What Is The Power Of Words In The Book Thief

686 Words3 Pages
The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, is an unusual historical fiction novel set in World War II Germany. With Death as the narrator, it tells the story of a young, illiterate, orphan girl- Liesel Meminger and explores her experiences with literature, thievery and death. The story presents the idea that words are the most powerful way we communicate with each other. One main theme the novel advocates is that words, both their presence and absence hold immense power.

To begin with, Zusak shows that words are capable of inflicting great harm. Liesel learns the power of words when she understands the outcome of the words of one man the Fuhrer (Adolf Hitler) and his book, Mein Kampf. “The words. Why did they have to exist? Without them, there wouldn't be any of this. Without words, the Führer was nothing” (Zusak 339). This quote portrays how learning to read helps Liesel realize that the root of Hitler's supremacy and the cause of her brother and mother’s
…show more content…
Zusak demonstrates the idea that a person's survival may depend on the influence of words. Liesel survives in a country manipulated by words, many characters in the book are saved in a way by books. At the end of the novel Liesel is in her basement reading her book, while outside there a bomb raids, words literally save her. “She was still clutching the book. She was desperately holding on to the words who had saved her life" (Zusak 499). In the end, words were powerful enough to save her.

The Book Thief illustrates the idea that words have the ability to hurt and heal. Liesel's relationship with words is depicted in this ending quote from the book of her life: “I have hated the words, and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right” (Zusak 528). This line conveys Liesel's realization of the manipulative power of words and her attempts to use writing in a compassionate way and to make them ‘right’. Words of kindness and friendship can overshadow words of
Open Document