2.1 Written Text Essay: The Book Thief

Analyse how language features revealed the writer’s purpose in the written text(s).

Imagery and the point of narration of “Death” imagery helps with the aspects of death

  • Imagery: Colours represent the time of day, experience and feeling when someone dies
  • Personal pronouns: I, Me giving a first-person perspective
  • Questions
  • Repetition

Death states that “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” (Zusak 491).

Markus Zusak’s novel The Book Thief is a novel that portrays the struggles of a young German girl living in Nazi Germany during the Third Reich. The main character, Liesel Meminger, tries to survive through World War 2 while trying to learn how to read and write. This scared German girl, Liesel, fought and battled to survive in a war-torn society holding her tongue when there was injustice and learning the ropes of living in fear.  Throughout the book the author wants the reader to see that words are not just an idea or story, but a power to control a person’s mind or action but also that words show imagery. this is shown through the narration of death such as personal pronouns and the words that death uses to create images such as colors.

The language features imagery, as well as the power of word, comes together to reveals the writer’s purpose in Markus Zusak’s novel The Book Thief. Imagery is shown through the narration of death as colors. He states “people observe the colors of a day only at its beginning and ends, but to me its quite clear that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations, with each passing moment. A single hour can consist of thousands of different colors. waxy yellows, cloud-spat blues. murky darkness. in my line of work, I make it a point to notice them.” in this line he uses his power of words of colors to create an image of what he sees.  The imagery which is perceived by the reader through death is revealed through colors, in deaths eyes. Colors represent the time of day, the experience of a person(s) dieing but also the feelings of the person(s) death. he looks at the human through colors.

Death is evident throughout the novel and the different individuals that Liesel met throughout the story all shared something in common with her, death. Where people were killed themselves or experienced a tragic loss.. Regardless of what was the cause or how it occurred the connection was the result. Death. For example, the death of both Frau Holtzapfel and Ilsa Hermann sons or the death of everyone on Himmel street. From the death of her foster parents and the passing of her brother, death was always a factor.  Markus Zusak brought together every piece into one strong cohesive idea that is death and the way death was perceived. The author not only uses death as a “character” but he uses it as the narrator. He gives death human-like qualities and emotions. He personifies it as a character who has thoughts and can tell the difference between right and wrong. Death is portrayed as having characteristics of a human but it also inhuman as well. Death’s words are very strong and moving. He doesn’t fall far from the power of words himself. He gives a very strong narration, a very unique style of telling the story, his words consist of pity, envy, and compassion, for example, “Still, they have one thing I envy. Humans, if nothing else, have the good sense to die” (p. 491). therefore, it can be said that he is telling a story that revolves around him. Death is jealous, he is stuck in this world of constant war and hate and there’s no way out.

The power of words is also very crucial.  In the opening of the novel Liesel was a scared young girl and didn’t have much of a voice but as she matured she became a lot stronger and smart with her words. Throughout the stealing of the books from Ilsa Hermann’s library, Markus Zusak reveals through the power of words that is wasn’t just a simple robbery of a book it was much more.  Every visit to Ilsa Hermann’s library and with every book she stole was her way of fighting back and taking what was rightfully hers. Her words. Leisel finds her words not just by stealing from Ilsa Hermanns library but also at different moments such as, standing up to Ilsa Hermann or writing her own book. The power of words can be a very dangerous thing but also can be a positive thing depending on how we use it. It can be used to cause death or used to cause happiness. Leisel had many connections throughout the book such as her foster father Hans, her best friend Rudy, Frau Hotzlphel and max the hiding jew but also with other characters. Through the power of words and death, in the end, Liesel had left were her words, the words she desperately fought to get back but by the cost of her friends and family’s death.

The vast amount of language features that reveal the writer’s purpose in this novel is on every page, such as the power of words, death, and many others. But the most significant two: the power of words and death intertwine with one another. For example, Hitler’s was able to manipulate the minds of Germans to think the only way for Germany to “flourish” was the beliefs of extermination of the Jewish race He used his power of words to strike fear into the heart of many. He didn’t require any sort of gun or military weapon to be feared, with his words he was able to cause the death of millions of human beings.

   

Theme:

Markus Zusak’s novel The Book Thief is a novel that portrays the struggles of a young German girl living in Nazi Germany. The main character, Liesel meminger, tries to survive through World War 2 while trying to learn how to read and write. This scared German girl, Liesel, fought and battled to survive in a war-torn country while holding her tongue when there was injustice and learning the ropes of living in fear. Throughout the book the author wants the reader to see that words are not just an idea or story, but a power to control a person’s mind or action, and this saved Liesel in the end. Markus Zusak, illustrates many different themes but there are two themes that are consistent throughout the book, are death and the power of words, the demonstration of these two themes are redundant throughout the course of the novel and all leading back to Liesel. Liesel Meminger, shows that literature can do much more than a bunch of words on paper, but the power to help people, for example, reading helps relieve stress or trouble, “don’t worry Liesel, Papa said. Just keep reading (105).” Bad nightmares occurred during Liesel’s first few days at the Hubermann household. Hans read to her almost every night to get her nightmares away, “Hans Hubermann sat sleepy-eyed on the bed and Liesel would cry into his arms and breathe him in, (37)” To begin, the narrator of the novel “death” says that Liesel is a girl “with a mountain to climb” (Zusak 86). This quote implies that she is learning to read and write, she has to overcome her struggles and find her words.

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