The Book Thief Themes By Audrey altenhof

  • Simple Comforts Can Come in Ordinary Packages
"All the kids were mashed, right before her eyes, and in a moment of brilliance, she imagined herself reading the entire page in faultless, fluency-filled triumph" (77 Zusak).

For Liesel, she takes comfort in reading and learning letters and words with her father and this is her comfort in a time with war and struggle all around her. When she is reading she is in her own mind and never is distracted by deep struggles and is instead invested deeply in her books. Its wonderful in a way because a small ordinary object that wasn't really relished in this time period is one of Liesel's most prize possessions. - (Link for if button doesn't work)

A real world example of comfort for others is in a link above. The example is taking comfort in God and having a higher power there for you always. In the real world example, their are multiple bible verses. I picked this link as my example because in the real world, others who are strong with their faith take comfort in the bible and leaning on God when times get tough just like Liesel takes comfort in reading.

  • Pleasing Society Over Morals
In the book after Hans gives bread to a helpless Jew and is whipped for it the book reads, "Thoughts of panic were caught between the ins-and-out struggle of his breath. They'll come now. They'll come. What was I thinking? Oh my God, Liesel what have I done?" (396 Zusak).

The society in which The Book Thief is set in is very strict and has much different morals than what we have now in America. When Hans gave bread to a random jew that was struggling to walk, he wasn't thinking about the after affects and punishments and instead was just being kind because his morals involve kindness to all. Once he was whipped and punished by Nazi's for being kind he no longer thought that those type of actions were right and just anymore and Hans will most likely never do something like this in the rest of the book in order to please the society he lives in. -(link to example)

Above is a real world example of an article talking about 'people pleaser's' in the world and how by being a people pleaser you are also a fraud. This relates to the theme Pleasing Society Over Morals because in this article it explains how society will see you even if you just want to make others happy, people will kind of assume that you want something out of it as well.

  • Words are Powerful
"She opened the book, and again, the words found their way upon all those present in the shelter" (Zusak 442).

Liesel shares her reading abilities while her and her neighbors are panicked and uneasy in a bomb shelter. She started off just reading out loud to herself in the beginning of the book, but when people wanted to listen and now had something to look forward too in a scary situation, she made it a tradition. Words shared with others and read in books or seen anywhere can give people emotion in their everyday lives. In The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak shows the affect words can have in a terrifying situation such as being in a bomb shelter possibly waiting to die or not. The simple words from a book give everyone in the shelter a sort of comfort that no one else gave them. (Link to example just in case)

In this real life example for the theme of 'Words are Powerful', I used bible verses that people read in real life. The verses picked are about how words convey more than just information to people. Words can show an image, give light to an unclear situation, stir up emotions, even bring up mixed feelings about other topics. For people in the real world we understand that words are so powerful that we worship books (like the bible) and value these words so much that most people live their daily lives by what they read or hear in church.

Created By
Student Audrey Altenhof


Created with images by Septemia - "books" • Pexels - "book book pages close-up" • Eli Sugus - "Nazis." • ToniaD - "bible read christianity"

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