The Book Thief Language Analysis

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One of the most undeniably powerful things in this world is language. Words are incredibly influential, and are used accordingly. They are used for good and for bad, but how does their purpose affect how people react to them? Markus Zusak’s novel, The Book Thief, revolves around the influence that words have on people, both negative and positive. The story is about a young girl named Liesel who comes to her foster parents as an illiterate, unsettled child, but discovers the power of stories and language as she grows up in Nazi Germany. In The Book Thief, the author shows that while words of violence and hatred are powerful, words of kindness and compassion have a greater effect on people. With The Book Thief being set in Germany prior…show more content…
When Liesel’s town is bombed and her family, friends, and neighbors all die, the narrator observes the fact that the girl “survived because she was sitting in a basement reading through the story of her own life” (Zusak 498). The alarms did not go off in time, and Liesel was saved because she was not asleep; instead, she was in her house’s basement reading through a book that she had written about her life. Also, it can be noted from the text that “by reading and rereading her beloved books, Liesel learns the soothing ability of words” (Haegele). While in her foster parents’ care, she discovers a passion and desire for reading and becomes a book thief, hence the title of the novel. The books that she is exposed to bring her comfort and a feeling of security during a time of fear and turbulence. Through the protagonist’s reaction towards language, Zusak presents his message “that any place of darkness and "walled-in tragedy" can be transfigured, in the end, by the extraordinary power of words” (Koprince). This shows that the author believes that words of compassion and kindness are more influential than words of hatred because Liesel is able to overcome her hardships because of her newfound

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