Book Thief Themes by: Maddie velasquez

Theme 1: Courage requires fear.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to move beyond it.

"Liesel, if you tell anyone about the man up there, we will all be in big trouble"(Zusak 203).

If one person found out the Hubermanns' were hiding Max, no matter if it's the mayor's wife or Rudy, every one of their lives are at stake. Although they know this, Hans and Rosa don't let the fear stop them from helping poor Max Vandenburg. Even if all of them are terrified for their lives, courage leads them. Even as a nine to ten year old girl, even though she knows she could get taken away from her family, she has so much courage to protect herself and her family from finding Max. Liesel keeping the secret could either lead them to complete success of hiding Max, or be the demise of their family. Either way, fear will not stop them from helping and saving others.

Although these two issues are from two different parts of the world, two kinds of people are being targeted for something that they are. Harriet and the Hubermanns' are similar because although they seem like they are living in the right direction as everyone else, their hiding and saving lives whether its over 500 or 1. Everyone's lives are at stake but fear is just as present as courage. Courage leads while fear falls behind. No matter the circumstances, neither of them have let anything get in their way, whether that is working around what could hurt them, or strategically figuring out their next step. Neither the Hubermanns' or Harriets' stories are easy, it just shows how dedicated and determined they are to fight for others whether their actions are big or small.

Theme 2: Death is the greatest constant.

Death only impacts the living.

" 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, 5).

Although this novel is about how a young girl steals books during the holocaust and goes through all these different situations at home, the story itself is narrated by death. Constantly there, overshadowing every move of every human that walks the earth. Liesel is surrounded by death. Her brother, the pilot, her mother, etc. Yet, she is the one who has to deal with the aftermath of death. Death is an ending for some, but a never ending memory for the living. She has nightmares, over and over, thinking of her brother on that train taking his last breath. Her brother doesn't have to deal with nightmares because he simply is resting in peace while his sister is tortured by something forever. Death is constant.

Although some may not experience the aftermath of death, they still have to deal with the fact that one day, they too will die. There is never a certain time or place, your soul could be taken at any moment. Death in the story and in real life are no different than each other. From books to TV shows to actual life, everyone who has experienced it has understood the pain and suffering that may accompany it. Liesel is used to having nightmares of her brother, and so may your neighbor next door but you will never know yourself. Death is inevitable. Time and Death go hand in hand, the only thing we can do is live while you can and not worry for when your time is up. The novel and real life are the same when it comes to this topic.

Theme 3: The power of words can change others

Words are powerful. They can create or they can destroy. So choose your words wisely.

"I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right"(Zusak, 528).

The power of words is so vibrant in this novel, the moment Liesel picks up the "Grave Diggers Handbook" we figure out soon enough that those words changed her. Although in the beginning of the novel, Liesel doesn't have much education of language itself, it still reels her in wanting more and more. Throughout the entire book, Liesel gains knowledge time and time again and constantly stealing books and learning more about things she never thought were imaginable. The power of words were a coping mechanism for her for the duration of these dark times. One of the moments that was so interesting and proof that words do change people, is when Liesel had read to everyone in the bomb shelter. It helped them focus on something else other than the destruction that was happening around them. It brought them closer. Words are more powerful than you can imagine.

Although all of the examples together are all completely different, they all stay along the same string of ideas. From Liesels love for books and how they helped her cope with the massive destruction in the world around her to how words can change peoples perspectives and change the way they view life from today to tomorrow. All in all, we learn that each word is just a different combination of different letters with completely different meanings that fill a dictionary and can create stories upon stories. Although words are this way, anyone could ask you any question right now and it could make you think in a million different directions. Stories whether fiction or true can sway someones ideology on a subject in seconds. Just let the words sink in.

Summative Theme: The power of words can change others

This is Marissa, she died 3 years after this picture was taken.


Created with images by luisclx - "card paper texture" • VinothChandar - "Courage!!!" • nile - "hourglass time hours" • matuska - "book paper printed book"

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