The Book Thief Themes By: Madeleine Gamard

Theme 1: Bullies Can Be Overcome

"Some people won't be happy until they've pushed you to the ground. What you have to do is have the courage to stand your ground and not give them the time of day. Hold on to your power and never give it away."

"Come on, Liesel." He stuck the book under nose. "Help me out, will you?" Liesel helped him out alright. She stood up and took the book from him and as he smiled over his shoulder at some other kids, she threw it away and kicked him as hard as she could in the vicinity of the groin. Well, as you might imagine, Ludwig Schmeikl certainly buckled, and on the way down, he was punched in the ear" (Zusak 78).

Ever since Liesel recited something from "The Grave Diggers Handbook", she's been getting teased a lot for it. Her classmates, specifically Ludwig Schmeikl and his friends, would tease her and ask her for help. She would try to ignore them and just focus on herself, but they just kept bothering her. Liesel finally decided that enough was enough. She went up to Ludwig and did something that she probably never did before. By doing this, Liesel proved that bullies can be overcome.

The article, "From Bullied to Bravery," is based on a true story. This article is narrated by a 15 year old girl named Ally Del Monte. She shares her experiences with others from kids to teens to adults. Ally hopes to help out those who have been suffering from depression and bullying. This shows that there will be times when you can't do anything and all you can do is just stand there and be insulted. But if you are confident in yourself then you will have the opportunity to be more powerful than the bully and never be afraid anymore. The bullies don't control your life, you do.

Theme 2: Family Is a Blessing or a Curse

"Having somewhere to go is HOME. Having someone to love is FAMILY. Having both is a BLESSING."
"Our relationship was cursed by the fact that we agreed on everything."

"Liesel, if you tell anyone about that man up there, we will all be in big trouble." He walked the fine line of scaring her into oblivion and soothing her enough to keep her calm. He fed her the sentences and watched with his metallic eyes. Desperation and placidity. "At the very least, Mama and I will be taken away" (Zusak, 202-203).

Before Max ever existed in the Hubermann's life, the Hubermann's family had quite an alright bond with one another. Liesal and her father were close and she was somewhat close with her step-mother. They're family was a blessing. Later, Max Vandenberg, a Jew appeared in the Hubermann's life. Max was very happy to have a "family" to be with, but he was also afraid because the Hubermann's life are at risk for taking care of him and keeping him hidden. Unfortunately, Hans gave a piece of bread to a Jew in front of a crowd. This caused suspicion and Max was told to leave for his own safety. This proves that yes, having a family is nice thing, but never get your hopes up cause it never turns out the way you want it to be.

The article, "The Blessing or Curse," written by Kristen, tells us blessing or curses between wealthy families and poor families. Do poor people also feel blessed or do they feel like they are cursed? Just because these families are all wealthy and they can do all of these things, that doesn't mean they are blessed. It could also mean that they are cursed. This relates a lot to "The Book Thief." To sum it all up, families never TRULY know if they are blessed are cursed. You just have to live with what God gave you.

Theme 3: Death is Humans Worst Enemy

"Rain falls because the clouds can no longer handle it's weight just like tears fall, because the heart cannot handle the pain."

"The survivors. They're the ones I can't stand to look at, although on many occasions I still fail. I deliberately seek out the colors to keep my mind off of them, but now and then, I witness the ones who are left behind, crumbling among the jigsaw puzzle of realization, despair, and surprise. They have punctured hearts. They have beaten lungs." (Zusak 4-5)

Death is the narrator of the story. Throughout the book, he shows us his experience with collecting human souls. Humans worst fear is death. It is a natural part that exist in their life, but they are so afraid of it. All they really worry about is their future. They're desperate to know when and how they will die. In "The Book Thief", Hans gives a piece of bread to Jew during a march parade. His punishment was being whipped. Ever since that incident, the only thing Hans has been thinking of was being taken away by the Nazis and waiting for the day to die. This proves that death is humans worst enemy.

In the article, "Your Worst Enemy: Death," written by Jack Cottrell tells us that the worst villain in the world is Death. He tells us that death is our worst enemy because of five reasons: Nature, Sins, Kings who have usurped the power of the whole Earth, Tool of Satan, and it's a door to Final Judgement. These reasons relates to "The Book Thief." A War is happening, bombings are occurring, there are even people who creating a huge sin. Yes, death may be a scary thing to imagine about, but there are only three things you have to worry about: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.


Cottrell, Jack. "YOUR WORST ENEMY: DEATH." Jack Cottrell. N.p., 31 Oct. 2014. Web. 05 Mar. 2017.

Kristen, Flower Patch Farmgirl Says, Rachel Says, Kristi Says, As Says, Work Inprogress Says, Melissa Says, Crystal @ Serving Joyfully Says, Carissa Says, Molly Says, Theresa Says, Juliette Says, Skya Says, Suzanne Says, Ann Says, Amy Says, Areli Says, Kara Says, Chris K. Says, Britni Says, Brooke Says, Julie V. Says, Kathy B. Says, Jamie Stovall Says, Trish Says, Lisa Woodman Says, Judy Says, Ben Says, Karri Says, Tami Says, Denise M. Fleming Says, and Openerp Implementation Says. "The Blessing (Or Curse) of Stuff and What We Are Really Teaching Our Kids." Kristen Welch. N.p., 02 Dec. 2015. Web. 05 Mar. 2017.

Marcela Rojas, The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal News. "From Bullied to Bravery: One Girl's Story." USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, 24 Oct. 2013. Web. 05 Mar. 2017.

Zusak, Markus. Book Thief. Place of Publication Not Identified: Black Swan, 2016. Print.

Main Theme: Death is Humans Worst Enemy


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