Themes from the book thief by: rachel Key

Theme 1: Identity Is formed around ones environment and culture.

"Perhaps it's impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be." Orson Scott Card

"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

"Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble."

"The words. Why did they have to exist? Without them, there wouldn't be any of this. Without words, the Führer was nothing." (Zusak

In this moment, Liesel was so disappointed with the words that she tore up a book. In many ways, Hitler's rise to power was made possible by words. Hitler would rely on mass communication and technology to convey the message of hate and to bring a nation in its service. The book thief uses words and language to heal, save, and fight against injustice. With the German words and phrases throughout the book, it helps to see some of the positive things the language can embody. This is important because after World War II and the holocaust, German was seen as a language of hate and fear. Throughout the book it explains that its not about the language you speak in or the words you say that is important, but how you say them.

This article talks mostly about how words shape ideas and give them form and our ideas shape our deeds and give them meaning. It relates to the book thief and real life because of how many things impact our identities and things that go on around us.

Theme 3: Being oblivious and unaware is better than being unhappy and knowledgable.

"More the knowledge lesser the ego. Lesser the knowledge more the ego..." Albert Einstein

“The shadow’s identity and the fact that it had seen everything...” (Zusak 82)

This quote is when death was basically explaining how a person is able to stand back and watch things going on around them as if it is nothing yet understand everything that is going on around. I feel like this is a huge theme in the book thief because they knew that they couldn't reveal who they really were or they would be punished for being a jew so they chose to go with the flow of everyone else and only learn what Hitler wanted them to. They were oblivious to what was supposed to be happening around them and they were oblivious to what they were supposed to learn because Hitler only let them become knowledgable on what he wanted and his powers.

This article was from the point of view of someone who experienced what it was like to be in a Nazi school and taught only what Hitler wanted them to know. In the article, all teachers were brainwashed to follow the party's antisemitic policy. Teachers were also forced to refute their former political beliefs. The person sharing their story in this article also said "My class teacher called me over and tried to explain this new situation, as it affected his relationship with me. “I will have to teach Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf, but be assured I will not let the class express the Judenhass [hatred of Jews] against you.” This goes to show how Jews were forced to learn but it would have been better for them to be oblivious than to learn the way Hitler wanted them to.

Summative Theme: Identity is formed around ones culture and environment.


Created with images by siala - "old book lantern magnifying glass" • RobertG NL - "Words" • Tessss - "Books of Knowledge."

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