The Power Of Words In The Book Thief
Words have great power and when used correctly can influence what people believe and how they act.
In Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, many characters develop an understanding of the power of words throughout out the novel which results in characters being negatively impacted.
Characters that are negatively affected by the strength that words carry include Liesel, Hans and Rudy.
Liesel is an example of a character that is negatively impacted by the power of words.
Body Paragraph 1
Topic Sentence 1
Liesel’s slow development of the power of words causes her to experience the negative effects of words and misery on many occasions throughout her lifetime.
Liesel is abandoned by her mother at a young age.
“’Is my mother a communist?’ Staring. Straight ahead. ‘They were always asking her things, before I came here.’ … ‘Did the Fuhrer take her away?’ … ‘I knew it.’ The words were thrown at the steps and Liesel could feel the slush of anger stirring hotly in her stomach. ‘I hate the Fuhrer’ she said. ‘I hate him.’” (115)
Liesel’s mom leaves her with foster parents because she wishes to protect her from the fate she is enduring. The words Paula, Liesel’s mom, uses go against Hitler which resulted in her being taken away and Liesel to lose her mother and experience the loss of her. This shows Liesel experiences unhappiness because of the words her mother uses and Liesel’s misunderstanding of her mother's actions.
Liesel’ classmates make fun of her because of her lack of reading skills.
“’Hey Liesel,' he said to her, 'I'm having trouble with this word. Could you read it for me?’ He laughed- a ten- year-old smugness laughter. ‘You Dummkopf- you idiot.’” (78)
Liesel’s class mock her because she cannot read the passage she is instructed to read. This shows Liesel experiences unhappiness because of her lack of reading skills which she was unaware that she is underdeveloped so much because of her previous education is limited.
Liesel realizes that without Hitler she would not have to experience the sorrow of losing her mother and other sadness’s throughout her lifetime.
"Soon, there was nothing but scraps of words littered between her legs and all around her. The words. Why did they have to exist? Without them, there wouldn't be any of this. Without words, the Fuhrer was nothing. There would be no limping prisoners, no need for consolation or wordly tricks to make us feel better." (521)
This shows that Liesel understand how she is negatively impacted because of the words Hitler uses to persuade the people. Without Hitler’s words he would never have come to power and cause a war. With his words there would have been no bombing in Munich and Liesel’s foster family and friends would be alive.
Another character like Liesel that experiences sadness because...
Loading: Checking Spelling0%
The Book Thief Essay671 words - 3 pages Death, narrator of this story, keeps us entirely focused on mortality. Death himself has nothing to do with why people die. He only exists because people die. He has the job of separating the deads souls from their bodies and carrying those souls away to the . Death lets us know from the beginning that this is a very sad and tragic story. But then again this story is set during WWII and the Holocaust, we witness the deaths of many innocent and...
Analysis and Interest in The Book Thief1688 words - 7 pages 1. I think the audience meant to enjoy this book are young adults that may be interested in the Holocaust. They don’t have to be interested but I do think that that’s the target audience. I think because his interest in the Holocaust came from his parents, M. Zusak tried to relate the experiences of his parents growing up during World War II for an adult audience. 2. The reasoning for Markus to write such an amazing novel is because he was...
The Book Thief Book Report1010 words - 4 pages 1. Setting: a. “Liesel made a clear circle on the dribbled glass and looked out. *** A PHOTO OF HIMMEL STREET *** The buildings appear to be glued together, mostly small houses and apartment blocks that look nervous. There is murky snow spread out like a carpet. There is concrete, empty hat stand trees, and grey hair.” (pg. 27) b. The Book Thief is located in Molching, Germany during world war two. c. The setting is significant because during...
The Power of Words2008 words - 8 pages The Power of Words Language has an irreplaceable role in our lives as mankind has grown to depend on it as an important way of acquiring Knowledge. But how valid is language as a way of knowing? French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre answered this question with the quote: "Words are more treacherous and powerful than we think." Words do indeed lie. It is precisely because of its role as an indispensable tool of ...
The Power of Words2217 words - 9 pages "The picture he had of the city was reduced to what she said of it, and finally it was her speech alone that could call up and protect that picture. He came to the conclusion that, once abandoned by words, the city would fall into ruins.” — Abdekelkebir Khatibi, Love in Two Languages Words are very powerful things, they are not simply just letters written on a sheet of paper; they can inspire, motivate, and evoke...
The Power of Words627 words - 3 pages Words are the most powerful weapon man or woman can ever acquire, the power to explain thy thoughts and feeling upon another. The power to manipulate, the power to fabricate a story, the power to compose a song or story, is all powers that the English language and intelligence around the world has brought to us.When I was an adolescent I was not the...
The Power of Words1212 words - 5 pages Joseph Addison once said, “Words, when well chosen, have so great a force in them that a description often gives us more lively ideas than the sight of things themselves (416).” I like this quote because it shows the importance of words and how powerful and influential they can be. Illustrations are used the same way, they hold the attention of readers, communicate content of information, and give insight of a particular event. There are eight...
The Power of Words in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice4097 words - 16 pages In theatrical performance, the fictional realm of drama is aligned with the factual, or “real” world of the audience, and a set of actors feign re-creation of this factual world. At the same time the audience, by participating as spectators, feigns believability in the mimic world the actors create. It is in this bond of pretense between the on-stage and off-stage spheres of reality—the literal and the mock-literal—that the appeal of drama is...
The Power of Sixteen Words Exposed in The Red Wheelbarrow1045 words - 4 pages The Power of Sixteen Words Exposed in The Red Wheelbarrow William Carlos Williams's poem "The Red Wheelbarrow" is extraordinary for what it accomplishes within its eight short lines. It is exactly one sentence long, sixteen words. Numbers like that wouldn't normally be important in the consideration of a poem's merit, but "The Red Wheelbarrow" begs to be noticed for its...
Resilience in the Face of Oppression: Character Analysis in The Book Thief and The Movie Pan's Labyrinth2167 words - 9 pages In the movie Pan's Labyrinth, Ofelia escaped the frightening and commanding presence of her stepfather though her fantasy books and her immense imagination. This theme of escape from oppression is also evidenced in the novel The Book Thief, where Max escapes his oppressive reality through writing and his friendship with Liesel. Liesel herself was able to escape the reality of the war that was around her, and the death of her brother through...
The Book Thief, by Markus usak964 words - 4 pages “I am haunted by humans.” (Zusak 550). Being narrated by Death, The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, is a novel about an orphan, named Liesel Meminger, who moves in with the Hubermanns in Himmel (Heaven) Street. While she is there, she plunders books from libraries and book burnings during the horrors of World War II. Liesel Meminger’s desire to read helps her deal with the incidents around her and gain insight about the power of words while her...
The Book Thief: The Power of Words
He gives his story to Liesel as a gift, thereby deepening their bond and cementing the central message of the novel: Words are powerful. They can be both damning and brilliant. And they have equal gravity to be either massively destructive (like Nazi ideology), or redemptive, enlightening and life-giving (like Max's homemade book).
Liesel, whoisthe book thief of the title, had already had an inkling of this magnetic draw of words — even before she knew how to read. Her first book theft occurred the day she buried her younger brother on the way to their foster home; she stole a guide to grave digging that fell out of one of the gravedigger's pockets. She simply wanted a way to remember not just her dead brother, but how she was feeling at that moment of his burial. After she arrives at her foster home near Munich, her adopted father Hans teaches her to read and she begins to understand more deeply how life-altering words and stories can be.
I'd heard so much about this book before finally picking it up, and I'd always been worried about how much I would really connect with a supposedly "young adult" coming-of-age tale about a teenage girl in Nazi Germany. Let's make one thing clear: Whoever decided to label or market this is as a "young adult novel" made a massive miscalculation. If the YA label is your hesitancy as well, please be assured you can discard it out of hand. I'm not sure where the line between young and adult fiction is, but this belongs on the shelf next to the best of any kind of literature.
My second hesitation was the Death-as-narrator gimmick — I was worried how well it'd work. But, again: Fears were unfounded. Death's voice in this novel is unlike anything I've ever read. It's poetic and imaginative, but straightforward and serious at the same time. In an interview published at the end of the novel, Zusak reveals that he'd started the novel with Death as the heartless soul-reaper you'd expect. But, he says, the story wasn't working. So he created an omniscient Death who simultaneously sympathizes with and is terrified of humanity.
Finally, approximately 99 percent of people who talk about this book do it in such glowing terms that I had that typical too-high expectations hesitancy. I may not have loved this book as much as many, but I did thoroughly enjoy it. It moved me and it made me think, two hallmarks of a great book.
Have you read The Book Thief? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts, but also there's one question in the "for discussion" section at the end on which I'd be interested to hear your take — what is ironic about Liesel's obsession for stealing books?
If you haven't read the book, it is highly, highly recommended.