The Book Thief

Introduction:

The book thief is a book written by Markus Zusak based during the German Holocaust. Its a real eye opener, giving us a view into the terrors of WW2, even if it is a work of fiction and I think the story of Liesel is especially important, because her story runs through every base, including Jewish people, German mass adoration and the life of those who have experienced the loss of friends and loved ones due to the rising hell that was WW2. An especially important symbol in The Book Thief is the different books that Liesel comes into contact with, and what they mean in the story.

The books Liesel steals are symbolise her own defiance. They symbolise a act against Hitler’s Nazi regime, while also symbolising the steps Liesel takes to becoming a independent German. The Gravedigger’s handbook is the first book Liesel gets, and it can be seen to represent a connection to her brother, since she gets it from where he is buried. However I believe it has even more significance, because it can symbolise her beginning literally from the ground up. It is almost as if she is digging herself out of the grave, with this first book, that she can’t even read yet. I believe this book is extremely significant and that without reaching for this first book, Liesel would have remained the small helpless girl she is in the beginning of the story, forever. Another significant book is Mein Kampf, its a book, written by Hitler, in order to explain his ideologies and the paths in which he wishes to take Germany. This is the next significant book, because it represents the different views of the people. With both the copy written by Hitler and Max’s copy. The original Mein Kampf represents Germany as it is, ruled by hitler. However Max’s copy, renamed “The Standover Man,”  represents a blank slate. The whited out pages represent the desire to change, and the hope that it will. It is important that in the beginning Max carries this hope, as he is able to escape thanks to his mother, and carries her hope for change as well, and then he hands this hope down to Liesel. Liesel carries hope forward after this point, all the way to the end of the novel.

There are some books that, once picked up, cannot be put back down and I believe Markus Zusak has written one of these books. I may not know exactly what goes through his head, however I like to think that all authors strive to make every encounter within their stories meaningful. I believe this is an important way to engage your audience and to make sure not a single word becomes meaningless. The symbol of the books is something that lured me as a reader, so that I sought to discover a deeper meaning behind them, and see exactly where this story was taking me. I believe the attention to detail put within this book is amazing, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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