Individuality In The Book Thief

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The Importance of Individuality “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” Ray Bradbury’s famous quote shows that while differences are disliked by many people, persuading people to be the same is like destroying a culture, eliminating the possibility of future developments. Can being different possibly save a life? While many people see individuality and differences as embarrassing, it is an important part of human life. In The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, the characters discover that it is harmful to hide from their differences. In The Book Thief, the main character, Liesel Meminger, is ridiculed for her inability to read in class. However,…show more content…
In both texts, the main character’s actions change throughout the book as they realize that differences are the most important. In The Book Thief, Liesel is teased at first because she can’t read. She “gave Ludwig Schmeikl the hiding of a lifetime” for making fun of her (Zusak 79). Her actions are to blend in at first, and she learns to read with Hans at night. However, throughout the book, she becomes more confident in being different, and she steals books even though Rudy thinks this is strange and unique. In The Book Thief, Hans “held his hand out and presented a piece of bread, like magic” to a Jew that was starving in the concentration camp (Zusak 394). In the Nazi German society, this type of selflessness is looked down upon and punishable. The people in The Book Thief shamed him and “called him a Jew lover” and “was whipped on the street” (Zusak 394). Was this a pointless act that got both the Jew and Hans punished? Death, the narrator, believes that at least “the old man would die like a human” (Zusak 395). Selflessness is a crucial part to a functional society. Liesel and Hans’ selflessness is uncommon, and the author shows how they realize this through the course of the book. Even though it seems like everyone is unanimous in Nazi Germany, not everyone thinks the same, and certainly not everyone supports the Nazi party, like Hans Hubermann. In A Wrinkle in Time, Meg’s action also define how she is ashamed of being different, and also having a brother that is considered different and strange. Meg had “thrown the books on the side of the road and tackled him with every ounce of strength she had, and arrived home with her blouse torn and a big bruise under one eye” (L’Engle 4). When the principal at school talks to her, Meg says “I’m not ashamed of anything I’m saying” when talking about her father not coming home (L’Engle 25). This shows that after her visit from Mrs Whatsit the
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