The Book Thief written by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief is a compelling piece of literature that is told from the perspective of Death. Death tells the story of a German girl, Liesel and how she steals her first book at the gravesite of her dead brother and her new life with a new family where she makes new friends. From helping her mom with her laundry business she became close with the mayors wife who had a giant library. Her family also struggles through World War II as they hide their Jewish friend in their basement. This coming of age provides details how she becomes a book thief and deals with the hardships of living in her town in the time that she did.
The Lord of the Flies written by William Goulding
The Lord of the Flies is a story that contains mischief, questioning the true intents of humanity, savagery, and survival. A group of British boys, ages ranging from 6-12, end up stranded on an island with no adults there to hold any order. They are forced to come together and try to survive. The stories introduces many fundamental characters. Ralph who becomes the trusted leader. Piggy the intelligent, reasonable one, and Jack the intimidating dictator.
William Goulding was born in England 1911. He went to Oxford and became a High school teacher. He fought in World War II in the navy. The affects of the war were great on him. His view of humanity decreased to a whole new level. He at first believed the best in humans, but from the war he discovered how easy it was for a man to turn dark so quickly. He saw the inhumane side of humanity. After the war he went back to teaching and eventually wrote The Lord of The Flies. Many of his experiences with the war and teaching young boys contributed to the ideas written about in his book.
Markus Zusak, writer of The Book Thief, was born to an Austrian father and a German mother, both of whom experienced World War II firsthand in their native countries. The Book Thief was largely inspired by stories his parents told him as a child about wartime Munich and Vienna. Zusak has specifically singled out two stories his mother told him, one of the bombing of Munich, and one of Jews being marched through Zusak's mother's town on their way to the Dachau concentration camp.
Theme is a commonly discussed and thought of topic. It is emphasized repeatedly in both the Lord of The Flies and The Book Thief. There are several themes that both books commonly share; loss of innocence, savagery, survival, and death. Loss of innocence is huge in the Lord of the Flies. These boys are forced to work together to stay alive through trying to find order, arranging plans to find food, creating shelters, etc. All of which are adult activities therefore the lose of their innocence, forcing them to become men. Within The Book Thief, Lesiel starts out as a little girl who looses her brother, leaves her mother, joins a family of strangers, has to learn to trust others, learns to read, begins to steal books and other things, all during the midst of a world war. She must quickly learn to grow up and make smart decisions. Her many encounters with death have surely took her innocence. Savagery is more present in LOTF than The Book Thief. The boys towards the end of the book are depicted as 'savages' with weapons, face paint, harsh actions, and barely any clothes. Goulding's ideas lead to the conclusion that he believes that all humans have an "animal' and "savage" side. The 'beast' the boys all are afraid of is actually inside each of those boys. They worship a dead pig they killed, and they fight, torture, and kill one another, all signs of savagery. In the Book Thief, a theme of "savage" mostly comes from Hitler and the Nazi and the role that they play in the book. Their harsh choices and actions have a huge affect on Lesiel and her family and friends, especially Max their Jewish friend they hide. Germany worships a mass murder, Lesiel steals food to eat and gets in fist fights with other children. Max and Hans also get beaten by Nazi again showing more violence and savagery. Survival is a theme that is also more present in LOTF. The whole story is about the boys trying to survive on the island, from one another, from who they are becoming, and survive the beast inside them. During their lives in Germany Lesiel and her family and friends must survive the war, the trials they face, the death, the loss, and everything that comes with hiding a Jew in their home. Death is another theme commonly referred to. It occurs repeadedly throughout The Book Thief. Death takes everyone Lesiel loves. It faces her and takes her innocence, helps her to grow up. LOFT has some death, specifically that of Simon. Simon was a kind boy who after talking with the pig head came out from the forest where all the boys thought he was the beast and killed him. This represents how the boys were blinded by their thirst for violence, power, and selfishness that they couldn't tell it was Simon. It helps proves Goulding's point that we are all animals deep inside. Piggy is also taken by death which can symbolize their loss of reason, intelligence, and any sense of hope. Theme is a major component and aspect of both books, where both would be nothing without it.
Characters are a vital component of a story. Without them there would be no story. They give life and purpose to a plot line. The Lord of the Flies develops several characters specifically Ralph, Jack, and Piggy. The Book Thief involves Lesiel, Hans, and some of Hitler. First to be analyzed is the similarities between Hans and Piggy. Hans is Lesiel's kind, patient, and intelligent father. Piggy is the boy on the island who is not athletic but very smart. Both Piggy and Hans represent hope and a source of wisdom in their books. They both are physically weak but mentally strong. Hans' accordion and Piggy's glasses both have great meaning in the story, they both symbolize hope, happiness, a source of light, a tool in which will help them to "survive" in a sense. Both Ralph and Lesiel possess many similar qualities as well. Ralph is the boy on the island that is well- liked, kind, a strong leader, committed to his beliefs, and the developing character in the book. Lesiel has suffered many tragedies from many deaths to leaving her family to suffering during World War II. She is a strong independent girl who knows what she wants while still caring for others. Her main theme that she grew into and discovered was the power of words. Words became a huge part in her life. Both Lesiel and Ralph are a center for morals. They both believe in justice and both disagree with the actions of their antagonists (Lesiel- Hitler, Ralph-Jack). Finally there is Jack and Hitler. Hitler, as well known he is, was the leader of the Nazi army. He believed in a certain society that didn't include all humans. He was a dictator who used his persuasion, power, and numbers to convince people to follow him and create this "dream society". He doesn't understand kindness or compassion. He, in a way, develops 'savage' like attributes. Jack is very similar. He too becomes obsessed with dictatorship and power and controlling everyone. He uses intimidation and violence to control the boys. Both provide a sense of fear in those around them. All of these characters between both books carry similar qualities that lead to an interesting, animating story.
Symbols carry a mass importance through both books. First to describe the symbols in The Book Thief. Words. Words and the way they are used, the way they describe things, and how they affect humans is a huge theme and symbol in this book. Lesiel develops a very strong connection to books and words. They are how she grows and matures. She uses books and words to lift others, especially max, up out of the darkness of the war. They are a sense of order and right. They help keep life under control. This is similar to the conch in LOFT. The conch represents order. It is used as a way of controlling who speaks. It keeps the life of these boys from mass chaos. As was mentioned earlier Han's accordion is another major symbol in The Book Thief. It is a symbol of hope, happiness, and a tool to help others, to lift them up. Similarly is Piggy's glasses, which represents intelligence and is a tool that helps the boys with fire and other resources. The boys are constantly fighting over the power and control of that intelligence and source of technology. Leading back to the idea of savagery. Similar to Hans' accordion, fire in LOTF also represents a source of hope. It does until Jack lets that hope burn out. Finally the beast is also a huge symbol in LOTF and can also be found in the Book Thief. At first the boys all think the beast is some creature lurking in the woods waiting to makes it move, but as they soon come to realize, their is no actual beast. The beast, in fact, is within each of the boys. They become just like a beast in their actions and words. Hitler, is also seen as a beast to many people. His actions put fear in the hearts of many . Overall these symbols provide meaning and thought to both stories, provoking ideas for many readers.