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Essay On The Book Thief By Markus Zusak

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In The Book Thief, Markus Zusak wrote,“I am haunted by humans” (Zusak 550). Being narrated by Death, The Book Thief is a novel about an orphan, named Liesel Meminger, who moves in with the Hubermanns in Himmel (Heaven) Street. While she is there, she plunders books from libraries and book burnings during the horrors of World War II. Liesel Meminger’s desire to read helps her deal with the incidents around her and gain insight about the power of words, while her insecurity helps her create connections with the beneficent people.
Besides stealing and reading words, Liesel Meminger made constant bonds with people. Moving from place to place and relying on people who ends up leaving her made Liesel not able to trust anyone as quickly as…show more content…

Although her insecurity drove off many people, it allures the people who have the patience to help her. They never left her intentionally like the other people previously in her life. Hans, Rudy, and Rosa took the time to actually know and love the real Liesel. Living with these people has made her prosper as a reader and a person. She learns how to read books from Hans Hubermann, which would change her perspective of life. Rudy teaches her how to truly love someone else, and Rosa helps expand her vocabulary and how to detect love when shown in different ways.Therefore, the people that loves Liesel also helps her. Unlike the people before, these were the people who were there when she was in trouble and was there to help her succeed. These were the people who left Liesel distraught when they died.
Today, many of us cannot imagine how life was when Hitler was dictator of Germany other than that it was abhorrent and scarring. To help herself deal with these events, Liesel read books. Her desire to read helps her forget about these events for an amount of time. Even if it was a short amount of time, she enjoys it. She then discovers the power of reading. Liesel realizes that words can take anyone away from where they are to some other place and make the person forget about the events that are happening around them:
By page three, everyone was silent but Liesel. She didn’t dare to look up, but she could feel their frightened eyes hanging on to her as she hauled

The Book Thief Essay

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Taylor Worthington Mr. Dwyer Honors English 3-4 Black 9 June 2014 Independent Novel Essay Small literary devices create maximized results in the novel, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Zusak’s novel is about a young girl, named Liesel Meminger, who after losing her brother was given away by her mother to a couple from Mochling, Germany, named Hans and Rosa Hubermann. The Hubermann’s raise Liesel well, helping her through chaos she went through, as Liesel made friends, like her best friend and unknown lover, Rudy Steiner.

As Liesel explores her love of books and her thrive to steal she is acquainted with a Jew, who comes to hide in the Hubermann basement. As World War II progress circumstances get dire and Max is forced to leave, later being captured, and Hans must rejoin the army. All seems fine until an enemy air raid blows up Liesel’s life by landing on Himmel Street, and killing her Mama, Papa, Rudy, and others… This novel explores a unique method of narration by handing the point of view to Death itself. While enhancing the point of view, Death also contributes in his narration elements of foreshadowing and irony.

In The Book Thief, the author explores the literary devices of foreshadow, irony, and point of view to make a more versatile novel. An integral portion of the story relies on the literary device, point of view, which in this particular story, is rather unique. In using death as a narrator, the author created a highly versatile telling of the story, as the the tale can be told in several places at several times. For example, when an enemy air raider crashed near Himmel Street, death was there to answer. Worthington 2!

Before anyone could intervene, “[Death] was reaching into the cockpit. He slowly extracted the pilot’s soul from his ruffled uniform and rescued him from the plane,” (Zusak 491) In this point of view, Death gives an imagery of being both an idea and a physical person. This evokes realism in the narrator. A second exemplar that adequately displays the diversity of the narrator is very indirectly related to Liesel. Several instances are found within the Death’s Diary chapters; these chapters describe the troubles of war in other cities.

Death spoke about sufferings with the Parisians: “When their bodies [the Jews] had finished scouring for gaps in the doors, their souls rose up…their fingernails had scratched at the wood and in some cases were nailed into it by sheer force of desperation…” (Zusak 349) Death keeps the reader aware of the WWII happenings both in and out of Molching. The final piece of evidence that demonstrates variety in the character of the narrator is found at the very end of the book. When death comes back into Liesel’s life to take her this time, he brings her a gift.

Death went back through the ruined Himmel Street to find the Liesel’s book from the rubble, and he gave her the dusty black book from his pocket,” (Zusak 549) Liesel’s book, The Book Thief. From this we can see that there are two sides to this version of death. Death can show pity, and be kind to those who have watched their loved ones fall to his own hands. The versatility shown within Death as a narrator gives the point of view of the book a unique character that contributes to the story. The second literary device that is used inherently is foreshadowing.

Zusak uses this tool to give hints, often time very blatant, at important parts of the story. For example, in a short chapter in which Rudy, Liesel’s best friend, saves a book for her, we are given key information into the future of this boy. Death’s clever side note tells us, “He didn’t deserve to die the way he did,” and a few sentences later, revealed to us is: “he was not deserving of the fate that met him a Worthington 3! little under two years later. ” (Zusak 242) Now the reader anticipates a near death for this young character.

The next instance of foreshadowing is not related to death, and gives away no more than a slice of what is about to come in the story. After the protagonist makes her first steal at the graveyard of her brother, when she steals: The Gravediggers Handbook, Death tells us the future of Liesel’s stealing career with books. Liesel owned fourteen books, of the ten most prominent, “…six were stolen, one showed up at the kitchen table, two were made for her by a hidden Jew, and one was delivered by a soft, yellow-dressed afternoon. (Zusak 30) From this we gather not only that Liesel continued a illustrious career of stealing, but also that her life entailed a ‘hidden Jew. ’ A third occurrence of foreshadowing in this novel is a discrete example of this device. After a stock character, named Frau Holtzapfel, spits on the door of the Hubermans, Death remarks, “Both [of her sons] were in the army and both will make cameo appearances by the time we’re finished here, I assure you. ” (Zusak 44) This hint at the future of the book is a preparation of what is to come for these characters, and if caught, is very important.

While these foreshadowings may be hard to catch on to, they can give away essential information to the story. Irony is third and final literary device the reader finds to enhance the story. Zusak uses this to include factors the contradict what you might think; this adds effect and in some cases, foreshadowing (hence the last paragraph). For instance, in 1936 Jesse Owens, an AfricanAmerican athlete, won four gold medals at the Olympics in Berlin, which infuriated Hitler because his “master race” athletes were beaten.

Then, a white boy, from an acting Nazi family, by the name of Rudy Steiner, also the best-friend of Liesel, took some charcoal and “[h]e smeared the charcoal on, nice and thick, till he was covered in black. Even his hair received a Worthington 4! once-over. ” (Zusak 57) Then he went out to the Hubert Oval track, and while narrating his race, ran the 100 m as if he was Jesse Owens. The irony in this falls on the fact that a young boy who is supposed to be following the Nazi motives, wishes to be a man who does not fall under the “master race. The next case of irony is a very simple one. This one is as simple as the name of the street in which the Hubermanns live on. The narrator remarks, “Whoever named Himmel Street certainly had a healthy sense of irony. Not that it was living hell. It wasn’t. But it sure wasn’t heaven either. ” (Zusak 26) Now, along with giving the reader a sense of irony Zusak also contributed a slight foreshadowing, as by even having to remark that Himmel Street was far less than heaven, it was a indication that something perilous was bound to happen there.

The final occurrence of irony here deals with Max, the wandering Jew who was taken in by the Hubermanns. The book Mein Kampf is the book of the Nazi’s, written by Adolf Hitler himself. Max was carrying the book when he got to the house of the Hubermanns, and when Liesel asked if it was any good, he said, “It saved my life. ” (Zusak 217) The irony here is in the fact that Max is a Jew who is saying that a Nazi book saved his life. This is because Mein Kampf is what Max carried around to fit in with the other Germans. While subtle, the effect irony can be magnified and even molded with other literary devices, as shown.

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Death is not a character, death is an idea, a phenomenon, a result of living. However, this is not the case in Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, as Death is more than a character, death is a narrator. Death dictates the story, and elevates the point of view to a multi-natured force of words. Death here is a pronouncer of words both good or bad, and in this story, death displayed foreshadowing and irony to proclaim his motives, and become the words of the author . “Here is a small fact [from death itself]: You are going to die. ” (Zusak 3)

Author: Brandon Johnson

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The Book Thief Essay

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