Markus Zusak uses metaphors and some personification to paint a picture of Nazi Germany. With his powerful descriptions, the setting is easy to visualize. As an example, on p. 27, Death describes Himmel street as “buildings appear to be glued together, mostly small houses and apartment blocks that look nervous. There is murky snow spread out like carpet. There is concrete, empty hat-stand trees, and gray air”. With this description, the reader can infer that Himmel street's buildings are crowded in together, the trees are bare and leafless, and that the day is cold and gray. Using imagery, Markus Zusak has created a clear picture of Nazi Germany.
Words can be used in good ways, to bring peace and happiness to people's hearts, if they are spoken correctly. Markus Zusak conveys this idea throughout the book, with the little stories Max writes for Liesel, and the weather reports Liesel gives to Max every day. Markus Zusak even shows how books, or rather the words in them, can make a person feel happy or upset. On p. 134, Markus Zusak describes Liesel's love for books with “There were all different styles and sizes of lettering on the spines of the black, the red, the gray, the every-colored books. It was one of the most beautiful things Liesel Meminger had ever seen.” Markus Zusak also conveys how words can be used for good, when Liesel is describing the weather to Max. Her words cheer him up. On p. 249, Liesel says, “The sky is blue today, Max, and there is a big long cloud, and it's stretched out, like a rope. At the end of it, the sun is like a yellow hole.” Weather reports such as these throughout the story often make Max happy, even in his situation.
Markus Zusak also stresses the