, the author uses characterization to show how Liesel has a deeper understanding of people without realizing it and maintaining her innocence. For a young girl to live in hard times as these were in WWII Germany, Liesel seems to understand the big picture even from her quaint setting in Munich. Liesel feels very close to a Jew her parents are helping keep hidden from Nazi eye.
His name is Max, and when he falls ill, Liesel is there to put hope in this dark situation. But when you wake up, I’ll tell you about it. I’ll tell you it was the grayest afternoon you can imagine” (Zusak 320). When Max sleeps in sickness Liesel gives him updates on weather and brings him presents. She always gave Max a clear picture of the outside world because he couldn’t get one. She knows even in a comatose state that he would appreciate the gesture.
This shows her innocence because there is no way she can do anything for this man who is believe to dying but hold hope.
Children seem to give the best hope, because they are unaware that hope has the capability of crushing someone. In the book Delirium by Lauren Oliver, The main character’s cousin was not given this luxury of hope although she does remind of Liesel because of so many terrible things to have witnessed at such a young age. “Often I wish this would all be over Liesel, but then you do something like walk down the basement steps with a snowman in your hands” (Zusak 313).
Liesel is giving Max another weather report even in his sickness; when he was awake, Liesel gave similar reports. This holds onto her innocence because of the snowman, and what kid didn’t dream about making snowmen whenever snow covered the ground. But Max lets her know the grimness behind this is his quote. He lets her know often he does wish things were all over but Liesel makes sure that even in hard times he has some happiness. This eminds me of the song Blood by The Middle East, I think that the song interpret how Max feels very well with being so hopeless and not in control of things and how sad he is because of this. And Liesel is able to see this in Max and she feels the same way only about different things. Liesel is a diverse character that brings understanding and innocence together even though she is young. The characterization that Zusak uses throughout the novel to showcase these traits is ever present. Liesel is a character everyone learns to identify with and love.
Analysis "Thief" by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak illustrates a wide array of details from around World War 2. Zusak shows off his intellectual abilities by portraying severe that are somewhat graphic in nature. The setting in which he sets this novel is a very hard time in world history. Nazi Germany was a horrendous place to be during the time, but when Jews were involved things got worse. This bestselling novel is an accurate depiction of the hardships, and the daily life of many facing this time.
The story line follows a young girl as she deals with rough times, that isn’t just the war going on around her. When her family takes a toll, her world flips and she turns to books, but books are hard to find so she turns to other means of acquiring them. Later, she gets a surprise that she couldn’t even expect.
The beginning of the novel starts out with the death of Liesel’s brother.
Her brother passes on a train bound towards Munich, Germany. The narrator states, this is the first time he saw the book thief. The book thief got her name from when she stole a gravedigger’s book that was partially covered in the snow when she got off the train. When she arrives at her new foster home, she begins to learn how to read from her foster dad, Hans. This is where her fascination with books really took hold. She began learning to read with the book she had stolen from the gravedigger. This was where her book thievery really started, later she began stealing from Nazi book burnings and even the mayors’ wife’s personal library. Her first accounts of thievery were random, but as it continued she started stealing books that fit her more. This shows just how far people in this time were willing to go for something they wanted.
Zusak portrays the hardships of just a few people in this novel, but they weren’t the only people facing this type of cruelty. Liesel is an orphan; her father was never around, and her mother handed her over to her foster parents. When her brother died she really had no family left. Her new foster parents, Hans and Rosa Herbermann, weren’t much but they were what she had. Hans wasn’t much for talking but he could play the accordion well. Rosa does the laundry for the more well-off people in town. This is how Liesel gained access to the mayor’s library. Liesel finds a new friend in a neighborhood boy named Rudy. Rudy had a yellow shade of blond hair and was very fond of Jesse Owens. A main point of this novel is when a Jew, Max, shows up at their doorstep. Max is the son of one of Han’s friends from World War 1, when he passed Hans promised his widowed wife that he would help her in any way. He let Max stay in the basement. This is an extremely dangerous decision that could have tremendous consequences on the whole family. Liesel later forms a bond with Max and they begin to become good friends.
Max wrote her a book about his early life and his travels to the Herbermann’s house. He wrote it over the pages of Mein Kampf which she could see through the words. When one learns that death is the narrator, it really is a marvel. The way Zusak conjured up death narrating the novel really shows his talents and just how much of a genius he is with words. Death is shown as lonely and that he follows people, even children. He has time to contemplate the human nature and conjure ideas about why they do what they do. This is a very accurate depiction of the very nature of the setting of this novel. Kids weren’t far from death and never knew what was going to happen next, along with adults in the same way. The way Zusak shows in words the day to day life of people in this time is a writing feat that only someone with Zusak’s talent and understanding could accomplish. The descriptions of the parades done by German soldiers and the beatings that took place to ordinary German citizens just trying to help really sheds light on how death followed everyone, not just the Jews.
The writing styles Zusak uses keeps the book from becoming depressing and boring. The descriptions he portrays utilizes the brain and vividly paints a picture in the mind. He explained that he was a Jew in upbringing, in blood, but also that Jewry was now more than ever a label, a ruinous piece of the dumbest luck around. (pg. 216) This quote from the novel shows how the Jews felt about the situation they faced. The way the quote strikes the mind and paints a vivid picture of the feeling that he had has he said this line. This is just one of the many ways Zusak used his amazing skills to really capture the full experience of the time. He took a last sad glance at the man who was kneeling now himself, whose back was burning with four lines of fire, whose knees were aching on the road. If nothing else, the old would like to die a human. Or at least the thought that he was human. (pg.395) This is a very rich look into the mind of the Jews being prosecuted, they were beginning to wonder if they were even human. Zusak out did himself when he wrote this, being able to read into the mind of the Jews and what they were feeling is a tremendous act of writing that he really captured spot on.