The Book Thief Symbolism Essay

The Beauty and Brutality of Mankind

Constant controversies on humans suggest that humanity is responsible for great compassion and great evil. In the novel The Book Thief written by Markus Zusak, the exploration of human nature reveals that one is capable of both beauty and brutality based on different experiences. Firstly, the setting and conflicts shown in the story help develop the concept of humanity. To add on, symbols and motifs are used as a powerful tool to portray the opinions and emotions of different individuals. Lastly, in this story, characters such as Liesel, Hans Junior, Hans, and Death, influence the idea of the good and evil in mankind by showing how experiences can shape their ideas. Zusak uses these topics to help develop
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In particular, the use of books such as Mein Kampf have been shown to twist the minds of a nation, and to also save the life of a person. Hitler’s autobiography displays his harmful philosophies on people such as Jews, and also got the whole nation to turn on them. However, the story shows how Mein Kampf could be used in such a way to save a Jewish man’s life. It is shown that “of all things to save him” (Zusak 160), Mein Kampf, the book that demoralized Max and all other Jews, was used to avoid suspicion. Although Mein Kampf demonstrates the bad in humanity, Max has an appreciation for the book because it helped him travel to Molching without being caught. Max Vandenburg’s experience with the book demonstrates irony that a book filled with hatred amongst him and everyone like him, can be used for good intentions. Furthermore, Zusak displays the dominant motif of words in the novel, and demonstrates the power of it through the experiences of certain characters. For example, Liesel Meminger is greatly influenced by the power of words. She has experienced the way of words, and “ha[s] hated words and ha[s] loved them” (Zusak 528) primarily because of the way they have impacted her life. They have been used as a way to influence her good deeds, as well as her selfish ambitions. They are important to her …show more content…
It is shown through the setting, conflicts, symbols, motifs, and characters, that the topic of humanity is incredibly controversial. It is so ugly yet so glorious; filled with great compassion, yet so much evil. The Book Thief demonstrates the damning and brilliant nature that mankind possesses, and that their beauty and brutality is conveyed through experiences that shape them. Endless debates prove how unpredictable humans can be, but as a whole, human nature is ultimately influenced by one’s surroundings and

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