"With a clean-shaven face and lopsided yet neatly combed hair, he had walked out of that building a new man. In fact, he walked out a German. Hang on a second, he was German. Or more to the point, he had been" (Zusak 159).
Max can never identify or categorize himself as a German man because all of his life he has only identified himself as being a Jew. He is now trying to change his identity and become a "new man" because of the society he lives in and the environment that surrounds him. Also, some of the characters in the book such as Liesel, aren't very big supporters of Hitler but if they express their true opinions, there will be consequences for them so they have to fake it and keep quiet. One wrong move can result in an instant death for anyone. In order to stay alive, a Jew must stay hidden and not reveal their true self.
In this article, "Where does identity come from?", explains all of the different things and characteristics that determine ones identity and how it is formed. It explains that your life is a whole work in progress and how your brain and who you are is shaped by the choices you make about yourself everyday. In order to shape the identity you want and want others to see, you need to make the choices you need to everyday in order to achieve that otherwise other people will shape your identity for you.
Theme 2: The Power Of Words Is The Most Powerful Force There Is