Themes Within The Book Thief By: Nick Speirs

1: The safety of acceptance is dangerous

Max begins to produce his "collection of random thoughts" (Zusak 277). Within these we see two pictures, the former showing the charisma of Hitler and comparing him to a conductor of music. The latter shows two figures admiring the day on a pile of dead bodies.

Max understands how charismatic Hitler is, how he can conduct them and draw them away from the heinous acts taking place. This perfectly illustrates the German population. Hitler, much like a magician, misdirects the worlds view. The German people don't truly understand what is happening, even if they do they would prefer to conform and accept the ignorance. If everyone were to accept such evil, the world would look quite different

This ted talk by, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, we are introduced to the danger of looking from a single angle. Although this is a quite lax and friendly talk, in nature it is something that is quite scary. Looking from one way without taking the time to look in another is very dangerous. This way of thinking is akin to the German people during World War II. Next time you see something on the news think "What is not being shown?".

“The only reason you say that race was not an issue is because you wish it was not." -Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

2: Facing Reality Inspires Growth

Both Liesel and Rudy mature greatly and deal with hardships at a very young age. As the reader we see them mature throughout. Liesel witnesses her brothers death at a young age, and is abandoned by her mother (Zusak 20). Rudy faces more physical hardships as he is constantly protecting the weak and getting in fights. His father is drafted into the army because of Rudy's performance at the race track. His father does not wish to see his son go through the terrors of the Nazi experimental society and denies the Nazi's request (Zusak 411).

Liesel and Rudy face many hardships throughout their childhood. Although they are constantly feeling these things within themselves, they mature enough to keep it there. Rudy's jealousy of Hans returning home stays exactly that, jealousy. Liesel also keeps the traumatic death of her brother to herself, only letting out that pain once on the Mayor's wife. This level of maturity is sometimes not even seen in adults currently, some always complaining and bringing up past events. The Mayor's wife is a good example of this, torturing herself over an event see had no control over.

Syrian Refugees sleep on a crowded bus on the long journey to Europe.

Life for Refugees is unimaginably difficult. This NPR article follows the journey of Monzer to Europe. Countless hardships and massive amounts of Integrity are shown. These people have had lifes comparable or most likely more difficult than those of Liesel and Rudy. Having to leave their homeland with nothing but the clothes on their backs is hard to comprehend. Especially as laws are being passed to ban such people. All Americans should educate themselves on the reality of struggles in Syria and neighboring countries.

3: Judging humans is hubristic

Nazi Germany persecuted many people. These actions in part, lead to WWII. WWII lead to the end of Nazi Germany, with constant air raids destroying not only the Nazi's but also the German people's homes, communities, cities, and even lives. "This is Himmel. You got bombed, my girl. Es tut mir leid, Schatzi. I'm sorry, Darling" (Zusak 533). The air raids destroyed Himmel street, and killed most of the residents.

Nazi Germany persecuted many groups of people. As of today, Nazi Germany no longer exists. This excessive pride, this hubris, was the downfall of Nazi Germany. Believing that you and your group is better than all others is the definition of hubris. In the Greek myth, Hubris leads to Nemesis. Meaning that the excessive pride shown by the Nazis, specifically Hitler, would be the ultimate downfall.

Roosevelt performing his speech, "The Man in the Arena"

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood" - Roosevelt

The Man in the Arena is a very famous speech given by Roosevelt during his time in office. The overall meaning is very easy to grasp, and the deeper meaning do not lie very far after them. However, the message is very important. It has also become increasingly more important as of late. All Americans should read this speech and take it to heart. To avoid hubris, you must overcome incompetence and bigotry.

Facing Reality Inspires growth

Created By
Nick Speirs


Created with images by quinet - "German street" • Jaykhuang - "Cities Below & Beyond"

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