The Book Thief Themes: By Tyler Barton

Theme #1: Words have the power to destroy and save lives

The knowledge in books gives those who are willing to use it the ability to hurt someone's morale or build someone's morale up.

"'You think,' she said, 'you can buy me off with this book?' Her voice, though shaken, hooked at the woman's throat." "'You give me this Saumensch of a book and think it'll make everything good when I go and tell my mama that we've just lost our last one? While you sit here in your mansion?' The mayor's wife's arms. They hung. Her face slipped. Liesel, however, did not buckle. She sprayed her words directly into the woman's eyes. 'You and your husband. Sitting up here.'" "'It's about time', she informed her, 'that you did your own stinking washing anyway. It's about time you faced the fact that your son is dead. He got killed! He got strangled and cut up more than twenty years ago! Or did he freeze to death? Either way he's dead! He's dead and it's pathetic that you sit here shivering in your own house to suffer for it. You think you're the only one'" (252).

After Liesel was given a letter from Ilsa Hermann telling Liesel's mama that they don't need their service any more she made Liesel take The Whistler. Liesel felt that Ilsa was giving her the book to make up for firing her mama and she unleashed a slue of brutal words that she didn't know existed in her. It was at that moment that she realized the effect that words can have on a person.

In this article, Steve Parker, Jr., the CEO and co-founder of Levelwing, explains how words are changing us all of the time. If you're told, "you have cancer," you are going to research the type of cancer you have which leads to more words and those words lead to decisions that lead to more words, and the cycle repeats. When the iPhone 4s came out it was the first with Siri on it. This was a way for us to connect to our technology with our voice. Then words have great meaning in religion. The name of various religion's god is significant: God, Allah, Buddha, etc.

Theme #2: True friendship can mend a soul

A true friend is like a diary: you can spill out anything and everything to them and you know you can trust them not to tell anyone and they'll help support you.

"There was an accordion in their ears, a snowman in their eyes, and for Liesel, there was the thought of Max's last words before she left him by the fire. ***CHRISTMAS GREETINGS FROM MAX VANDENBURG*** 'Often I wish this would all be over, Liesel, but then somehow you do something like walk down the basement steps with a snowman in your hands'" (313).

Based on Max's last words, he feels like he doesn't want to continue living. But when Liesel keeps doing things like walking, "down the basement steps with a snowman in your hands," that makes him want to keep living and it gives him hope. After Max and Liesel shared their nightmares with each other they became friends and Liesel began to look after Max and gave him hope for the unforeseeable future, one of which included building a snowman in their basement.

In this article by Shasta Nelson, she titles all of the sections of her article with, "I have this theory that friendship can save the world." In each section she focuses on a different part of that phrase. She focuses on what she means by "friendship" and "save" and "world" and what she thinks the outcome would be of her theory.

Theme #3: Words give unimportant people power

The sad, small, insignificant looking person can, with the help of powerful words, can rise up and become strong.

"THERE WAS once a strange, small man. He decided three important details about his life: 1. He would part his hair from the opposite side to everyone else. 2. He would make himself a strange, small mustache. 3. He would one day rule the world. The young man wandered around for quite some time, thinking, planning, and figuring out exactly how to make the world his. Then one day, out of nowhere, it struck him. He'd seen a mother walking with her child. At one point, she admonished the small boy, until he finally began to cry. Within a few minutes, she spoke very softly to him, after which he was soothed and even smiled. The young man rushed to the woman and embraced her. 'Words!' He grinned. 'What?' But there was no reply. He was already gone. Yes, the Fuhrer decided that he would rule the world with words."

In the very beginning Max's story that he wrote and left for Liesel he described how Hitler used words and rose from being pretty much an ordinary person to a person controlling an entire nation. This shows Liesel exactly how much power words can have over people and how much words have impacted her life and it also makes her loath Hitler for being so manipulative and turning everybody on the Jews as a scapegoat to make the nation feel better about themselves.

In this article by Nathan Bransford he digs into how words are vibrations of your vocal cords and the air or lines on a paper or pixels on a screen, but we give those much more meaning than that. We also decided on how much power goes behind each word and the usage of the words can give people power depending on which they choose and the order and timing in which they use them.

Summative Theme: True Friendship Can Mend a Soul


Created with images by dreamingofthesunshine - "f451_book_burning" • Calua - "book page open book" • ulleo - "woman's head statue stone" • 445693 - "mother child sculpture" • ACWG - "diary pen notebook" • NeuPaddy - "man board drawing"

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