Themes from the Book Thief By Becci Harmon

Theme 1: People keep their promises.

"Do you still play the accordion?" Of course, the question was really, "Will you still help me?" (Zusak 185).

The poem, "Promises" by Morgan Gregg expresses the importance of promises made amongst friends. This poem encourages that even in the obstacles which prevent a promise from being kept, a promise should never be broken for any reason.

Theme 2: people show their love in different ways than others.

"She possessed the unique ability to aggravate almost anyone she ever met. But she did love Liesel Meminger. Her way of showing it just happened to be strange" (Zusak 35).

In the novel, "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak, Rosa Hubermann's behavior towards Liesel Meminger is highly noticeable. Readers will notice that Rosa is extremely vile towards Liesel and constantly calls her a Saumensch (German for the word "bastard"). Throughout the book, there are several moments where Rosa's outbursts at Liesel are witnessed as well different types of discipline inflicted upon her. However, what makes Rosa and Liesel's relationship so strange is the fact that Rosa really does love Liesel but how she shows it is not exactly the way people would expect love for an individual to be shown. Not only does Rosa act this way towards Liesel, but even her own husband.

Jamie Foxx 2005 Oscar Awards Acceptance Speech

Key Parts of the Speech: "This is probably going to be the toughest part of this speech. My daughter shares my grandmother's name: Marie. My grandmother's name is Estelle Marie Talley. And she's not here tonight. And this is going to be the toughest part. But she was my first acting teacher. She told me, "Stand up straight. Put your shoulders back. Act like you got some sense." We would go places and I would wild out, and she says, "Act like you've been somewhere." And then when I would act the fool, she would beat me. She would whup me. And she could get an Oscar for the way she whupped me because she was great at it. And after she whipped me, she would talk to me and tell me why she whipped me, said, "I want you to be a southern gentleman." And she still talks to me now; only now she talks to me in my dreams. And I can't wait to go to sleep tonight because we got a lot to talk about. I love you." (Jamie Foxx)

Jamie Foxx's grandmother is very similar to Rosa Hubermann in, "The Book Thief" by the way she loves her grandson. The way she disciplined her son was the way she showed him that she loved him. She only presented her love in that way to better Jamie in a way she knew would help him become a well individual.

Theme 3: Hunger drives people to steal.

"I'm starving," Rudy replied. "And he's fast," said Liesel." (Zusak 151.)

This quote shows how Rudy and Liesel's hunger drives them to steal food. Because money is scare and so is food in their homes, they feel like the only way to obtain food is to steal it.

Small and seemingly meaningless things have a greater significance

"Inside, she made her way to the bedroom. She took the ball in to Max and placed it at the end of the bed. 'I'm sorry,' she said, 'it's not much. But when you wake up, I'll tell you all about it. I'll tell you it was the grayest afternoon you can imagine, and this car without lights on ran straight over the ball. Then the man got out and yelled at us. And then he asked for directions. The nerve of him..." (Zusak 320)

As Max lies in a bed, sickly and unconscious; Liesel continues to bring him small gifts which seem to have very little value. However, these thirteen gifts have a greater significance than what they seem. Each gift has a story behind it. There is a day which it came from and a moment in which it was found. Liesel wants Max to know what the world outside is like as he cannot be a part of it thus telling us that even the smallest objects can help us gain perspective on different aspects of our world.

Our Imaginations Assist in Making Us Stronger

"Max and the Fuhrer fight for their lives, each rebounding off the stairway. There's blood in the Fuhrer's mustache, as well as his part line, on the right side of his head. "Come on Fuhrer," says the Jew. He waves him forward. "Come on, Fuhrer." (Zusak 257)

Max has been living in the basement for so long that the wheels on his imagination begin turning and he imagines himself in a fight with Adolf Hitler. What makes this moment in the story so significant is that this whole fight represents two majorities: The Nazis and the Jews. Besides the fact that in this daydream Max loses the fight, he tells Liesel anyway that he wins. His imagination is causing him to be stronger because his puts his head where it needs to be in order to keep pushing on during the darkest days of history.

There is A Way to Steal Sparingly

"I was glad that you took what was rightfully yours. I then made the mistake of thinking that would be the end of it. When you came back, I should have been angry, but I wasn't. I could hear you the last time, but I decided to leave you alone. You only ever take on book, and it will take a thousand visits till all of them are gone." (Zusak 369)

We know that in the novel, "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak, Liesel is the Book Thief. But if her actions are observed throughout her thieving process, you'll notice that Liesel is not a very greedy thief. She only takes what she needs and leaves and comes back when she wants a little bit more. Rarely does she ever steal a stack of books and run off through the streets reveling in her thieving satisfaction. She always takes one book. In fact, she reads the books she steals over and over so her collection ends up not being very large. The way Liesel steals supports the fact that sometimes when people steal, it can be done in

People are drawn to Showing compassion To Others

"The Jew stood before him, expecting another handful of derision, but he watched with everyone else as Hans Hubermann held his hand out and presented a piece of bread, like magic." (Zusak 394)

As human beings, we're used to observing signs of distress that are signaled by others around us. Everyone will react differently to a person who is in pain but Hans Hubermann definitely plays a big part in showing kindness towards someone who is definitely suffering from the deepest level of dehumanization. The moment where Hans provides bread to one of the prisoners shows how much compassion there is in Hans's heart because of the gravity of the situation. Hans was beaten publicly for giving food to a Jew and he also knew to expect this. This shows how people go out of their way just to present kindness to others.

People Play the Role of Bystanders When they fear a greater power

"On Munich Street, they watched. Others moved in around and in front of them. They watched the Jews come down the road like a catalog of colors." (Zusak 391)

Fear is definitely an intimidating factor in our lives and there are countless moments where it causes a group of people to stand by and watch things go down. In this moment of the story, everyone on the street was too afraid to oppose what was happening to the prisoners marching to Dachau. No one was willing to stand up for what was right because they were afraid of what the Nazis would do to them if they opposed their ways. When people have absolute power over others, it becomes difficult to be involved and easier to be off to the side witnessing a moment of suffering.

Words can calm a storm

"When she turned to page two, it was Rudy who noticed. He paid direct attention to what Liesel was reading, and he tapped his brother and sisters, telling them to do the same. Hans Hubermann came closer and called out, and soon, a quietness started bleeding through the crowded basement. By page three, everyone was silent but Liesel." (Zusak 381)

As people from Himmel Street in the air raid shelter cower in fear, they are calmed as Liesel reads from one of her stolen books which lulls them into a calming state of silence. Even though the book is merely a story about a murderous man, somehow the words seem to do wonders on the emotions of the people crowding in the basement. The way Liesel's reading calms the people in the shelter shows how words can settle a storm.

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