The Theme Of Death In Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak says a great deal about humanity and its effects on Death. The book shows how humans are capable of so much atrocity. The things we do to one another can be maniacal. At the same time, there are people who are pure, warmhearted, and can just love and care for others unconditionally. Characters in the story take enormous risks where they have so much to lose and little to gain. For starters, Hans Hubermann secretly took Max in his basement for the sake of his promise to the Vandenburg family after Erik’s death. He knows that if he does this, and he gets caught by the Nazis or Gestapo, there would be immense consequences. His family’s lives could have been on the line, Max could have been in a concentration camp (he eventually does) brutally working until death, and Hans could have possibly faced death as well.

Another incredibly kind act was when Erik Vandenburg saved Hans’ life, which cost his own. He did this by nominating Hans as the soldier with the best handwriting, which allowed him to help write letters while the rest of the men fought. Not one man came back alive. One other kind act was the giving of bread to the Jews. Near the end of the book, Hans gave a piece of bread to a Jew during the parade. He faced the outcome of getting whipped/humiliation. The same thing happened with Rudy and Liesel in a later chapter. Although humanity can be utterly graceful, there needs to be leeway for the cruel, inhumane acts. The obvious one would be Hitler and his immoral acts toward the Jews, and the whole world essentially. He killed 6 million Jews, as well as other people who are deemed different (e.g. homosexuals). Hitler’s choices were what made all of Europe suffer; and they didn’t even do anything to deserve what came to them. Hitler’s plan is what altered the world, forever. One destructive act lead to another in World War II, it was like a domino effect. Death was tremendously affected by his acts, because all of those innocent souls ended up in his arms. This is evident in “Death’s Diary: 1942”. Death also finds it a hardship to see how people brutally get slaughtered. Another cruel act was Liesel’s father abandoning his family to become a communist. All in all, Death is “haunted by humans” because of how barbaric and generous we are at the same time. He just doesn’t understand us, he never did. Death is often characterized as cruel and the largest thing humans avoid, but the novel clearly shows how we choose to persistently torment each other. Death is merely the outcome of our own actions.


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