The Book Thief

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“I most definitely can be cheerful. I can be amiable.
Agreeable. Affable. And that’s only the A’s”(Zusak pg.3).

Death uncloaks himself and steps out of the shadows extending his hand to greet the reader as soon as a copy of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is opened. With these words the narrator of the story, death, describes himself in a manner that one would never have imagined before, making the power of words shine bright on the first page. Throughout The Book Thief, the power, irony, and usefulness of literature is shown in the setting of Nazi Germany during World War II. A young girl by the name of Liesel Meminger becomes a master of her own with words. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing something she can’t resist–-books. With the help of her foster parents and an unlikely stowaway Liesel learns that without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know more. Liesel learns that through knowing the power of words, you can achieve greatness in life. These lessons are learned through a story, a beating, and an autobiography. With words written on a page, Liesel learns her first lesson.
Through this story Liesel realizes that the force of words is what holds the country under the power of Hitler and the Nazi party. …the Fuhrer decided that he would rule the world with words. “I will never fire a gun,” he devised, “I will not have too…” His first plan of attack was to plant the words in as many areas as him home land as possible… He watched them grow, until eventually; great forests of words had risen throughout Germany... It was a nation of farmed thoughts (Zusak pg. 445)

As a part of The Word Shaker featured within The Book Thief, Max, a Jewish stowaway, explains in his own way how Adolf Hitler came to power over Germany. Max explains how the strength of words alone can be more deadly than a gun. In Hitler’s hands, manipulated words took many prisoners, and in The Word Shaker Max explains how Liesel was silently

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