Markus Zusak’s engrossing book, The Book Thief, takes place in the outskirts in Nazi Germany. 33 Himmel Street is the new home of a Communist daughter, Liesel, who has just seen things that many people may have not seen, throughout their lives. She has been brought to this foster home because of World War II. She gets to know a Jew and he, without knowing, teaches her about the war. She finds a true friend in Rudy Steiner, who longs for a kiss from her. She also happens to live with an altered father, who pulled in many directions by this war. The novel suggests that war exposes people to experiences, both good and bad, that they have never encountered before.
The book I read was “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. The title is called “The Book Thief” because the main character named Liesel does not know how to read so she steals books and her best friend Rudy calls her a book Theif in chapter 42.
With the power of words, that causes the destruction of Germany and the world, Liesel’s uses that same power to deal with the terror of death that looms over them, allowing her to give power and hope, to those that need it, especially in the midst of the chaos of World War II. Where the German forces were deteriorating, and the Allies only grew stronger with each bomb that they drop, Liesel and her neighbors hide within one of the basements, in attempt to survive the onslaught of attacks, fearfully and anxious. The only things that were with them was each other, and their most precious items, and for Liesel, it was her books. All they could do was wait for sirens, and because of this uncertainty, Liesel took it upon herself to ease her distress.
In the very beginning, the protagonist, Liesel, is faced with her first tragic encounter. On a train traveling toward Munich to live with foster parents, Liesel endures the death of her six year old brother. “There was an intense spurt of coughing. Almost an inspired spurt. And soon after-nothing” (Zusak 20). Her brother’s death happens so quickly that Liesel and her mother are left in disbelief and despair. This incentive moment began the tragic journey for Liesel or as Death named her, the Book Thief. After leaving her mom and being brought to her foster home, Liesel clings to the hope that this is just temporary. Because her foster father, Hans, taught her how to read and write, she desperately attempts to reach out through letters to her mom with no response. Even though Liesel is in this tragic journey, she has comfort and companionship from her foster parent, Hans, Rudy, a neighbor boy, and finally Max, the hidden Jew. Each of these relationships causes a chain reaction towards tragedy. As for Hans, “Liesel observed the strangeness of her foster father's eyes. They were made of kindness, and silver. Like soft silver, melting” (Zusak 34). Because of his kindness, Liesel also observes the tragedy. Having seen Hans being whipped multiple times in front of many people for helping a Jew and then drafted into war for also helping a Jew, Liesel sees the consequences for standing up for your own beliefs. Hans also developed in Liesel the love of reading which causes her to stand in horror and watch the burning of the book ceremony. Rudy, on the other hand, has a different relationship with Liesel. A love hate relationship that dealt with stealing and a childhood of mischievousness, these two characters bring joy in each others’ lives. Not knowing what they would do without each other, Liesel and Rudy depend on each other only to have that
The Book Thief is a historical novel written by Markus Zusak. It provides the readers a deeper understanding of the lives of Jews and Germans in Germany during the brutal Nazi regime and how they manage to survive. This includes not only the physical survival of the fittest, but also the survival of their moral beliefs. In addition to the author’s theme of inhumanity and humanity of man, he provides a background story for the characters in the book and how they are similar and different by their moral beliefs, their goals, their guilt, and their relationship with words. Two of the characters that are mentioned throughout the book to remind the readers of their struggles to survive in the Third Reich are Liesel and Max. Liesel is the foster daughter of Hans and Rosa Hubermann and “the book thief” who realizes the power of words in the Nazi community while Max is a fist fighter and German Jew who hides in Hans’s basement to escape from Nazi incarceration and eventually survives the concentration camp after he is arrested on his way to Stuttgart by the Nazis. Liesel and Max can be compared and contrasted through analyzing their struggles, includes their fear of the death, their guilt of
The book is about a young girl named Liesel Meminger living with adoptive parents in World War II Germany. The book thief, Liesel, shows resistance to the cruel Nazis in many ways, one of which is stealing books from the Nazi book burnings. In a description of such an act, “Smoke lifted from the cover as she juggled it and hurried away (Zusak 121).” Another way that Liesel defies Hitler’s cruelty is by quietly voicing her beliefs against him when she says, “I hate Hitler (Zusak 115).” Liesel and her adoptive parents, for much of the book, also take in and care for a jewish man, Max, when he is on the run from Nazi soldiers. Liesel Meminger and the various characters of the book thief show a quiet but vibrant resistance to the hate and intolerance of the Nazi
In the past few weeks, we have been reading the book, the Book Thief by Markus Zusak. The book tells the story of Liesel Meminger, a girl from Germany in the time of the Holocaust. The book starts with her as a nine year old, and progresses through her life until she is an old lady. The story details the life of this woman through these times. And in the story, her priorities are reading and learning. She steals books like The Grave Digger’s Handbook and The Shoulder Shrug, but one book which has negative influence was the book made by the Nazi Leader, Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (My Struggle). Hitler wrote the autobiographical book, which was spread around the Germans, who were brainwashed by the propaganda. The Mein Kampf influenced these citizens, but was the influence good? The book created nothing but negativity. There are three examples which are strong showings to prove the influence of the Führer caused nothing but hatred. Those three are Hans Junior, Max, and the entire population of the Jews. Those three personas were effected in a way which caused nothing but hurt to people.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak shows through the midst of brutality, beauty can still be shown. The main characters Liesel Meminger, Rudy Steiner and Hans Huberman, prove this statement they are all faced with perilous situations, but still manage to show beauty throughout the situations. Liesel Meminger display beauty during the air raids, as she manages to read to people in the basement. Rudy Steiner displays beauty he jumps in the river to get Liesel’s book. Through Hans Huberman nobel character he displays beauty as he risks his life to hide a Jewish man in his basement.
It seems sometimes like the market for young adult literature is written down to the readers, almost in a condescending manner. That is why a book like The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is so refreshing in this sea of cookie cutter romances and fantasies. While classified as a young adult novel, it deals with very serious themes. The book’s cover comes printed with this label: “It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.” It is a dark allusion to what is to come. But Zusak makes this story more accessible to the audience he is writing to and does this by creating identifiable characters, by bringing humor into
The time of the beginning of the story is 1939 when the Nazis control the government. The buildings are made out of poor materials. In one house lives a girl Liesel with her two foster parents. Her dad Hans Hubermann, who likes to play the accordion and is nice to her. Her mother Rosa Hubermann who isn’t nice to her, she calls Liesel “Sachsemench” a curse word. Her mother works for a rich family that lives in a house that has a library. She hates the family and despises them. At the time books are rare and hard to find because the Nazi’s burn them. Later in the book Liesel meets her soon to be partner in crime Rudy Steiner. Rudy Steiner is an interesting character. He broke into the school track at night and ran around it pretending to be Jesse Owens, his hero. He also dislikes the Nazi party and their practices. The first book that Liesel steals is “The Grave Digger's
Historically, people have used literacy to obtain political power. In the novel The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, it is evident that books, reading, and words themselves represent power for different characters in different ways. Close analysis of Liesel Meminger and Max Vandenburg reveals that power can be achieved through literacy in a context where literacy is severely limited.
Death states that, “I’m always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both” (Zusak 491). This book shows us human doing things that weren’t even imaginable before this point. Many people give into ideas that were lies. But, we also watch a few people go out of their way and sacrifice everything for a man they barely even know. They do everything they can to keep him safe and alive. They work harder, the get another job, and they even steal. In Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, death examines the ugliness and the beauty of humans.
Through all of the irony and vivid coloring, The Book Thief is more easily understood after acquiring knowledge of reading literature with greater care and meticulousness. Applying chapters of How to Read Literature like a Professor can better enhance a reader’s awareness of hidden messages and symbols within certain works of literature. In Chapter Two, Foster explains how meals suggest a communion between all parties involved in it. Markus Zusak also uses meals and food to bring families together in The Book Thief. Foster also explains, in Chapter Eleven, how violence in literature usually stands for more than just violence.
“The power of words, written or spoken, have life. They can change the world.” (search quotes). The power of words should not be underestimated. Liesel proves this to be true in the novel and the film The Book Thief. She uses words to develop relationships with her foster father, Hans Hubermann; Max Vandenburg, the illicit Jew in her basement; and her neighbours. In the novel The Book Thief by Markus Zusak there is much more relationship development compared to the film The Book Thief directed by Brian Percival. This consequently causes the theme of the power of words to be less prominent in the film.