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Analysis of the The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - Essay Example

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Wesleyan University
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The book thief is a novel written by Markus Zusak. Death is the narrator in the novel and death explains how he would follow up the book thief from the first time he saw him on a train. The navel embraces a wide use of symbolism, imagery with colors and objects in nature, the book was written during the time when Hitler was getting started in establishing his reign in Germany. There were killings of Jewish people and Hitler deprived them of any human rights. Somehow the book responded to the inhumane and cruel treatment. The book depicts various scenarios with accounts that present the pain that the masses went through at the time. Zusak depicts various instances that display childhood and adolescent experiences as significant and his style of narration helps the reader understand the context, time if writing and the content of the book better.

The narrator, death, observes the Book Thief from the time he sees her first at the train, on to when he goes for pilot who had a plane crushed and further when fatter the bomb incident. Death is precise with color descriptions with key attention to white, black and red which coincidentally are the colors of the Nazi flag. Death narrates the story from when a family with a mother, a daughter- Liesel and her brother Werner are travelling on a train to Munich and Werner dies indefinitely. The two ladies have to alight the train and bury the deceaseds body. Liesel steals a book from the gravediggers. After the burial they resume their journey and arrive to Molching a small town where Liesel grows with foster parents- Hans and Rosa. She gives dislikes the foster parents but later warms up to Hans when he teaches her to roll a cigarette. She takes time but eventually adjusts to the new life although she still remembers her brother and he visits him in dreams and nightmares. Later on, she opens up to the new life, meets friends in the neighborhood and befriends neighborhood boy named Rudy. Rudy worships American Athlete Jesse Owens and he is resilient in presenting and pestering Liesel to kiss him.

Sooner Han learn that Liesel doesnt know how to read and is committed to teach her alphabets and in no time, they finish reading the book she stole. At this time, political weather is heavy, molching and progressing to become more serious in Germany. War was widening every day and they started experiencing shortages in food supply and work opportunity. later, the town holds a book-burning in celebration of Hitlers birthday and the girl stills yet another book before it is consumed by flames.

In adjudgment to the shortages, Liesel starts to deliver laundry for Rosa- her foster mother. One day she delivers laundry to the mayors wife llsa Hermann who invites her to the study room and Liesel is marveled by the walls of books. The Herman permits her to read in the study.

Elsewhere in Stuttgart Max, a Jew in Germany is hiding in a closet and has no supply of water food or light. His friend delivers to him false paper for identification and a map acquired for Hitler autobiography. With the new identity, he affords to leave and goes back to Hubermans house. Later the reader learns that Maxs father served together with Han in world war I.

Hans convinces his wife to hide Max in their basement. Max and Liesel become friends and he even writes her a book on painted-over pages. When Hermann tells Liesel that she is too broke to send out laundry, Liesel gets furious considering the struggle her family was going through to survive, and yet Hermann seemed different because she had a lot to meet her needs and live in comfort. With time, Liesel formed a bond with Max, and he would help her sneak in and steal Hermanns books. Their friendship grows strong such that Liesel builds him a snowman a holiday gift. Sadly, Max falls sick and goes to a comma, and he awakes after several months. While in the comma Nazi soldiers inspect the basement as they look for a place deep enough to house a bomb shelter. All the adolescent characters continue living their lives with their parents and doing their best.

However, war intensifies to the extent that Nazi soldiers parade Jewish prisoners through town and in a concentration camp located at Dachau. After recovering Max leaves, the basement of the hosts because it is not safe for him anymore. Rudy gets apposition that Hans had been expecting as the future teacher for Nazi leaders, but his father doesnt give consent. Hans and Rudy are crafted into the army. Later the two ladies rescue a plain that crushed and Hermann gives Liesel a plain paper so that she can write her story and she does. One day while editing her book in the basement, there is a bomb in the neighborhood which kills Hans, Rosa, Rudy and her other neighbors. She is devastated, and as she struggles to rescue herself, she stumbles on Rudys corpse and gives him the kiss he always wished for. As the rescuers take her away, she doesnt take her book with her, but death who was watching all along saves the book called The Book Thief. Later Max returns to find Liesel on the mayors home where she moved after the concentration liberation camps. She gets a family of her own and grows old. Finally, death comes for her and presents her with the book she had written she was a small girl.

Death presents as the narrator of the story, who is initially satirical, with a weird sense of humor. As the novel progresses, Death regrets having collected so many souls. As depicted in the story, Death is seen an imaginary character in the book which follows children and adolescent to take their souls.

Liesel Meminger is the protagonist in the novel who is viewed to have different character traits. Liesel transforms from an angry, distrusting character to one who loves her family and friends. As portrayed by Liesel children and the adolescent are eager to learn. As Liesel grows throughout the war moving from place to another, she steals books which are later read and used to teach her friends and neighbors. The experiences of war molds Liesel to become bold moral code. The author also illustrates the energy the children and the adolescent have in protecting themselves and each other from Death. Liesel presents herself as the book thief in the novel. She is seen in most places collecting and stealing books.

Hans Hubermann is Liesels stepfather who is patient and gentle with Liesel and is the first adult able to win her trust. Hans portrays a character in the novel who motivates others continually. He acts against his own best interests due to his strong sense of right and wrong. In the book, Hans represented a father figure to Liesel and others in his neighborhood. He seems to be concerned about the whereabouts of children and the adolescent. Though harsh and strict at times, he is after protecting and teaching Liesel the way of life. Hans displays a character that is the opposite of the paternalistic leaders of the town and the country. Instead, advocates on education and self-determination.

Rosa Hubermann is the stepmother to Liesel who is cold and impatient at first. She reveals a kind and caring when she accepts to take max in and in how she treats Liesel through the story. Rosa is a supporting character who represents herself to help and take care of Liesel.

Max Vandenburg is Hubermanns secret lodger. He hides in the Hubermanns home knowing he is exposing them to danger. Max battles with his conscious to stay alive or leave the Hubermanns which would ultimately lead to his death. His character is defined as of significant degree in the story. He is seen to have a strong will to stay alive and survive the cold and illnesses as he is hiding.

Rudy Steiner is Liesels best friend who is kind and loyal. Rudy is so close to Liesel that he cares and tries to protect her when necessary. In the novel, Rudy is a character is concerned about the welfare of other people around him. Rudy is an illustration of a typical teenager who is concerned about his interests and concerns. His significant interests including winning races and soccer. He shows the world the youthful innocence until his father is drafted. He is angry and withdrawn from the political events. According to him the conflicts in the Hitler Youth have nothing to do with his ideologies.

The concept of books and writing is prominent in the novel. The lives of several characters are affected significantly by books. The novel depicts three lives saved using books and writing. Max is Jewish who receive fake identity paper that helps him leave German. He reads a book to protect his identity as he travels back from Germany. Hans life is saved from going to combat and is recruited through the application papers. Liesels life is saved during the bomb because she was in the basement editing her book. Books bring people together. The adolescents Liesel and Max become friends, and even Max writes her a book. Adolescent relationship cemented on sharing knowledge led Max back to the city to find Liesel. Books are used to communicate with others and build relationships. Liesel was stealing books from a tender age when she stole the gravediggers novel. Ironically, she didnt know how to read the book. Perhaps, the author uses this as a symbol to express the role that books and writing can have on an individual from a tender. The urge to learn drove Liesel to be reading in Hermanns study room and later she would sneak in and steal books from the wall shelving. The passion for books and knowledge rendered her a place to stay after the liberation.

The novel is written in a time frame when most values of humanity were being tested to the toughest limits. However, the novel still manages to depict numerous acts of humanity. Small acts of love and care are evident when llsa Hermann invites her laundry girl, Liesel to the study room and Hans effort to teach Liesel how to read. Hans and his wife risk their peace and stability to hide Max in their basement and do not turn on him even when the soldiers came looking, and they also care for him when by providing basic needs even in a struggling environment. However, it is not possible for the book to evade all the ugly scenes of animosity and rivalry in a war-filled nation. For instance, Rudy receives harsh and inhuman treatment from his aggressors.

The author juxtaposes the extremes of human behaviors for the instance when Huberman attempts to offer help to one Jew yet at the same time the Jews are being marched in the streets. The harsh exposures that Liesel had gone through had made her a hostile person, and she is withdrawn when she arrives at the new foster family. However, the exposure to loving and warming family give the teenage girl a chance to open up for love and give out love again, even after losing her beloved brother. childhood and adolescent experience prove to be crucial in shaping a persons experiment and determine the kind of a people they grow up to be like the case was with Rudy, Max and Leisel.

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