The Book Thief Narrative Essay

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Markus Zusak has assembled ‘The Book Thief’ using a variety of narrative conventions. These include a unique narrative viewpoint, plot structure and use of imagery, all of which provide meaning to the reader. (33 words)

A narrative’s point of view refers to who is telling the story. In this case Zusak’s narrator identifies himself as Death. This is evidenced throughout the prologue. He begins the book suddenly with no introduction of who he is and is quite mysterious about himself. “I could introduce myself properly, but it’s not really necessary. You will know me well enough soon enough, depending on a diverse range of variables.” (P4) Death doesn’t reveal who he is in actual words, he gives the reader hints and this puts it into perspective who he is, “At that moment, you will be lying there…You will be caked in your own body. There might be a discovery; a scream with dribble down the air. (P4)

Another technique that Zusak has used
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Zusak used personification in the novel when he gave the narrator, Death, who is non-living, but has human qualities. The way the author applied this technique to ‘The Book Thief’ was so that the reader felt connected and could relate to the narrator. As Death was created as an omniscient, Zusak’s goal was for the narrator to create meaning and to give the reader an expression that he understood what it was like to be human but actually wasn’t human himself. “Even death has a heart” is an example of the use of personification, explaining that even though death is non-living he feels the same things as humans, especially when it comes to tragic moments. Zusak didn’t just use personification with the narrator but he also used it in relation to the imagery and setting of the story, as well as describing human features “As she crossed the river, a rumour of sunshine stood behind the clouds.” (P472) “The girl’s mouth wandered on even if her body was now still.”

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