The Book Thief Death Literary Analysis

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Every induvial is born with a finite life span, that of which is unknown. The concept of

eternal rest is one that hinders minds, holding different interpretations. Death, the inevitable and

unavoidable conclusion to existence, is a facet of life that every individual becomes acquainted

with. Writers have used this notion of death as the basis for many literary works. Holding a

negative denotation, literary writers have created a new image for the face of death, giving it

human characteristics. Markus Zusak’s, The Book Thief, sculpts a dynamic character of Death,

portraying him as a narrator. This composite character of Death tells the story of a young, orphan

girl, Liesel Meminger, and her journey in discovering the power of words in Nazi Germany.

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specific usage of the places “Cincinnati” and “British Columbia” indicate that Death is indeed

anywhere, and everywhere. Collins presents readers with the concept his personified Death is

like an unexpected arrival, and unwelcomed guest, leading to Deaths dominating presence. In

similar vein, the tired and exhausted Death created by Markus Zusak works to gather the souls of

those who fell prey to evil. On the job, Death uses the colors of the sky as a distraction from the

humans. In the beginning of The Book Thief, as Death introduces himself, he says, “People

observe the colors of day only as its beginnings and ends, but to me it’s quite clear that a day

merges through a multitude of shades and intonations, with each passing moment” (Zusak 4).

The phrase, “multitude of shades and intonations” serves as symbolism. “Shades and

intonations” represents Death being constantly on the job, observing the range of the spectrum

from sunrise to sunset. Death gets the complete view of life because of the active and demanding

nature of his job. Zusak is trying to deliver the message that Death has virtually

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