The Book Thief Analysis

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Trauma underlines the life of Liesel Meminger. Most of the major events that take place in her life are trauma inducing to some extent and a lot of her later actions seem to be rooted in these traumatic events. Based on the psychoanalytic ideas of Sigmund Freud, and later Jacques Lacan and Cathy Caruth, trauma theory purports that when traumatic events occur, the brain in a protective gesture, blocks them from fully entering consciousness. They are buried in the depths of the mind, for the large part inaccessible to the conscious individual in normal everyday life. However these traumatic stimuli refuse to stay repressed and resurface in the form of intrusive images or nightmares as symptoms of trauma-related illnesses such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). The narration of the story by Death greatly helps in putting things in perspective with respect to the bigger picture. The suffering of Liesel is put in comparison with events that take place outside of her life, the other events and consequences of World War 2 and the Holocaust. Through this omniscient and third person point of view, The Book Thief while not trivializing Liesel’s experiences at the same time does not allow the understanding of the Holocaust in the narrative to be limited by the perspective of a child. Thus through trauma theory, the various traumatic incidents in her life and their respective consequences will be studied followed by the exploration of stealing books and writing as a coping
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