The Book Thief

Death As Portrayed in The Book Thief By Markus Zusak

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

The death of Werner, Liesel’s brother, further cements Death’s belief that pain is an unavoidable part of living. Liesel’s younger brother dies as a result of frigid temperatures on the train journey to their new foster parents’ home in Molching, Germany. Every night, the pain of her brother’s death causes Liesel to “wake up swimming in her bed, screaming, and drowning in the flood of sheets” from a nightmare about her brother’s death. Swimming while drowning symbolizes life — a painful struggle that ultimately ends with death. Liesel’s dream further demonstrates this innateness of human suffering because Werner’s death haunts only the living Liesel. Werner does not share the agony because he is not living, and therefore, not required to experience suffering. Liesel’s mother also carries the pain of Werner with her. Immediately after Werner’s burial, “…Liesel’s mother carried the memory of him, slung on her shoulder. She dropped him. She saw his feet and legs and body slap the platform…She picked him up and continued walking…”. Death’s poignant description of a painful memory indicates that the living carry burdens of horrible memories that they sometimes forget but always remember eventually. Contrary to humanity’s perceived distaste for pain, Liesel’s mother actually wants to remember, despite any suffering that comes from remembrance. She immediately remembers after she forgets because she loved her son and feels a duty to honor him. Her continued walking demonstrates that Liesel’s mother will carry the burden and anguish of Werner’s death forever. As one can clearly see, the death of Werner shows the ever-present nature of pain in human lives.

Death also demonstrates how living comes with omnipresent pain through the example of Max. Rosa and Hans Hubermann, Liesel’s foster parents, secretly hide a young Jew, Max, in their basement. In order to survive, Max had to leave his entire family and has no idea where they are or if they are alive. When Max expresses to Leisel the pain of losing his family, Death bluntly states Max’s condition: “Living was living. The price was guilt and shame”. The use of the world “price” and short sentences indicate the brutal simplicity of Death’s truth. Life has a cost, and pain and guilt are the price. Death’s straightforwardness also implies that Death does not believe that life is worth the agony of guilt and shame. Humans assume that the pain of life is better than the mystery of death; however, the ever constant nature of suffering resides only in the living.

Another character that possesses great, innate grief because of the death of a loved one is Frau Ilsa Hermann. Frau Hermann’s son, Johnann, died during World War One “parceled up in barbed wire like a giant crown of thorns”. In the use of the crown of thorns, Zusak makes Johann a type of Christ, a martyr who takes away pain. However, in a perverse reversal, Johnann becomes a martyr who brings pain, especially to his mother. This ironic reversal demonstrates Death’s rejection that life in innately happy. Death further states, “I untangled Johann and carried him out”. Death untangles this suffering man from the pain of not only his physical ailments, but also the pain associated with life. Frau Ilsa Hermann, however, cannot unravel herself from the pain of life like Death disentangled Johnann. In fact, the death of Johann eternally haunts Ilsa. In order to perversely pay for the death of Johann, Ilsa purposely leaves the window of her library open every day to the cold air to induce self-suffering. This vicious attempt to bring outside pain to veil her original suffering clearly demonstrates that the whole of humanity must cope with anguish every day. Obviously, though the pain of living leaves through death, those that death affects but does not kill feel even more agony. Frau Hermann also becomes a symbol for the way that constant pain can affect the living. Liesel, when she first sees Ilsa Hermann, says that Ilsa was “a woman with startled eyes, hair like fluff, and the posture of defeat”. Those who experience horrible suffering and lack strength to endure it are scared, feeble, and broken. Liesel later describes Ilsa as “transparent…but there”. This imagery creates a woman almost deathly in nature. This skeleton-like woman creates a skewed notion of death and life. Those, like Ilsa, who let pain rule them lose life’s vitality and become death-like. Paradoxically, the constant agony of life makes one like a corpse. As one can clearly see, through leftover humans, the death and loss of family, and the deathlike nature of Ilsa Hermann, the symbol of death demonstrates that pain is a universal and omnipresent element of living.

Life, Not Death, Causes Pain

In addition to the fact that pain is an innate part of living, Death also reveals a further truth. Contrary to common sense, which creates death as bad and life as good, life, not death, is responsible for human suffering. One of the most poignant episodes to illustrate the kindliness of death and the cruelty of humans occurs during a “Jew parade,” a march of Jews through a town to a concentration camp. Death describes those marching in the parade: “…The Jews came down like a catalog of colors….They would greet me like their last true friend, with bones like smoke and their souls trailing behind”. The idea of a catalog of colors for death gives a sort of mournful individuality to the dying Jews, as if they are important to Death. To the Nazi’s, however, these Jews are worth nothing. The Jews greet Death like a true friend, which shows Death’s ultimate kindness toward each of the newly deceased. The bones of smoke represent the last of the Jews’ life that death has almost extinguished and the Johnson 5 ephemerality of life. The souls trailing behind indicate that the Jews have accepted the great possibility of death and exist now in a state between life and death. To further prove that life causes pain, Death uses images of life to show the Jews’ withering states. He says, “The dirt was molded to them…. Stars of David were plastered to their shirts and misery was attached to them as if assigned. ‘Don’t forget your misery…’ In some cases it grew on them like a vine”. Dirt and vines, both signs of life, actually choke out the living, which suggests that death does not destroy these people; the living do. The dirt decays the Jews. Furthermore, the Stars of David, once symbols of pride, now symbolize vines of shame that entangle, and suffocate the Jews. Obviously, life causes the pain and suffering, not death.

To further demonstrate that pain comes through life, Death describes an incident during the Jew parade. As the Jews walk, one man falls. Liesel believes he is dead. Suddenly Hans Hubermann, Liesel’s foster-father, runs to him, “holds his hand out and presents a piece of bread, like magic”. The juxtaposition of a simple piece of bread to the extravagance of magic indicates how cruelly life has treated this man. The Jew’s gratitude, however, is short-lived. Nazi soldiers whip the Jew six times; Hans, four times. Death assesses this situation: “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 if that’s such a good thing”. Clearly, people like the Nazis are what Death loathes most about humans. When Death demonstrates his mixed-feelings about humanity, one can see from an external standpoint how cruel life — especially human life — can be. Furthermore, during another parade of Jews, Death again expounds that life causes suffering. After Max leaves the Hubermann’s house out of fear that the Nazis will find him and punish not only himself but also the Hubermann’s, Liesel sees him during a Jew Parade. She runs into the crowd of Jews to find him despite the soldiers’ attempts to keep her away. In a heartbreaking moment during their brief and chaotic meeting Max looks at Liesel and thinks to himself: “A great day to die. A great day to die, like this”.

When Max’s painful burdens lessen because he sees Liesel again, Max feels that it is his time to die because his suffering is gone. Max has suffered much in his life, and he obviously believes that one more small glimpse of happiness will be enough to make his life complete. He now feels ready to die. Undoubtedly, the life Max leads is full of human-caused pain and he feels his escape from pain will be death. Furthermore, although Death admires Max and Liesel’s love and gratitude for each other, Death is not as enamored with other humans because they make life painful. Death describes the bystanders who watch Max and Liesel’s exchange as “statues with beating hearts. Perhaps bystanders in the latter stages of a marathon”. Death’s utter tone of distaste for these humans who only watch others suffer proves that Death’s esteem for Liesel and her friends and family are the exception, not the rule. Like these average people who do not help those in need, no one watching a marathon actually helps the exhausted marathon runners. Death’s distaste for most humans stems from the fact that these people are alive and can do something in their life, but they choose to do nothing. These “statues with beating hearts” are not living according to Death because humans seem to not take advantage of their living. People often do nothing for others despite the hardships of life. Because they do nothing, life becomes hard and painful.

Another way the living cause the pain while Death eliminates the pain occurs when Michael Holtzapfel commits suicide. Michael returns from Stalingrad after injuring his arm and witnessing the death of his brother, Robert. According to Death, Robert’s “…legs were blown off at the shins and he died with his brother watching in a cold, stench-filled hospital”. The fact that the legs were blown off rather than another body part indicates a lack of movement and journey. Just as Robert cannot walk and eventually dies, Michael never can move past the fact that he lived while Robert did not and eventually kills himself from the guilt of living. Michael suffers because he is lives. The suffering from living, however, is only half the reason for Michael Holtzapfel’s suicide. The other reason Michael wants an escape from life’s agony occurs during an air raid soon after he returns to Molching. Still mourning the loss of Robert, Frau Holtzapfel, Michael and Robert’s mother, refuses to move from her house to the bomb shelter after she hears the air raid sirens. Michael hesitates to move to the bomb shelter because he does not want to leave his mother, but eventually departs from his home to seek shelter. Ashamed of abandoning his mother, Michael whispers to himself over and over again “‘I should have stayed…’”. This repetition indicates that he not only should have stayed with his mother, but that he also feels he should have died with Robert. Death states, “Michael’s voice was close to noiseless, but his eyes were louder than ever. They beat furiously in their sockets”. The reversal of different sensory organs indicates the chaos of Michael’s mind. He wants to switch places with his dead brother and his broken mother in order to take their pain, just as the eyes took the place of the mouth; however, this reversal is a perversion of the body. Michael asks Rosa Hubermann his dire question: “‘Tell me, Rosa, how my mother can sit there ready to die while I still want to live?’…‘Why do I want to live? I shouldn’t want to, but I do’”. This dire questioning demonstrates Michael’s true suffering and pain. He does not hurt because he wants to die. He hurts because he wants to live. The irony of this statement shows the true nature of life’s suffering. Pain comes in the most unexpected ways for the most horrible and ironic reasons. Even though his mother survived the air raid, Michael’s want to live, rather than the want to die, drives him to his grave. Death describes the suicide. “He was hanging from one of the rafters in a laundry….Another human pendulum….Michael Holtzapfel jumped from the chair as if it were a cliff”. The comparison from a body swinging from the rafters to a human pendulum demonstrates the pain of living. Oftentimes, life swings from pain to happiness. This constant switching of emotions for Michael from happiness that he lived to guilt that he survived ultimately drove Michael to suicide. The simile of a chair to a cliff shows the finality of his situation, his feeling that nothing can be done to save him, and, surprisingly, his courage for jumping from what seemed to him a cliff. Life and the want to live were the true reasons Michael killed himself. As one can clearly see from the Jew parades and Michael Holtzapfel’s suicide, life, not death, causes suffering.

As much as Death explores the pain of living as being completely terrible, Death ultimately admires the strength that comes from human suffering. During a particularly Johnson 7 harsh winter, Max, who lives in the basement, becomes deathly ill. Death, when he comes to take Max’s life, feels “an immense struggle against his weight” as Max attempts to fight Death. Recalling that instance, Death says, “I withdrew, and with so much work ahead of me, it was nice to be fought off in that dark little room. I even managed a short, closed-eyed pause of serenity before I made my way out”. Max has to suffer not only through this illness, but also throughout his entire life and this pain gives him strength to live and endure more pain. Though ironic that Death enjoys allowing Max to live, Death obviously admires humanity’s strength. Clearly, Max demonstrates that strength comes through suffering.

Moreover, through Liesel’s ultimate rejection of pain, Zusak proves that pain’s purpose is to provide people power. When Liesel visits Isla, Liesel often has visions of Werner. The pain that comes from the deaths of Werner and Johann bind the two booklovers together and thus open a more sensitive awareness of Werner for Liesel. After several months of reading in Frau Hermann’s library, Ilsa suddenly cancels the washing service that Rosa Hubermann, Liesel’s foster mother, provides for the mayor each week. Furious at Frau Hermann, Liesel screams, “It’s about time you faced the fact that your son is dead….He’s dead and it’s pathetic that you sit here shivering in your own house to suffer for it. You think you’re the only one?”. Painfully, Liesel thrusts her frustration, suffering, and grief about her dead brother onto Ilsa. Finally becoming tenacious through her suffering, Liesel realizes that one can grow from pain and that Ilsa Hermann is wrong to make herself suffer. Suddenly, Liesel has a vision that Werner is beside her: “Her brother was next to her. He whispered for her to stop screaming, but he…was dead, and not worth listening to….She shoved the boy down the steps, making him fall”. This vivid vision of her dead brother demonstrates how vicious and alive grief becomes, but also how powerful Liesel is. She is able to push away her agony like she pushes the vision of Werner down the steps of Ilsa’s home. Liesel’s rejection of Werner, suggests that she has become stronger than Ilsa, who always embraces her pain. Werner could rule Liesel’s world as Johann rules Frau Hermann, but Liesel refuses to let her pain, however innate and constant, dominate her life. Liesel realizes that she has experienced this pain in order to make her strong. Now that the suffering has fulfilled its purpose, she can move forward with her life. Even though Liesel undoubtedly still feels the pain, it has no control over her anymore. Clearly suffering makes one stronger. To contrast to Liesel’s new-found power, Ilsa becomes a foil to Liesel that shows the effects of pain on someone who does not desire strength to endure. Still angry at Ilsa for cancelling the laundry service and ruining their friendship, Liesel throws Frau Hermann’s parting gift, a book called The Whistler, at the door of Ilsa’s mansion. In response to the bitter gesture, “after a miscarriaged pause, the mayor’s wife edged forward and picked up the book. She was battered and beaten up….Blood leaked from her nose and licked at her lips. Her eyes had blackened”. Miscarriaged connotes a death before life, a mistake or a mishap that leads to pain, suffering, and death. Liesel and Frau Hermann share much in common because both of their loved ones die prematurely and the women constantly suffer for it. Liesel can defeat Ilsa because Liesel has grown strong from her suffering, and she can finally see Ilsa for who she truly is — a broken woman who lets pain rule her life. Obviously, Liesel proves that pain, if one can rise above it and not give it control, can ultimately make on stronger.

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The Book Thief Analysis

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

The book I chose to read over the summer was “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. I chose this book after reading “Resistance Lit: Meg Waite Clayton on Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief”, an article on LitHub. I had originally watched the movie when it was released in 2013, so when I came across this article on Lithub I thought to myself, what a better time than now to actually read the book and broaden my understanding on the story “The Book Thief.” I thought this story was interesting because I got a different perspective than most books, I got the perspective of Death. As I finished up the book there was one line that really struck me, “I am haunted by humans.”

“I am haunted by humans”, five words from Death himself that wrapped up the story completely. I thought the placement of this line, as the last line of the story was placed perfectly. Throughout the entire story death is mentioned on every page, whether it’s the actual death of someone or just the word death itself. Since this story takes place during the holocaust we know that there were many lives taken, taken by Death. Death during this times sees the best and worst of people. He sees the inhumane things that people can do to each other,he sees the random acts of kindness and love, but the thing that haunts him the most is the heartache that people endure after the loss of a loved one. At the beginning of the book, Death expresses that it’s easier to be dead than to be alive and deal with the loss of a loved one.This lines supports the concept that Death in a way almost feels guilty for his actions and the actions of humans. I genuinely don’t feel as though death liked taking the lives of people, it was just more apart of the “job”.

This quote resonates with me in two very different ways. My first initial reaction was realization. It made me think of all my decisions, both positive and negative, but there was a bit more of a spotlight on my negative ones. Was I being haunted by my own decisions? I think in a way we are all haunted by our own decisions. We live in a very black and white world, but decisions are neither black or white, they are grey. There is no way to say that one decision is better than the other because that opinion lies in the eye of the beholder. On a lighter note, my second reaction to this quote is a bit more humorous than the first. I watch a lot of Ghost Adventure, and when I say a lot, I mean A LOT. Us humans always fear ghost and death and feel as though they are both out to get us, that they are haunting us, but we have never put ourselves in Death’s shoes. What if Death feels as though we are out to get them , that we are haunting them.

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Main Ideas Of The Book Thief Novel

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

Setting

  • The Book Thief takes place in Nazi Germany from 1939-1943. The bulk of the story takes place in Molching, a suburb of Munich. The main characters live on Himmel Street.
  • Himmel Street is very tight knit. The children and the adults all seem to know each other.
  • The whole country is draped on Nazi propaganda. Prisoners from the concentration camp are marched through. One store won’t aserve customers unless they “Hile Hitler.”

Characters

  • Liesel – Liesel is the main protagonist. She has been placed into a foster home on Himmel Street. Much of the begininning of the novel deals with her transition. Her brother was to be placed with her, but he died on the train to Munich. She is very fiesty and free spirited. She’s not afraid to break the rules. Her best friend is Rudy Steiner.
  • Hans – Hans is Liesel’s foster father. He is a painter and an acordian player by trade. He is very tall. He fought in WWI. He has two adult children. He does not support Hitler or the actions of the Nazi Party. He is calm and collected and rarely gets angry.
  • Rosa – Rosa is Liesel’s foster mother and Hans’s wife. She is a homemaker and washwoman. She often complains of people who cancel their washing service. She is fiery and bossy. She uses a great deal of profanity.
  • Max – Max is the son of a Jewish man that Hans served with in WWI. He is forced to leave his family on Kristalnacht. He travels in disguise and is hidden by the Hubermanns. He is angry and guilt ridden for leaving his family. He suffers from nightmares and he and Liesel share theirs when they cannot sleep. He eventually leaves when Hans gives bread to an old Jew.
  • Rudy – Rudy is Liesel’s best friend. He lives on Hummel Street and attends the same school. He is obsessed with running, Jesse Owens, and Liesel. He has six brothers and sisters. He is very motivated.
  • Ilsa – Ilsa is the wife of the mayor of Molching. She was initially a customer of Rosa’s. She saw Liesel steal the book from the burn pile and allows her into her private library to read. She eventually cancels her washing and this damages her relationship with Liesel. Ilsa is very quiet and rarely leaves her house. She has been traumatized by the death of her child.

Summary

Liesel Meminger is traveling by train to a suburb of Munich to be placed into a foster family with her brother. Her brother dies suddenly and she and her mother stop to bury the body. While stopped, she finds a book in the graveyard entitled, “The Gravediggers Handbook.” She takes this book with her to Munich. Upon arriving with her new foster family, she initally refuses to enter the house. Her foster father is Hans Hubermann, a painter and acordian player. Her foster mother is Rosa Hubermann, a homemaker and washwoman. They are older and already have two grown children. She does finally enter the house, but continues to suffer from nightmares. Hans would come and sit with her and read to her until she calmed down. She enrolls in a Catholic school, however she is very behind and placed with much younger children. She is very unhappy about this. She continues to read with Hans and slowly she begins to learn more. Eventually she is moved to her correct year. She plays with neighborhood children. They play soccer in the streets. On Hitler’s birthday in 1940, Liesel steals her second book from a burn pile. This act is witnessed by Ilsa Hermann. She begins to allow Liesel into her private library. Hans is contacted by the son of a Jewish man that he served with in the war asking for shelter. Hans agrees and Max begins to live in their basement. Liesel and Max begin to form a friendship over their respective traumas. He eventually writes a book for Liesel called the Standover Man. He has to leave when Hans gives bread to an old Jew. This action also led to Hans being drafted into the army. He serves for some time and is eventually sent back to Munich when he breaks his leg in a crash. Soon after, Liesel sees Max being marched to a concentration camp. She speaks to him ad they are both whipped for it. She then attempts to give up books. Ilsa gives her a blank book and tells her to write her story. She was doing this in her basement during an air raid which kills everyone she loves. She goes to live with Ilsa and the mayor and frequently helps in Rudy’s father’s store. Eventually, Max returns and they are reunited.

Themes

  • Bravery – Bravery is in nearly every character of the story. Liesel for stealing books, Max for escaping, Hans for standing up to Hitler, and even Ilsa for letting go of her sadness.
  • Perseverance – The characters of this novel were preserverant in many ways. Liesel continued to steal books even though she new the risks. Hans hid Max, even though he knew the risks.
  • Language – Throughout the story, Liesel learns the power and importance of words. She arrived on Hummel Street illiterate and grew to be a skilled reader. This leads her to understand that Hitler’s propoganda are the source of his power and that he is the reason her mother and father are dead.
  • Theft – Theft is one of the overbearing themes, which makes sense, given that the book is called, The Book Thief. Theft is a form of rebellion for Liesel. It is a way for her to stand up to Hitler and the gestapo. It is also a way to get back at Ilsa for firing Rosa.

Style

  • Voice – The novel is told through a conscious narrator. The narrator is death, a metaphysical being that observes everything that occurs in the novel. He provides his own commentary and thoughts about events. He “does not like suprisises” and that is reflected in the way that he tells the story somewhat out of order at times.
  • Symbols
  • The accordion – Hans’s accordion is a symbol of hope and rebirth. It initially provides this to Liesel upon her arrival to Himmel Street. We learn later that it was given to Hans by the man who saved his life.
  • Colors – Colors are a big part of the novel due to Death’s facination with them. He suggests by focusing on the color of the sky when a person dies that there is a connection between the death of an individual and nature.

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Zusak’s Death Breaks the Mould

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

In The Book Thief, Zusak expounds upon the concept of death as a passive force and not a vengeful creature. Zusak presents the character Death in a manner that is more effectively conceived than the traditional rendition of Death’s personae. This unconventional characterization is validated by the realization that dying is a natural occurrence whereby Zusak’s Death does not hunt, but merely collects souls whose times have run out.

Zusak first touches upon the topic of human demise when Death states in the beginning of The Book Thief “A small fact: You are going to die” (3). Almost immediately upon opening the book, the reader sees that Death is the narrator, and they are surrounded with an aura of distress. However, the character of Death quickly proves not to be as cruel and heartless as his scythe-wielding counterpart. Death states that he is “not malicious. I am not violent. I am a result.” (6). Zusak’s Death does not methodically or whimsically reap the souls of the miscellaneous peoples he happens to come across. Rather, he approaches the souls when the time is appropriate and unavoidable, and leaves behind the souls’ survivors with an apologetic air. When presented in this benign, passive manner, and not as a hunter or malefactor, the character Death effectively mimics the actuality of dying.

The character Death also does not choose the time, place, or manner in which a person dies. Instead, he is merely a means of collection and transportation for the souls. There are multiple instances in The Book Thief when Death questions the way a person’s life has ended.

One example of this is when Death refers to the passing of a young German boy named Rudy. On page 241, Death makes a side note in the text, saying “A Small Announcement About Rudy Steiner: He didn’t deserve to die the way he did.” This selection brings multiple subjects into question, one of which is the matter of emotions. By saying that Rudy died unjustly, Death implies that he believes Rudy deserved better, which, in turn, leads the reader to conclude that Death cared about the fate of this little boy. There are also numerous references to Death questioning the cruelties bestowed upon the vast amounts of Jewish souls he carries in his arms, and there are a few times he questions the point of the reckless killings that make him terribly busy. Also, it appears that people died whom Death would have preferred to have live. He asks, “Did they deserve any better, these people? How many had actively persecuted others, high on the scent of Hitler’s gaze, repeating his sentences, his paragraphs, his opus? Was Rosa Hubermann responsible? The hider of a Jew? Or Hans? Did they all deserve to die? The children?” (375). Death’s questions express the uncertainty he faces while performing his job, as well as his innocence concerning the actual deaths of the people whose souls he collects. He questions the necessity of the blameless’ demise with a hint of sorrow. This disquiet proves that Death is neither malicious nor violent, just as he claims earlier in the book. The traditional rendition of death personified involves malicious intent and cruelty. In keeping with unconventional characterization, however, Zusak’s Death shies away from the gore and pain he is commonly associated with.

In conclusion, Zusak’s representation of Death is more effectively perceivable due to Death’s empathetic appearance as a bystander and not a destructive hunter, out to destroy mankind. Portraying Death as an emotive creature who is riddled with regrets opens the doorway for readers to explore the notion of Death standing in the contradictory position of a “humane monster”. By making Death appear more human in nature, Zusak allows his readers to feel as if they can relate to Death and his emotions – a skill which not only brings a clearer image of Zusak’s rendition of Death to mind, but allows readers to form attachments to a creature so often viewed as cruel.

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Main Events In The Book Thief Novel

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief is a story about family. Liesel Meminger loses her first family, her brother dying and her parents giving her away. Her second family is the Hubermanns, Hans and Rosa. Partway through the story, Max Vandenburg also joins the family. Throughout the story, Liesel trusts her family more and more, and learns to read with Hans. She writes books with Max, and even understands Rosa a bit more.

In the first chapter, Liesel steals her first book, The Grave-Digger’s Handbook. She doesn’t know how to read it at first, but eventually opens up to Hans and they read it together. Together they read, play accordion, and roll cigarettes for Hans to smoke. And even when Liesel goes to school, she still reads at night with Hans. When Hans gets tired of re-reading The Grave-Digger’s Handbook, he trades some of the cigarettes that he and Liesel rolled for more books to read. Hans is the one who picks Liesel up from her mandatory Hitler Youth programs, walking home with her in the silence that he knows she needs. Hans is always there for Liesel, as a father and a friend.

Max Vandenburg is the Jewish man who lives in the basement. When Liesel first meets him, she says that his hair looks like feathers. Repeating her words as he works, Max takes pages from Mein Kamphf and paints them over with white paint before creating his own story to give to Liesel. He writes The Standover Man, talking about how his father was the first one who watched him as he slept and now it was a girl. On the last few pages, he writes about how Liesel said his hair looked like feathers, and how he hopes that they can be friends. He presents the book to Liesel for a birthday present, and begins a friendship.

Even Rosa Hubermann, who at first seems mean, becomes like family to Liesel. When Max falls ill, Liesel wants to sit and watch him as he sleeps to know when he will wake up. Rosa reminds Liesel that staying home from school would draw suspicion, and Liesel reluctantly goes to school after Rosa promises to get her when Max wakes up. When Max does wake up, Rosa honors her promise to Liesel and pulls her out of school by pretending to yell at her so that it wouldn’t be suspicious. At the end of the book, Death says about Rosa “Make no mistake, the woman had a heart. She had a bigger heart than people would think. There was a lot in it, stored up, high in miles of hidden shelving… She was a Jew feeder without a question in the world on a man’s first night in Molching. And she was an arm reacher, deep into a mattress, to deliver a sketchbook to a teenage girl.” (Zusak 532)

At the end of the book, a bomb is dropped on Himmel Street and the Hubermanns along with many of Liesel’s friends are killed. Liesel survives, along with Max, and now must face being without her family. This book tells the story of a girl who found her true family, before having them ripped away from her. Even Death, the narrator of the story, seems to regret that he is taking Hans and Rosa away from Liesel.

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Analysis Of The Book Thief Novel

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

In Section II, Liesel moves in with Hans and Rosa Hubermann, who are her foster parents. Rosa is abrasive and abusive, but Hans acts as a true father to her (the only one she’s known). When she has nightmares in the middle of the night, he comes in and comforts her, eventually teaching her to read the gravedigger’s book. She also meets her best friend, Rudy, and begins attending school. She has difficulty reading, initially, as she has never learned before, but Hans, though a poor reader himself, teaches her. She also steals her first and second books — the first book being the gravedigger’s book, and the second being the book she steals from the flames at the Hitler Youth bonfire.

On page 58, the Jesse Owens Incident — when Rudy Steiner covers himself in black charcoal and performs the 100 meter dash — is described in detail. When his father catches him and asks him what he is doing, he explains matter-of-factly that he is being Jesse Owens. This reminded me of an incident from my little sister’s childhood. One day, she was out in the yard playing, and she said to my stepmom, “I’m a dog. I pee in the grass.” Sure enough, that is exactly what she was doing. The aspects of real life that children choose to imitate in their make-believe are often zany: Rudy didn’t feel that it was enough for him to simply run 100 meters to be Jesse Owens; he also had to be black. My sister couldn’t simply crawl on all fours or bark to be a dog; she also had to mark her territory.

What is the incident relating to the accordion that prevents Hans Hubermann from joining the Nazi party? Death mentions that a man related to the accordion will come later, bringing with him many stories. Was the man who taught Hans to play the accordion Jewish? Does Hans feel that he owes something to the Jews?

“‘No, Rudy.’ Mr. Steiner was steering the bike with one hand and Rudy with the other. He was having trouble steering the conversation” (page 60). I have thoroughly enjoyed Zusak’s writing style overall in the first and second parts of the novel, with his unique diction and wide range of personification (which compliments the personification of Death as a narrator quite nicely). However, my favorite literary device usage of his thus far has been his use of zeugmas, as illustrated in the quote above. Additionally, this incompleteness in Mr. Steiner’s control over his circumstances, especially those pertaining to his son, seems to foreshadow an inability to control Rudy in the future, as well as drawing attention fact that Mr. Steiner is an orderly man, but he cannot order everything.

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“The book thief” book review

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

It was a snowy night when Liesel Meminger (the book thief) and her brother Werner which is six years old, were travelling with their mother by train to the town Munich. This town is where Liesel and her brother will be given over into the foster care system. While on the train ride, Liesel has a dream about adolf hitler. He is speaking at a rally, and smiles at Liesel. She greets him in broken german, but before he can respond she awakens from her dream. As their mother is asleep, Werner dies, and Death takes his spirit away. The trains stops, and they exit the train. Two guards from the train argue over what they should do with Werner’s dead body. Two days later his body is buried by gravediggers. Liesel digs at her brothers grave, but is carried away by her mother. And before Liesel gets back onto the train, leading to her new home in the foster care, she steals a black book from the cemetery grounds.

In Munich, Liesel is given to the foster care authorities. She is driven to Himmel street, which is heaven in german. This city is where her foster parents live. Her foster parents’ names are Rosa Huberman and Hans Hubermann. The women is described as squat with a short temper. Her husband, Hans, is a tall quiet man who rolls his own cigarettes. Liesel refuses to get out of the car when she first gets to the house, but Hans eventually persuades her to leave. While liesel refuses to leave the car, a crowd gathers at the other side of the street. They stand and watch the scene before Rosa curses them out and tells them to mind their own business. Liesel has only brought with her only a small suitcase containing clothes, and the book she stole from the cemetery grounds: The Grave Diggers Handbook. Death says Liesel will steal many books, and will be made two by a hidden Jew. When Liesel arrives at her new home, she is very malnourished. Her birth father was a communist- but she doesn’t really understand what that entails.

Liesel feels as though her mother has abandoned her, but she understands that she is being saved from poverty and that her mother only did this to help her. In the book, Rosa is described as loving Liesel, while a the same time being very harsh towards her. She is constantly shouting swear words at Liesel, and she even called her a pig one time for not taking a bath. Hans treats Liesel a lot kinder though. He is a house painter and accordian player.

He teaches Liesel how to roll a cigarette. As time goes on Liesel begins to not call her foster parents by their names, but instead she refers to them as Mama and Papa. For the first couple of months living with her new parents, Liesel has nightmares about her brother all the time- almost every night. Her nightmares would cause her to wet the bed.

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Similar Ideas In Stephen Daldry’s Film Billy Elliot and Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

An individual’s transition into new phases of life or social contexts offers an opportunity to grasp renewed perceptions, dictated by experiences that may be confronting for themselves and their formative milieu. Such transitions occur beyond the individual’s comfort zone, where they must overcome both personal and societal boundaries in order to flourish and follow non-conformist aspirations. Stephen Daldry’s Film ‘Billy Elliot’ exemplifies to a profound extent, the hardship one must overcome when challenging archaic paradigms and perspectives in order to transition into new phases of life or social contexts. Correspondingly, Markus Zusak’s Novel The Book Thief highlights the confronting nature of transitioning into new phases of life or social contexts through the protagonist’s experiences. This transition will not be the destination but rather the beginning of a new journey that will reshape the protagonists drastically.

Archaic gender stereotypes act as constraints on opportunities for growth and development. Stephen Daldry’s film Billy Elliot is set in the tightknit community of Durham, England, which embodies traditional gender stereotypes that boys are predestined to do masculine, manly activities and girls should be feminine and petite. The Mise-en-scene of the boxing hall is suggestive of the expectation for boys in the tight-knit community to do something physical and manly. The boxing hall is positioned next to the ballet class which creates a sharp contrast of a ‘male, section and a ‘female’ section. This notion of gender expectations is additionally apparent within billy’s family. Jackie states “boys do football or boxing or wrestling. Not friggen ballet!” A scene emphasising Jackie’s parochialism and highlighting the family constraints imposed on billy. Billy now has the opportunity to conform or to reject societal boundaries that are blocking his path to eventual success. Therefore gender expectations do act as barriers, constraining individual’s transitions into new phases of life or social contexts.

Personal and societal boundaries do not become absent once individuals transition into new phases of life or social contexts. Markus Zusaks novel The Book Thief exemplifies this notion through the protagonist, Liesel, who is faced with an inevitable transition into a new social context at the very beginning of the novel. Liesel is abandoned by her mother and inescapably plunges into the unknown by transitioning to her new foster home in Nazi Germany. Perhaps Liesel’s most significant personal boundary is her inability to read or write evidently seen by deaths contradictive and ironic statement “she was the book thief without words”. Hitler characterises Liesel’s new milieu, and imposes significant societal boundaries on Liesel and her ability to gain the power of words. Liesel overcomes this limitation by rejecting social paradigms and Hitler’s rein by stealing the unburnt book from the fire in Town Square, a pivotal moment of rejection in the novel highlighting Liesel’s fearless non-conformist nature. Zusak investigates this notion of rejection during Liesel’s and Han’s walk home “The Book started to burn her. It seemed to be igniting” conveying the physical effects of language. Hans and Liesel’s confluence of rejection, allows her to keep the book, once again proving their non-conformist rejection of cultural identity and Hitler’s rein. Furthermore, the last line of Liesel’s book uses a contradictive tone, to state “I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right”. The line conveys Liesel’s realisation of the manipulative power of words and positions the audience to see her language development. Therefore personal and societal boundaries remain existent and continue to impose obstacles once individual transitions into a new phase of life or social context.

Personal qualities can act as the driving force to experience profound transitions into new phases of life or social contexts towards an unlikely success. This notion is explored throughout Stephen Daldry’s film Billy Elliot through the protagonist billy, and his journey of transitioning into a new phase of life. Billy’s courageous non-conformist nature encompasses his willingness to reject the traditional views and stereotypes of Durham in order to achieve self-expression. This courageous personal quality is highlighted in billy’s short truncated statement “I don’t want a childhood. I want to be a ballet dancer “, emphasising billy’s decision to challenge societal boundaries. Societal boundaries block and interfere with billy’s opportunity for self-expression therefore creating a frustrating challenge for billy to overcome. Billy conveys frustration through dance evident during the soundtrack ‘I danced myself right out the womb’, which suggests billy was predestined to dance and ‘children of a revolution’ foreshadowing billy’s courageous choice to rebel against archaic gender stereotypes. Furthermore, billy display’s unstoppable determination in the humorous scene where billy attempts to master the pirouette in the bathroom. His achievement is symbolic of eventual success foreshadowing later success in the audition and climax of the film. Personal traits are significant factors within transitions and billy’s qualities ultimately drive him towards unlikely, yet eventual success.

Individuals must either conform or reject their milieus paradigms in order to experience transitions into new phases of life or social contexts. Markus Zusaks Novel The Book Thief explores this key decision through the protagonist’s choice to either obey or rebel against Hitler’s hegemonic beliefs and religious persecution of Jews. Hitler’s hegemonic beliefs, values, practices and attitudes display religious prejudice towards Jews by sending Nazi’s to hunt them down for persecution. Death’s contextual comment, “when a Jew shows up at your place of residence in the early hours of the morning, in the very birthplace of Nazism, you’re likely to experience extreme levels of discomfort” exaggerates the dehumanized environment in which Jews existed. Rosa and Hans reject Hitler’s rein by allowing Max Vandenburg, a Jew, to hide from persecution in their basement. Once found Hans was sent to war as punishment for hiding Max in his basement and rejecting Hitler’s rein. Consequently Han’s took the inevitable leap into a harsh new phase of life and is irrevocably changed by his transition when he returns to Munich. Therefore individual’s choice to conform or reject social norms, does in fact dictate transitions into new phases of life or social contexts to occur.

Catalysts influence transitions into new phases of life or social contexts by either triggering or accelerating change to occur in individual’s lives. Stephen Daldry’s Film Billy Elliot explores the consequences of catalysts and their influence over individual’s transitions into new phases of life or social contexts. Billy’s first discovery of the juxtaposed ballet class with the boxing ring creates a catalyst for change in billy’s life since it presented a moral dilemma of choice to either conform or reject gender expectations. In addition, Mrs Wilkinson acts as a motherly figure, mentor and role model for billy, catalysing his transition into a new phase of life. Mrs Wilkinson challenges billy and the status quo of society, when she advises “Go on, I dare ya’ with the use of pejorative colloquialism. She is symbolically daring billy to take the ballet shoes and challenge societal restraints. In addition, the harmonious implementation of intersexuality through the use of Swan Lake foreshadows billy’s future and positions the audience to view how billy made an unlikely dream, a reality. During the climax of the film, at the audition, billy shares a glimmer of passion through the use of zoomorphism. Billy expresses his feelings whilst dancing “Just there, flying, like a bird”, acting as a symbolic catalyst since these words transition billy into a new phase of life by granting him acceptance into the royal ballet school. Therefore, transitions into new phases of life or social contexts may be prompted or enhanced through the influence of catalysts.

An individual’s transition into new phase of life or social context is sparked by experiences that may be confronting for themselves and their formative milieu. Both, Stephen Daldry’s film Billy Elliot and Markus Zusaks novel The Book Thief explores the transition of individuals into new phases of life and new social contexts through the protagonists journey beyond their comfort zone. Wether the individuals transition permanently or temporarily, the individual will be permanently transformed on a physical, emotional and/or psychological level.

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The Book Thief

May 28, 2020 by Essay Writer

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.

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Importance of Tolerance

May 28, 2020 by Essay Writer

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.

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