Themes And Humanity In The Book Thief By Markus Zusak

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Themes and Humanity in The Book Thief
The Holocaust was arguably one of the most devastating events in history. The Book Thief, written by Markus Zusak, is an illustration of how dangerous this era was. The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster child who develops a love of books and words after her foster father, Hans Hubermann, teaches her how to read. However, Liesel’s life changes when the family begins to hide a Jew, Max Vandenburg, in their basement. In the middle of such a damaging time, Liesel somehow finds refuge in reading and friendships. In The Book Thief, survivor’s guilt, love, and the power of words are prevalent themes that Markus Zusak uses to demonstrate how humans can be simultaneously wonderful and
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In the novel, Zusak juxtaposes the kindness and cruelty of humans several times. During the brutal Death Marches, Liesel, Rudy, and Hans selflessly offer the Jews bread. Their generosity towards the Jews proves that kindness is often the result of malice. In another instance, Rudy places a teddy bear next to a dying soldier who has just been in a plane crash. This incident depicts the innocence amidst the suffering that surrounds them. Additionally, Max writes “The Standover Man”, a story that illustrates Max and Liesel’s friendship, on the pages of Mein Kampf. This symbolizes the contradiction between kindness and evil. This also suggests that Max and Liesel’s companionship is more powerful and important than Hitler’s story. Markus Zusak’s struggle becomes clear when Death narrates: “…I’m always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both” (491).
In The Book Thief, the themes of survivor’s guilt, love, and the power of words express the kindness and cruelty of humanity. These themes demonstrate how different experiences, dismal and joyous, come together to shape who a person is. At the beginning of the novel, Liesel was a scared little girl with no hope in the human race. After experiencing guilt, love and the power of words, Liesel discovers light in a world filled with

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