The Capability of Human Strength in Markus Zusak´s The Book Thief

Decent Essays

The tumultuous event of World War Two Germany reveals the human’s desire for strength. Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief explores the human need for feeling powerful and the lengths people will go to obtain it. When Liesel first arrives at the Hubermann’s she feels powerless, she attains power through stealing books and learning how to read. Rudy Steiner also longing for power tries to obtain it through standing out and impressing people. Max Vandenburg, a Jewish fist fighter hiding in the Hubermann’s basement feels weak since he has little control over his life. He gains strength by fighting for his own survival through imagination and words. Zusak allows readers to relate to the novel by using the characters struggle for power to depict …show more content…

“She hauled the words in and breathed them out, a voice played notes inside of her. This is your accordion.” (Zusak 381) This shows how useful words can be to comfort and rescue people’s minds when used by Liesel. Her reading has given the people strength and distracts them from the surrounding world. Liesel demonstrates the ability to poses power overtime through devotion and rebellion towards words. Rudy Steiner, Liesel’s best friend wants power to stand out, he constantly is competing for a medal in track and for the attention in his very large family. Rudy’s idea of power represents impressing people, therefore he wants to become a star runner just like his idol Jessie Owens. He is known in his neighbourhood due to the “Jessie Owens incident” where he painted himself in charcoal and ran one hundred meters at the Hubert Oval track. He feels invincible when he runs and is confused when his father explains that he is not allowed to be like Jessie Owens. “This time, Mr. Steiner placed his hand on Rudy’s head and explained, ‘I know, son – but you’ve got beautiful blond hair and big safe blue eyes. You should be happy with that; is that clear?’” (Zusak 60-61) Physically he is the Nazi ideal, however Rudy identifies with Owens for their shared love of athletics despite religious, racial, and ethnic differences. This shows that Rudy

Get Access