Irony In The Book Thief

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The novel The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a story of a young girl named Liesel Meminger, who is a foster child living in Nazi Germany amidst the impending war. On Liesel’s journey to her new family’s home, several significant changes take place - her brother dies and her mother leaves as soon as the foster family and Liesel are introduced. Liesel discovers something she cannot resist – the feeling of stealing books. Although, "They had no qualms about stealing,” so she was soon stealing books from book burnings, the mayors’ library or wherever they are to be found (Zusak 29). Hans Hubermann, her foster father, teaches Liesel to read to the best of his ability. During the bombing raids, she shares her books with neighbors, as well as the Jewish man that has been…show more content…
Additionally, Mr. Zusak also employs culturally-specific vocabulary throughout the novel, which feeds the reader’s need for a more wide-spread knowledge of the huge country and its dreadful history. For example, the Hubermann’s live on a small street named Himmel and, “whoever named Himmel Street has a healthy sense of irony. Not that it was a living hell. It wasn't. But it sure wasn't heaven, either” (Zusak 5). Himmel in German translates to Heaven, giving the narrator a sarcastic tone when this is said. Furthermore, the author uses text features to help emphasize messages throughout the novel. To illustrate, Zusak uses boldface printing for all of Death’s announcements, which in turn, gives small hints about what will happen in the future. One bold-face sentence reads, “A Small Announcement About Rudy Steiner…he didn't deserve to die the way he did” (Zusak 37). In the text provided, these segments are used for a few of Death’s favorite distractions: foreshadowing and plot-spoiling the book, which he does quite often throughout. Death clarifies, “Of course I'm being rude. I'm spoiling the ending… I don't have much interest in building mystery. Mystery bores
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