The Book Thief Literary Analysis

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Can something be beautiful and terrible at the same time? That is the question Death strives to answer regarding humanity in Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. World War II was a tragic event caused by the hatred of one man toward a group of people, the Jews, and subsequently, anyone who was against him. The book’s focus is not on the war itself, but on the lives of a handful of people and their actions. In this book, Death recounts the story of Liesel Meminger, a ten-year old German girl, who faces tragedy throughout her time in Molching, Germany. Liesel’s life is turned upside-down when Max, a Jew, comes to stay with her foster family, going against everything she has been taught. Liesel and Max quickly form a forbidden friendship that stretches their understanding of truth and love. With paradox, irony, and symbolism, Zusak brings the plot…show more content…
The narrator of this story is Death, which in itself is a paradox because death is not a living thing and therefore cannot have an opinion or make decisions. Throughout The Book Thief, Death often adds in his own opinion or foreshadows something to come. He also interjects straight-out spoilers of events that have yet to occur. For example, here Death gives away the fact that Rudy is going to die and that it was unfair by declaring: “A SMALL ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT RUDY STEINER He did not deserve to die the way he did” (Zusak 241). The matter-of-fact spoilers Zusak throws at the reader throughout the story keeps the focus on the people – the how and why of what was happening, not the events in which they found themselves. Since most of the spoilers are related to bad things to come, these spoilers illicit feelings of anxiety and dread in the reader. Zusak interjects these spoilers normally at times when Liesel is having a good day. Again, this sudden change reminds the reader that evil lurks just around the
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