The Book Thief

Good Essays
Essay on The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

In the novel The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, the narrator who is known only as ‘Death’ is a critical thinker which makes Death’s point of view very engaging for an audience. Death tells the story of Liesel, a German girl living in Germany during World War Two. Death’s point of view is engaging for an audience because he provides his own insights and observations about humanity.

Through his insightful narration, Death conveys to us Zusak’s idea of the duality of humanity. One of the main ideas within this idea is that of the beauty in ugliness. This idea is best shown to us through Liesel’s best friend, a young man named Rudy Steiner. Rudy is the perfect physical example of a Nazi; he has “beautiful blond hair and big safe blue eyes” and he is a fine athlete. However, mentally he hasn’t got a Nazi moral in him. Zusak tells us this through Rudy’s actions. When the Jews are being paraded through Molching (where Rudy and Liesel live) to the death camp, Dachau, Rudy puts bread on the road for the Jews to eat, even though this is very dangerous and he is starving himself. This small act of kindness is a beautiful act in the ugly world of Nazi Germany. Death foreshadows Rudy’s untimely demise by saying “he didn’t deserve to die the way he did.” Zusak is using Death as a narrator to make insightful judgements of human’s character through their actions to portray the idea of beauty in ugliness.

The triumph of love over hate is another part of the duality of humanity which Zusak uses Death to show. This idea is best portrayed to us through the relationship of Liesel and Max, a Jew who Liesel’s foster parents, the Hubermans, take in and hide in their basement during the Holocaust. In Nazi Germany at the time, their relationship is very much illegal due to the antisemitic laws and views of Nazism. However, it is this hate and oppression which brings them together and helps to develop the love between them.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Better Essays

    Book Thief

    • 1398 Words
    • 6 Pages

    The Book Thief “Even death has a heart.” (The Book Thief, pg 242) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a book of death, love, and survival. There is the death of a friend, love of a parent, and survival of those who can take it. World War II was a devastating period and many did not have the mental strength to survive it. The Book Thief is about Liesel Meminger and all her accounts with death and how she coped with it, how she survives it all through words. The book is narrated by Death, and throughout…

    • 1398 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    The Book Thief

    • 456 Words
    • 2 Pages

    the book thief about beauty and brutality, both of which Liesel has experienced numerous times throughout the course of her long life. The life of the book thief perfectly represents the concept of beauty in the wake of brutality. Liesel went through many heart-breaking events throughout her life. From losing her brother to the death of her beloved foster parents, Liesel stood strong through it all. When it looked like things would never get better, she stood tall. The book thief saw…

    • 456 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    The book thief

    • 1196 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Haley Dorman English 113 Final Project Mrs. Luby The story of the Book Thief The book that I read was “The Book Thief.” This book was written by Mark Zusak in the year of 2006. Mark lives in Australia where he was raised by a German mother and an Australian Father. He has made a career as being a young adult author. This book has been given many awards and for a very good reason because it is a tale that is very worth remembering. It is about death, loss, and sadness, but that love can…

    • 1196 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Book Thief

    • 870 Words
    • 4 Pages

    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…

    • 870 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Book Thief

    • 488 Words
    • 2 Pages

    One of the main themes of the Book Thief is how the use of words, for good or for evil, can change everything. His choice to use Death as a narrator was a great idea, as Death watches, and can describe from many points of view what he sees, and his use of words is very powerful. 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…

    • 488 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Book Thief

    • 518 Words
    • 3 Pages

    In the first chapters of Markus Zusak's The Book Thief, the protagonist Liesel Meminger experiences conflicts which drive her actions, actions which represent clutching to the memories of what once was. Liesel experiences shock and suffering at the traumatic death of her brother, Werner. "... With [w]ith one eye open, one still in a dream..." (p. 29) describes Liesel's reaction, a state of shock, at the moment she realizes her brother is dead and the image of "... His blue eyes stared at the floor…

    • 518 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    The Book Thief

    • 308 Words
    • 2 Pages

    The Book Thief By Markus Zusak Presented to: Ms. Graham Written by: Laura Daunais March 20th 2012 ENG406-04 In the novel The Book Thief written by Markus Zusak, words have a huge impact on individuals. Everything that’s going on in the world changes the way that the characters are and how they react to specific events. In this essay the reader will understand about how the characters are most affected by words, these three characters are Liesel, a young girl who moved to Munich as a foster…

    • 308 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    The Book Thief

    • 1724 Words
    • 4 Pages

    I found that “The Book Thief” portrayed perfectly one of the greatest casualties of war – the truth. Markus Zusak writes about a young girl – Liesel Meminger – who is initially illiterate, however she realizes the importance and power behind words and stories and she hungers for them. She steals books in an effort to understand and eventually, under the tutelage of Hans Hubermann – her papa – she is able to immerse herself in the new ideas and truths conveyed in these stories. I believe Liesel Meminger…

    • 1724 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Book Thief

    • 659 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Words The power of words…it is shown in this book, it shows how people are destroyed and how people are saved from words. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak shows his audience that words have the power to heal or destroy. Liesel, the main character and the book thief, Max the jew, and Hitler the fuhrer are the ones who show how they have used words to affect others in both positive and negative ways . Throughout the story it shows Liesel's great passion for books as well as her dedication to learn how to…

    • 659 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Book Thief

    • 1597 Words
    • 7 Pages

    Analyse how an important event at the beginning shaped outcomes in an extended written text. In the book ‘The Book Thief’, Markus Zusak the author has used the theme of colours in the prologue. The theme of colours has been used to show how Death sees colours and what these colours mean to Death in his perspective. Markus Zusak uses the techniques of imagery to show this. We also see Deaths perspective on humanity, how he dislikes humans, their behaviour, their thoughts, their actions, this is…

    • 1597 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Good Essays