Examples Of Human Nature In The Book Thief

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Humans lie and steal without hesitation to survive. That is how man is. However, human nature does not allow for cruelty to exist without the other end of the spectrum - kindness. In his novel, The Book Thief, Markus Zusak reveals the extreme malice possible in humans, along with the tenderness that stems from it. In times of hate and paranoia in Nazi Germany, ones who live morally are rare. The need to survive takes over most of the people, leading them to act cruelly. Even in desperation, there are those who rise above chaos to fight in countering the harshness of society. Zusak suggests that when man understands that they must carry out kindness in the midst of cruelty they are empowered as individuals to fight for the survival of humanity.
Zusak’s use of symbols highlight the shining kindness in the darkness cruelty, which in turn gives man the strength to fight for the existence of humanity. He demonstrates the extreme kindness necessary to accept others, especially enemies, in times of paranoia. Through an act of innocence in the midst of violence, a bubble of warmth, however fragile, is created. “He placed the smiling teddy bear cautiously onto the pilot’s shoulder” (Zusak 490). The teddy bear is symbolic of the human qualities of kindness and purity. It is an object of comfort to children, and children are seen as innocent. Therefore, the teddy bear being given to an enemy pilot is a representation of how Rudy does not see the man as guilty, but rather just a man

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