Archetypes In The Book Thief

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Imagine, a girl sits in a burning hellscape, the sky burning red, and the street is littered with bodies, holding her dead father in her arms. In the historical fiction novel, The Book Thief, Markus Zusak writes to young adults about the time in the life of a little girl, Liesel Meminger, growing up in Nazi Germany through the eyes of death. A big reason the book is so emotional is due to Zusak’s way of writing which makes it so strong. He uses wording and metaphor to build up emotional gut punches, writes archetypes and settings in a way to attach readers to them, and outlines his themes using symbols to express said themes. Markus is an expert in wording and metaphor. He uses his mastery to invoke emotion and bring power to his writing …show more content…

These additions give a familiar feeling to the story and create contrast of living. The archetypes that can be seen while reading draw readers in and immerse them, because there is that familiar sense of personality in a character. Zusak describes Liesel’s foster mother, Rosa, with a “squat shape” and “almost cute, if it wasn’t for her face, which was like creased up cardboard and annoyed” (27). Mrs. Hubermann, while already being Liesel's foster mother, gives off a mother vibe through the way she is described, through her being plump and no nonsense demeaner. These motherly archetypes get readers familiar with the character without her speaking a single time. The reader can attach to her sooner and start feeling emotion for longer, in turn making the feelings about her stronger. The setting in the book also holds significance and creates irony and contrast. In the book, there is a street “by the name of Himmel. Translation: Himmel = Heaven” (25). The name for this street brings somewhat of a bitter irony because it is the only place that gets bombed in Molching, the town Liesel lives in, and leaves everyone dead. The bombing is not the only horrible thing to happen on “Heaven” street though, there are Jewish prisoners marched through and constant bomb threats. These horrible events make heaven street not a place of after worldly peace, but a living hell. The reader slowly goes through these events slowly, souring their view on how this place is. The name does not just make everything ironic, but it contrasts the bombing too. Heaven is turned into hell with the bombs, becoming a desolate landscape, not at all how nirvana is usually described. These two pieces work to add more detail, to attach readers and make them feel stronger when their time comes, and when it does, they feel sad, and they feel

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