The Book Thief Themes By: Kendra Erwin

Theme 1: Fear Lives Everywhere

"Look proud, he advised himself. You cannot look afraid. Read the book. Smile at it. Its a great book -- the greatest book you've ever read. Ignore the woman on the other side. She's asleep now anyway. Come on Max, you're only a few hours away" (Zusak, 158).

This quote from "The Book Thief" shows the fear that Max has while traveling to Himmel Street. He was going to live in a safer place where there was a smaller chance of him being caught. Max is Jewish and was worried he was going to get caught while traveling. Although he wasn't doing anything wrong at the time he was still worried that he was going to get caught and killed. This quote shows the fear that Max has by going out in public, be couldn't take a simple trip without worrying his life was at stake.


"Fear is a part of life. It is part of the range of feelings that humans experience on a daily basis. In our culture, fear has come to be experienced as negative. However, the truth is that fear is a perfectly normal feeling to experience and we would all feel a lot better if we simply allowed ourselves to feel it fully. If we do not we will have somatic symptoms of fear that are much more painful than simply allowing the feeling to be felt."

This poem written about fear perfectly describes that everyone has fear. Everyone handles fear differently and sometimes its better for you to accept your fear. Max has so much fear when traveling, he is worried he will be caught and loose his life. The fear in Max's life is controlling him, he can no longer go out in public without worrying. Fear is everywhere, causing people to live their life fearing for the worst possible situation.

Theme 2: Don't judge a book by its cover

"The mayor's wife opened the door and she was not holding the bag, like she normally would. Instead, she stepped aside and motioned with her chalky hand and wrist for the girl to enter" (Zusak, 133).

This quote perfectly describes why you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Liesel was afraid of going to the mayor's door because she thought she was going to get in trouble, but after facing her fear and going up to the door she realized that it wasn't as bad as she thought it would be. She was worried the mayor's wife was going to be mad at her for stealing a book but the mayors wife was very welcoming and let her into their house to see the library.

Don't judge a book by its cover

"While you judge me by my outward appearance I am silently doing the same to you, even though there is a ninety- percent chance in both cases our assumptions are wrong ."

This quote is a perfect way to explain the way people judge others. Everyone looks around judging others, without knowing anything about them. Most of the time when you are judging people your assumptions about them are wrong. You are better off getting to know someone before judging them. Someones outward appearance has nothing to do with their personality and the decisions they make. Someone that looks different or odd, may turn out totally different then you thought they would be.

Theme 3: The Kindness and Cruelty of Humans

When she came and stood with an impossibly frail steadfastness, she was holding a tower of books against her stomach, from her navel to the beginnings of her breasts. She looked so vulnerable in the monstrous doorway. Long, light eyelashes and just the slightest twinge of expression. A suggestion. Come and see, it said (Zusak, 134).

This quote perfectly describes the kindness that the mayors wife showed towards Liesel. She was very nervous to go to the mayors house and when the mayors wife opened the door and welcomed her into the house she was shocked. The mayors wife showed unexpected kindness that meant a lot to Liesel.


This article is about the way the Jews were treated during the concentration camps. The jews were treated very cruel. This article tells us about how they were treated and what they went through during the terrible time with the Nazi's.


Created with images by ** RCB ** - "books" • francoiskarm - "fear" • HerryLawford - "Firhill, Droxford" • Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) - "Quotes - Kindness"

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