Examples Of Conformity In The Book Thief

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Christopher McCandless, American traveler, once said “So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality, nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit.” This quote is far more universally applicable than originally thought to be. Throughout one’s life, one will undoubtedly experience some form of conformity. The driving factor in a majority of these moments is fear; fear of not fitting in, or of not living up to society’s expectations. The only thing that lets one escape conformity is the truth known from past experiences. This …show more content…

Throughout The Book Thief, Hans faces a struggle in accepting what the Nazis are doing as proper. His internal thoughts and memories clash with what society deems acceptable. In this book’s time period, oppression of Jews is found necessary by society, but Hans recalls an incident of the past which the author uses to depict the theme. “A Jew had once saved his [Hans’] life and he couldn’t forget that. He couldn’t join a party [the Nazi Party] that antagonized people in such a way” (Zusak 180). Hans had constant internal battles about who he should side with. Ultimately, Hans ends up living upto his own values and attempts to save a Jew from his imminent death. In The Giver, Jonas faces the same internal conflict. The memories that Jonas is exposed to cause him to wish to escape his “perfect” community that has been kept the same for years. Once Jonas experiences these true emotions, he realizes that the feelings expressed in his society are nowhere near the level of depth that true feelings possess, thus reinforcing the theme. “But now Jonas had experienced real sadness... He knew that there was no quick comfort for emotions like those. These were deeper and they did not need to be told. They were felt” (Lowry 166). These emotions cause Jonas to see how isolated his community really is, later pushing him to run away, escaping his …show more content…

In Zusak’s The Book Thief, the setting is of a strict Nazi world where only certain ideas and opinions are allowed to be spread and engraved in society. The setting is best represented through The Word Shaker, a short story written by Max Vandenburg, the Jew that Hans Hubermann saved from persecution. Max’s story revolves around symbolism, showing how Hitler came to power, and clearly showcasing the theme. He writes “They [the people of Germany] were all placed on a conveyor belt and run through a rampant machine that gave them a lifetime in ten minutes. Words were fed into them. Time disappeared and they now knew everything they needed to know. They were hypnotized” (Zusak 446). Max’s story describes how Hitler’s ideas were forced onto the people, and they were not given a choice on whether or not they agreed with them. These ideas spread by the people’s fear in not conforming with the rest of society, demonstrating how people so mindlessly do what their community forces upon them when lacking memories to fight back. A similar idea of this society can be seen in The Giver. The book’s utopian society has a rule for everything. Strict laws prevent true feelings and emotions from being expressed. While the characters do not realize that they are living under conformity, the author emphasizes the setting as a way to present the theme. The theme is best described by Jonas when the Giver, the

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