Book report 4:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/53364/i-allow-myself

“I allow myself” by Dorothea Grossman. “I allow myself” is about her breakfast every morning, and how good it is, for instance “the eye-opening properties of eggs,” which is a sentence that brings to mind eggs. Perhaps fried ones, or diced ones, or even boiled eggs. It does this for every part of her breakfast, all to describe a point. This point being ‘Everyday you choose whether or not you do the thing you want to do, and if you stuff up the selection, the world will burn.’

The point of the poem is that everyday you must make the decision about what you will do each day. You could end up deciding to do nothing about what you enjoy and become depressed for the rest of the day, or you could do what you want to do, but then you get to watch your life crash down all around you. In any case, I will now analyse every part of the poem to see what each bit means, and how it connects to this overall point. And I will also mention multiple solutions to the problem of not being able to do what you enjoy because it is too destructive.

“I allow myself
the luxury of breakfast ”
This is the first line of the poem, and also the title. The first line is talking about the person allowing themselves to do something, which can get rather difficult depending on what we are talking about. For instance, it could just be what you are going to eat for breakfast, and allowing yourself to choose something new, or it could be allowing yourself to go to sleep early, and not stay up late reading and stuff up your sleep schedule even more. These simple ,small decisions, are easy to make and won’t really cause anyone any kind of trouble, so they are easy to allow. But then there are the more difficult ones. For instance, perhaps you are depressed, and you just don’t want to care about anything anymore. However, it would be difficult to allow yourself to do that, since you’re supposed to care about things. So allowing yourself to stop caring and just accept that your mind is as it is, is difficult. Another one that would be seriously difficult for anyone would be enjoying something you enjoy, without holding back at all. Particularly when there are multiple small things in the way normally. I mean, everyday you will do the same thing, and always just ignore that one amazing thing you want to do because it is: too expensive, not possible, a treat for when you do something good, something you just aren’t allowed to do. And so, you allowing you to do that one thing would be difficult, even if you truly enjoy doing it. And let’s not even get into the whole ‘not allowed to express my enjoyment over doing something because it isn’t cool to do so.’
In short, the first line is describing how allowing yourself to do something is a conscious decision you have to make, and it is not always going to be an easy decision. And the second line is talking about how for the author of this poem has something she won’t let herself enjoy, which is, she won’t allow herself to enjoy a good breakfast. I can’t claim to know why she wouldn’t let herself enjoy breakfast, but that is how it is(Might have to do with religion, since she said the line “(I am no nun, for Christ’s sake)” which makes it seem like she use to be, which stopped her from having a good breakfast for whatever reason.)

“Charmed as I am
by the sputter of bacon,
and the eye-opening properties
of eggs,
it’s the coffee
that’s really sacramental.”
Just read all of those lines, imagine the breakfast in your head! Clearly, it is a good, no, a great one, something anyone can enjoy. And every part of it is important(Although she clearly likes her coffee more than the others), no part of her breakfast can be missed out.
This is what it means to be doing your favourite thing, truly enjoying yourself over the whole thing. And you can tell that she was, seeing as she was “charmed” by bacon, had her eyes opened by “the eye-opening properties of eggs”, and even thought that coffee is sacramental. All this is something that can only happen over something amazing to yourself, something you have to let yourself enjoy. And the important thing to notice here is that she is letting herself enjoy breakfast. She is doing the thing she enjoys, and she isn’t stopping herself from enjoying every bit of it. I wonder if you can do the same thing?
Basically, this part of the poem is describing what it is like to actually enjoy something in your life. My point from it is that I wanted to make sure that you as a reader knew what I meant when I talked about enjoying yourself. Without this, you might end up with the idea that just doing what you enjoy means that you are enjoying yourself. This isn’t the case. You have to actually ‘enjoy’ yourself, focus on every bit of it like the author did for her breakfast. That is what it means to enjoy yourself, so keep it in mind.

“In the old days,
I spread fires and floods and pestilence
on my toast.”
This quote is describing what it is like for those who think that the thing they enjoy is only a destructive past time, something they can’t do because it would damage everything. Perhaps they even did it anyway. And because of this, you can’t allow yourself to enjoy the thing you want to do since it would ruin your life, or perhaps it even has been already. This is a problem that is difficult to solve, I mean, how can you? Lets say, just as an example, that you as a person are fascinated with the idea of killing another person. You’re just so darn curious as to what it would be like. But you know that it would be a terrible idea, I mean, you would feel so guilty, or even if you didn’t, all of the legal problems! You can’t allow yourself to do something like that, what do you do afterwards? And then the next problem is figuring out what to do with your life, when the thing you really enjoy, is something you can never experience.
From the authors point of view, all this bad stuff is in the past, something that doesn’t need to be thought about anymore, and really, is all just a bad memory. We can see this when they say “In the old days,” which makes it seem like that this rather bad sounding piece of toast was only made before this poem was written. Which is a good way of thinking, as it allows you to stop caring about it and develop your own point of view.
Then there is my point of view on this quote, or at least, the idea of how to get past that feeling of not allowing yourself to do what you really want to do. The way I deal with it is to endure it. If you wait long enough, it has to disappear at some point, right?
Another solution is in the next paragraph and it appears to be a lot more constructive than my solution. You should probably go with that one. It would certainly have more of an effect than my one, and in a good way too.

“Nowadays, I’m more selective,
I only read my horoscope
by the quiet glow of the marmalade.”
And this quote describes the other solution I have come up with for this problem. And it follows the first line of the quote, “I’m more selective,” which is to say, she selects some parts of what she enjoys and focuses on that. Like with her breakfast. Instead of having all of that “I spread fires and floods and pestilence”, she’ll just have “by the quiet glow of the marmalade.” Which is still breakfast, just without the bad bits(If you like marmalade, and if you don’t, I would prefer a piece of food over a flood). And you can do this with other things too, like with the one I mentioned earlier. Just play a video game or something, it has plenty of killing in it and you don’t need to worry about the consequences. Basically, if you can’t let yourself enjoy something in life, find a different way to enjoy it.
Oh, and another thing I need to mention is how when she says selective, she is saying that she selects what to eat for breakfast each morning. There is a wide range of options to pick from, and she decides what it will be from all of them. So when you decide on how to divide up what you enjoy into something different that you can do, you can pick different parts of that for each day. Like, play a different video game each day or something. Basically, everyday you choose whether or not you will do the thing you want to do, or not. And now, everyday you can decide what part of what you enjoy to do. Like, for that person who just wants to kill something, well, they can play a different video game each day, and enjoy each one of them.

“I allow myself” by Dorothea Grossman is a interesting poem that describes the luxury of breakfast, and how it can often be difficult to enjoy something in life. We talked about how it can be difficult to always let yourself enjoy what you want to do. Then we talked about how the author could actually manage to enjoy what she did, in all of its full glory, which is something that doesn’t happen all that often these days. After that it was about different problems that could come up if you enjoy yourself, and a ‘solution’ to that problem. And finally, it was the solution the author came up, to select what you can enjoy, and enjoy it to the fullest, which sounds really helpful and like something I should start doing.
Thank you for reading this, and I guess I will recommend this poem to all people who have something in their lives that they refuse to let themselves enjoy, but are yet to even realize(Yeah, you might not of even noticed the fact that your holding yourself back from truly enjoying some things in your life. Honestly, you should have more fun in your life!)

Essay: “The Book Thief” Planning

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

Characterisation

personification of death

symbolism of colours, books, nazi flag, hunger, words, characters

imagery of weather, colours, events (Jesse Owens incident)

Planning for this question:

This question basically allows me to use any particular symbol(language features) to talk about anything Liesel might of been trying to do, or whatever I say the authors aim was. This means I could use any symbol to talk about anything. Like an event(World war 2, the situation of the Jews), or the character Liesel(Why is Liesel important, how does she affect the story, what does her life mean to us, the reader), or perhaps any other character, as long as it is talked about in a way to change the readers view, and that it is written like that was the author’s purpose. And since this is the book thief, it might be possible to talk about what people meant to Liesel since she did write a book that the book we read originates from.

Let me just say this again, characters are a symbol, they symbolise all of the things that happened in Nazi Germany. As long as I focus there, all is good.

How the narration from Death gives us a view of Liesel’s life that no other point of view could give. (The point to achieve is how important Death is to the text; how irreplaceable he is; the importance of Liesel to Death; how any other point of view could of changed the text completely.)

How the books that Liesel sees and reads changed Liesel into a completely different path on life, which changed what the book could of ended up being like. (The point is how each book is very important to both Liesel and the story; how if any one book wasn’t there, the story would of been quite different; the point behind the book thief is to tell us what it might be like to live in Germany during world war 2 from the eyes of a little girl, and that the books that this girl reads is just one symbol to tell us what it was like.)

How the purpose of the book is to showcase how all problems that people face was caused by humans, and how the proof for that is with how people were written into the story. (The point is simple, that all our problems are caused by humans. The important part to take note of is that to prove this point, we shall be using how each person lives their life, and how all the problems in that life, or the problems they caused in their life; will be used to prove how all the problems we face originate from humans. Like how Tommy Muller is bullied by people, his ear infections started from being left out to freeze by people, he was beat up by Liesel because he was smiling for her victory in a fight that was started by people. Or how Death wouldn’t have to work seriously hard between 1938 and 1945 if it wasn’t for people. That kind of thing.) (I know that thinking all problems were caused by people is a bit of a tunnel vision of the whole thing, but still. Most of our problems exist in some part due to people.)

How colours in this book is used to describe the world of “The Book Thief”. (The point of this is how Death usually sees a different colour in the sky every time he picks up a soul, and how each of these colours mean something different. And because these colours are repeatedly used throughout the story, we can use them to explain the story, and in turn, our own world.)

 

Now to talk about the exact point I want to make and why. Personally, I have used the ‘Humans cause all our problems’ in the book report for the book thief. And even if it is a pretty good point, I have done it before…which is something the markers probably won’t know. And because of that, lets do that! All of the other points are fairly good, but I personally think the best is that one. Or at least, I can write the most for it, and with a different proof than to my book report.

Structure:

Introduction/overview of story, point I want to make stated, first person/group of people, second person/group of people, third person/group of people, conclusion based off of all this/reverse introduction.

People I could use:
Rudy, Hans, Rosa, Liesel, Tommy muller, Adolf, the thief’s group, the school teachers, the people who tried to take away Rudy, the bullys, Death, Max.

Point: Symbolism – How characters represent various problems in Nazi Germany in 1939-1945

Rudy: Hitler Youth and bullying from Franz Deutscher only could happen in that way in Nazi Germany.. Jesse Owens Incident and how that would only happen in Nazi Germany.

Problems are caused because Rudy rebels against Nazi control.

Lets see, Rudy has problems caused to him through the bully, and through Germany/Hitler, and then there is how he caused problems for others by stealing from people (Nazi Germany), cutting line, that kind of thing.

Hans: Painting over the rude words on the Jews window. Saving the Jew being pushed over on the street. All problems only in Nazi Germany.

Problems are caused because Hans rebels against Nazi control.

Hans life is just full of different problems that he endures somehow, although it is better than what either Liesel or Max went through(Arguable); he never causes a problem besides when helping other people out, causing him to get in trouble with the Nazi’s.

Max: Jews being persecuted, him rebelling against this. Hiding away to stay alive while everyone else hunts him down. All only possible in nazi Germany.

Problems are caused because Max rebels against the persecution of Nazi control.

Rosa is nice and never really causes problems, although she can shout and swear all she likes, she is still too nice to cause problems; her own problems are the same as everyone else’s. Liesel’s life is full of problems that we all know, and she causes problems through her stealing and being nice to others. Tommy has problems from constant twitching and not being able to hear, caused by being left in the freezing cold too long as a kid, he causes no actual problems. Adolf Hitler did some bad stuff; not talked about if any problems were done to him, but clearly something must of went wrong to dislike everyone but his own race that much, I guess it would be his heritage from his ancestors which caused this. The thief’s group stole food from farms; there were no problems caused to them besides not having enough food. The school teaches were pretty darn rude to Liesel, and so caused some kids to end up getting beaten up(Although they probably didn’t realize that would happen); their problems are the same as everyone else.The people who tried to take away Rudy caused problems in the way that were they nearly got Rudy to go too was pretty much a death sentence; problems to themselves is having to do that kind of job. The bully’s that I forgot the name of is pretty darn mean, and causes problems for Rudy and Tommy again and again; problems to him is having to live in Nazi Germany where they suffered from food shortage(Not to say other countries weren’t like that, but they were all problems caused by humans).

Death: Having to watch on as Nazi germany causes massive amounts of suffering across the world and within the country itself. Having to pick up the souls of EVERY SINGLE PERSON who died because of Nazi Germany. All of the mental trauma’s caused by this is because of Nazi Germany.

Death has problems in the way that humans are dying constantly, and he has to pick up their souls, and this is in the millions(A self named, but completely correct, miracle worker); he causes no problems, he just watches as humans stuff up everything, and cleans up afterwards. Max is the representation of all the problems Jews faced(Besides the whole dying part); the only problems he causes is imposing on the Hubermann family, which they were fine with.

So, now that I have written the basics of each of these people, let’s choose 3, with 1 back up in case I need an extra point, or one of them becomes unusable due to not having enough information. (Have to remember I am describing how each character was written into the text, not what kind of character they are, although I will include that too). So: Death(I did a lot on Death, somebody who can showcase all of humanity’s problems from outside of humanity, so a great point of view to prove my point), Hans(Hans suffers a lot, but still deals with it, and even goes so far as to solve other people’s problems; in general, he is written as an amazing person in a terrible situation), and Liesel(Yeah, I know that everything is about Liesel, however she is the main character who we know the most about, and she is written with plenty of problems already). The back up character is Max(Great guy, made 2 pretty interesting books, but mainly is the fact that him being written into the story was done in the sort of way that his very existence is caused by other people’s problems, and that him ending up in Himmel Street for such a long time was a mistake too, and also him leaving).

So, Hans is first, to showcase how a normal person leaving their life, could in fact have many problems. Then Liesel to show another person with their own problems too. Or Max instead, so as to show how his entire race had a problem caused by Hitler; although I need to make sure I stay on point. Then Death, as the final to prove everything once and for all(And like they say, leave the best to last).

So, shall we begin?

P.s Quotes will be done during the writing since at the time I will know what quote is needed the most.

 

Oh yeah, there were different methods to fix, and cause problems. Like words, or the usage of paint. Perhaps even the colours of the night sky can be included? I just have to make sure I keep to the point.

 

Maturation of Liesel Meminger

  1. When I think of a person who steals books, I think of someone that doesn’t originally own many books, but likes to read, and so have to find them somehow. Or perhaps an international criminal who breaks into museums to steal books specifically. Not necessarily a bad person, I always just wondered why someone would bother stealing books. I mean, we have library’s, so either they don’t have access to those, or they want to be rich through books specifically.
    Now, in terms of Liesel, I have to say that she was in a position were she didn’t have access to books, and so had no choice but to steal them. However, her reasoning behind it will be more important than just “wanting to read”. So yeah, her reason is different, but still fits the character of the first one.
  2. Next is a description of how messed up a kid will get when someone suffers from the things Liesel did. To be exact, not knowing your father, your mother abandoning you, your brother dying in your hands, with the only way to remember them being a photo and a book. And then being left in the care of some foster parents that you have never met before. Basically, anyone would of went near insane from that kind of suffering, right? Like, how do you deal with all that. As a child she would be withdrawn, with constant mental suffering and nightmares, never able to find a distraction from her memories, which will be constantly fading as she gets older(and would you want your only memories of your family to fade?) Now then, her goals will be at first to find her mother, try and get her back. After that fails, then read the book, which is her only memory of her family. So, yeah, like how the book goes. Oh, or she could of become depressed and not survive beyond a couple of years. I mean, with that kind of suffering how do you not?
    And problems in the future will be dealing with nightmares from the past. Or the many, many, traumas she will face.
  3. First off, Han’s, you are amazing. You brought back a young girl from the brink of insanity. Like, I understand Liesel is a strong minded girl, since she did manage to get through all of that stuff, but still. You used a single book to save Liesel. Next, books are important to Liesel for a few reasons. I have explained each individual book before, so lets put this simply, and connect it to what I already said. Books are the tool for keeping Liesel sane. If you have something like that, then you will want to keep a hold of it. I mean, why get rid of the thing that kept you sane? And also, something to do with words can be used for good and evil. I think that was from when she began to notice how the words other people use can hurt people, or save people. Some words destroy everything, and other words keep someone sane. Perhaps around the book burning time? That was the time she realised many different things.
  4. Rudy! He is a good kid, going to miss him. Even Death will miss him, that’s how good of a kid he is. Anyway, he is the best friend of Liesel Meminger, and one of three people who didn’t care how stupid she is(Han’s, Rosa, and Rudy, Max isn’t there yet). They became friends, and did everything good friends would do with each other. And of course, to Liesel, this would of been great. This is somebody who treats her as a kid in her childhood. You know, she gets a thing in her life that matches everyone else’s. But then, who would’ve thought that Rudy would want a kiss from Liesel. And for Liesel, well, why?! Why would she want a kiss. With everything that just happened in her life, there is no way she would want to have romance at that point in time. And so, this would affect her in the way that she will never want to have any sort of romance with such an insensitive person. So she vows she will never kiss him as long as they both live. And her vow does become true, too, so you know she is serious to her vows(Just kidding, that was a bad joke. ALthough she can keep a promise surprisingly well for a young person like her.)
    Oh, and if they weren’t friends, then we would be reading the story of a depressed, withdrawn, teenage girl later on in the book. She would always be at home, with next to no good memories. I mean, okay, so that is the case, she is withdrawn, and she doesn’t truly trust anyone. But, you know, at least she went outside, right?
  5. Max Vandenburg, someone from a group of people who all suffered things even worse than what Liesel had suffered, from one point of view. And so, when Liesel meets Max, she discovers the fact that her life isn’t the worst. This would of been a shock, as it will show to her that there are other people out there, who are still alive, and sane, who have went through even worse situations than her. And so, after learning about the suffering that Max goes through, it will help Liesel go through her own suffering, as she knows if it is only this much, it can be dealt with. Oh, and Max is someone she can confide even more of her thoughts too, unlike Rudy or something. The reason being that, well, who is Max going to tell? He will understand what Liesel is going through better than anyone else, so of course Liesel will use him to unload all of her concerns, and the same for Max too. And that will lead to a very good friendship, were you both suffer together.
  6. Why does Liesel steal more and more books? Is it because she finished her last book, and wants to read another? Is it because she just likes stealing? Or maybe it is because she knows how powerful words can be, and so wants access to more. Like when Hitler took control of a country through the power of words, and convinced them to go to war with the rest of the world. So yeah, after witnessing something like that, of course she is going to want more words in the form of books.
  7. And Liesel, somehow, got a good ending. She lived in Australia, with children, and grandchildren(If you view that as a good thing), and she even got to see Max again. She lived a successful life, with probably a few more problems along the way, but that is just how life is. And so, assuming she did live a good, fulfilling life; what does this teach us, the reader? Well, it teaches me about how even people who go through a terrible beginning can have a good life in the end. And it also proves that happiness is a thing everyone can have if they survive for long enough. I don’t know what it teaches other readers though. Maybe that childhood sucks, but other people had it worse, but still didn’t let it hold them down? Or maybe that Death likes colours, with a chocolate brown sky being one of the best, and with a clear blue sky being another good one. Or perhaps all you got from this book is that you thinks the ending ruined it. Well sir/madam, I say, this book is great. Really shows you how life can get better even from the worse point, as long as you survive. And if you dislike that ending, then you disagree with that point of view.(Just kidding, if you dislike the ending that is your problem, not mine.)

Rudy “The Book Thief”

I shall say all the meaning behind Rudy’s character after I finish describing what sort of person he is. The reason being is that I want to bring together all the different points into one conclusion at the end.

Rudy Steiner, the blond haired, blue eyed, athletic older brother in the steiner family. Basically the definition of the perfect Aryan boy. But there was a major problem with this, and that is that he hated Hitler(The main advocator for the reasoning that the Aryan race was superior to all others). And why would he hate Hitler, the man who is pretty much saying that he is the best? Because Adolf put Rudy’s and his friends family’s through so much trouble, and caused all of these problems like hunger and making some people disappear. And as Rudy never really figured out the reasoning behind the whole superior race thing, I guess he never bothered trying to win at it, or count it as him winning at something.
And of course I should talk about “The Jesse Owens incident”. And, ah, was this just fantastic. It is wrong in so many ways, and I’m not talking about racist ones or anything. Basically, Jesse owens has just won 4 gold medals at the olympics, and has become the idol of many different people, including our Rudy Steiner. And so, Rudy has the genius idea that he should become like Jesse Owens, and colour himself black with charcoal, like, really cover himself with it, make sure it gets everywhere. And then, go to a race track where he proceeds to imagine himself as Jesse Owens, with the crowd cheering him on, his competitors being left behind, and his father waiting at the finish line. So, yeah, his Dad tries to get Rudy to understand how bad of an idea this was, but completely fails as Rudy doesn’t understand the concept of there being a better race. And of course, the many problems that had nothing to do with race, are how he covered himself in charcoal, and got himself extremely dirty. And this is around about the time most germans are getting pretty darn poor and they can’t afford to lose any charcoal or the water needed to wash him. And the fact that no parent would want to see their kid covered in coal dust, no matter the reason.
Next should be Hitler’s youth! This is the school all kids must go to, as it is that school. You know, the one that indoctinorates all the children into the ‘perfect race ideal mental state’ that Adolf wanted. That is everyone being a complete and utter follower of every word from Adolf Hitler, and everyone wanting to do anything that is needed to achieve what Adolf wanted to do. Of course the school also teaches kids how to read and write, among other things. Now then, what does all this have to do with Rudy? Simple. Kids pick on kid called Tommy Muller. Rudy defends Tommy Muller. Kids pick on both Rudy and Tommy Muller. And so Rudy hates kids Hitler youth, and in turn, ends up hating Hitler’s youth itself. It got to the point that he was skipping out on ‘classes’, and he only went back when they shifted him to another class away from the bully’s.
Then there were the races I somehow nearly forgot to mention. The races being a athletic day being held at ‘school’ where all the different groups in hitler’s youth got together to do the same kinda stuff we do at MAC at the start of the year. Rudy’s goal for that day was to get 4 gold medals. At this time, he did say he wasn’t as into Jesse Owens anymore, and that he just wanted to prove anyone he was right. And so, he won 3 gold medals and then began to feel tired. So for the 4th race he starts digging up the ground and gets told off. Then he false starts. Then, he false starts again. He was disqualified. And the interesting bit is why he decided to be disqualified(Obviously he wanted to be, besides mentioning it later on, he also kept on doing stuff to convince the referee to disqualify him.) And it is interesting because Liesel believes that it was because he didn’t think he was Jesse Owens, like he truly wasn’t good enough to be like him.
Now then, what else is there? Hmm…Oh yeah, Love. Liesel is the girl that Rudy ends up falling in love with, or something akin to love I suppose? I don’t really know, but basically, Rudy is a lady’s man. Always trying to get the girl. That is, he is always trying to get a kiss from his new neighbour Liesel. And of course, Liesel always finds an excuse not to. Not that she isn’t tempted many times over, but she always finds an excuse. Interestingly enough, after a long period of time, like a year or 2, Rudy has ended up fantasizing that kiss so much, that he doesn’t want to risk asking anymore, and then get the kiss, as he is scared it might ruin it(I am not sure here, I never properly understood this point. Guess he just doesn’t want to ruin what he thinks it will be like.) And Liesel does end up wanting to kiss him as well, but she never does because she always thought it would be fine to wait longer or something like that. Well, she does end up kissing him when he dies…
So what else is there? More on Liesel I guess. Liesel is Rudy’s best friend. So, yeah, nead I say more? They play soccer together, they steal together, they run away together, everything is done together(why do you think I mentioned love before). And of course, they rely on each other quite a bit. Always helping out each other and making sure they don’t do something stupid, or at least, they try to stop each other doing stupid stuff. Without Liesel, Rudy would of found another person to be friends with, and he would of found some other girl to get a crush on, and in the end, not much would be different. However, that didn’t happen. But as far as I can tell, Liesel wasn’t necessary in Rudy’s life. Sure, the way she helped him out and the things they did together wasn’t something other friends would of done with each other normally, but still. Rudy didn’t need Liesel, he needed a friend. Liesel just so happened to fill up the position of friend(And crush, arguably). I am also not going to mention how much Liesel needed someone like Rudy, and that no one else could of filled in that position.
Ok fine, I will. Liesel moved into a brand new place after her previous family left her. She would obviously be broken mentally(Nightmares? Why is that all she suffers from?! Seriously. A little kid went through hell, and she has nightmares. Surely there would be more than that, or were they just not mentioned?) So she would need someone her own age to talk to and help her get along. So a friend is needed. It needs to be someone nice, and who she can open up to and not have everything thrown back at her. And so, who else but Rudy? Rudy wouldn’t want to hurt her anymore(If you think he would, then you need help), and Rudy can be opened up to and he can help right back, all because of that innocence and wildness. He possess the right qualities to help someone like Liesel, so in all honesty, Liesel got lucky. Rudy needs more luck if anyone does.
And finally, I just want to mention one last thing before moving on to explaining how all this affects Rudy’s character. Every time I think of Rudy, there are three specific scenes I think of. Two of them more than the other. Those two are the scene were the pilot dies after their plane crashed in the forest, and just before he dies, Rudy comes along and puts a teddy bear on his shoulder. The pilot says thank you, but of course in english so Rudy doesn’t understand. And then there is that scene of Liesel kissing Rudy. Oh, and the other fairly important scene is were Death comes to pick up Rudy’s soul, and just, ‘everyone cries’. If you don’t feel sad over that bit, then your emotions are in even more trouble than mine, so you need to do something now. Get a physiatrist, that stuff is SAD. All of those scenes are just sad when you think about them, and have my thoughts behind what happened.

Pages 288, 315, 384, just chock full of Rudy.

Third book response

“The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” by Oliver Sacks, is a book that describes a few different patients that Oliver Sacks has had over the course of his work. These descriptions each describe the problem the patient faces, how Oliver reacts to these problems, and then how the daily life of the patient proceeds to be like. Then there is the postscript that has anything else that has to be noted, or anything else that needs to be learned, like if there have been any new patients suffering from the same problem. And, of course, the entire time there are plenty of questions that he wonders about which might get you wondering about their answers.

I would recommend this book to those who want to not only learn more about problems that occur with people’s brains and nerves, but also to those that want to see a view of the world through the eyes of people who see it completely different to us. And honestly, it is quite an experience, which is sure to get you thinking about everything in a new light.
Although it gets a bit annoying when he begins to talk about the brain in detail, while using all sorts of words that make little sense to me. I just want to put up a warning that many things will be difficult to understand if you don’t have sufficient background knowledge. Like a rather large vocabulary, and a basic understanding of the brain and the body’s nervous system.

I shall focus on the first section of the book, ‘Losses’. For the section “Losses”, we get to read about people who are missing something from their lives, like particular senses, or parts of their view of the world. With this section, we can begin to wonder what it would be like to live in a world that is completely different to our own view of it. The reason being that these missing parts have something to do with the brain. The brain controls how we understand the world, and so if the brain starts doing things differently, then the view of the world will change. And as we are reading about those people who have had their brains change in rather ‘interesting’ ways, we can try to catch a glimpse into these completely different worlds. Below will be my views on how these concepts of the world affect us, and how they changed my understanding of reality. Or at least, what got me thinking a little.

Imagine if you were to find yourself in some random hospital, with old people all around you. Then this doctor like person begins talking to you. And of course, you will ask why you are there, right? Well, I wonder what you will think when that doctor says that they have lost count of how many times you have said those very words. And then they proceed to hold up a mirror, showing some random old guy staring right back at you. Wouldn’t that freak you out immensely? Probably would for most people, so I guess its a good thing you won’t be remembering that for long.
For this point I wanted to explain to you how terrifying it is to forget. And how interesting it is to wonder what you personally would think about it. For one of the patients of our author, we get to see someone in this very situation. They have forgotten everything after 1945. Well, more like their memory regressed a few decades at one point after too much drinking, until they reached this point in their memory. This lead to said memory loss, and the inability to make new memories. And so, they are left in a ‘home’, which will take care of him, and other, older, people. I won’t go too much more into detail, but basically, he is fine here. He becomes more ‘animated’ when talking to his brother(Although he thinks his brother is aging kind of fast), and he is also happier when staying at his old house, with his family(Although it sucks for a couple of minutes when he is dropped back off again, since he thinks his wife is abandoning him in a place full of strangers). Now the interesting thing here is what this made me think of. Which is to say, what would I do if I learnt that every few minutes I forgot everything. Like, still got my current memories, but no new ones can be made. Well, the possibilities were few to be honest. Either get depressed over how my life will never develop in any direction. Or begin a document(Or continue it) that will detail my every thought, and everything that is going on. Like, anything I find funny, or interesting. The point being, this document will fill up over time with all these different, and interesting things. And each of these things, I will never of heard of before. It would be like reading over a life of some other person, with the same ideas as me, just that I haven’t thought of them yet. Cool, yeah? These are my thoughts on what I would do. So now here is a question for you: What would you do in this situation?

“She knows it intellectually, and can understand, and laugh; but it is impossible for her to know it directly.” The next point I need to make, is that this is your brain which is missing something. YOU ARE YOUR BRAIN. Your entire consciousness is affected, and controlled, by the way your brain works. And as this is so, if your brain is missing some important piece, then how the hell are you supposed to tell?! The quote I started this point off with pretty much says what I want to say. You are intelligent, or at least, if you can read this, you possess the ability to understand things. However, that doesn’t mean you truly get it. Like if I was to try and explain puberty to a 7 year old. They would say that they get it, but they don’t. Not really. They haven’t experienced what it is like. They have never experienced it, so it would be near impossible to understand what it would be like. And it is the same if you lose something from your brain, or if something stops working. Your entire concept of that thing is gone. You will be like that 7 year old, who can understand the idea behind it, but it is still something outside of your reality. The only saving grace for this kind of situation is that if you posses memories of it, then it could be fixable. But if even your memories of it are gone; or changed into something else; then you might never be able to experience it again, as you won’t know if what you just thought, or did, was that thing. And, okay, this whole paragraph here is something that has always been in my mind, it is just that this book brought it back up with that quote. The idea that something central in my brain(Or maybe someone else’s) could be missing, and I would never know. And if no one ever told me, then I would never notice. I could end up living my entire life, with no idea what that one thing is. And so I mention this here, in the attempt to get you to understand that not everything is understandable. Our brains can only do so much, and they could easily be missing something important, or not so important. There is nothing we can do about this, except question others as to how they see the world and compare it to our own views of it. And then marvel at how different some people’s worlds are.

Okay, so now we can do something a little different. Imagine if one day you go to have a surgery, to remove some kidney stones or something like that. And then you begin to feel a bit odd. And, you fall unconscious. the next time you wake up, well, your fine, but you have no idea what is up with your body. So obviously you try to get up, but you fail to move as far as your concerned. However, to the others around you, your body is flailing about, with no idea where it is supposed to go. Now what am I talking about? This patient had some of their nerves in their spinal column irreversibly damaged. This lead to losing her ‘6th sense’. That is, the ability to know where each of your body parts is, even when you can’t see them. Without this, you can’t do much at all. Like, you can’t walk without constantly looking at your feet. And even then, it will require you to relearn how to walk, as you won’t know where your feet are if you don’t look at them. So what do you think about this? Actually, have you ever spared the time to think about this sense? You should, it is really important. Sure, your sense of balance, and your other 5 senses are really important, and they can make up for it(Spare the time to think about them too). However, they can’t replace it. Sure, they get stronger, like how a blind person can have super hearing, but I still am going to want to keep my eyesight. So yeah, think about it. Without this sense, your life would be so different. So you should think about how important it is to you, and how annoying it would be to not have it.(Apparently the patient in question had to convince herself that was even her body, as she didn’t really know if it was. I mean, how do you prove it? It won’t do as you want unless you look at it, so how do you know if it is even yours?)

And finally, let us talk about phantoms. And even more interestingly, hands. And even more interestingly, corpse legs. Phantoms being where an amputee has lost a limb or something, and begins to imagine that part of their body still exists. And the hands is where 1 person never used their hands, leading to not even seeing a point in them. And the corpse leg being when people think their leg is someone else’s, so they kick them off the bed, only to fall out with it. So let’s get to the point of this paragraph. That is, do you really understand your limbs? Is it you controlling your limbs, or is it your brain convincing you that your body is your body? The first point to prove this is the amazing fact that there was a patient of our author who hadn’t used their hands for 60 years(They were 60 years old). This left them thinking that hands were as useful as ‘a lump of clay’. And so, this story continues on, to show her how useful hands can be, in the way that you can feed yourself. And then, you can touch and feel other objects, and learn what they ‘are’. Ended up turning out she is a pretty good artist, with great ability to sculpt. This patient got me wondering about ‘what if we never used one of our body parts?’ Would we end up the same as her, not knowing what the point is in that body part, and just keeping them around us because we don’t know what else to do with it? Anyway, the next point is the corpse leg. Some people have been known to fall out of bed every now and then. The reason why they did so is because they found the leg of a corpse in their bed, and so in their panic, they threw it out of the bed. Then, they found themselves falling out of bed. And all the while, this terrible, ghastly, leg is still there, still freaking them out. In their panic, they might notice that this leg is attached to them, making them think that someone attached someone else’s leg to them. All the while, not even noticing that they are missing a leg. What this got me thinking about is ‘What do we do when we forget about a limb we still are using and have on us?’ Is it possible to forget about a particular body part, and assume that it is someone else’s? And finally, phantoms. That is when someone has lost a particular body part, however the person themselves can still feel the body part, can still sense where it is, and what it is doing. Interestingly enough, for people who have to use a ‘replacement’ arm or leg, these phantoms can be really useful, as it allows you to use that body part without having to look at it constantly(Reminds me of that women who lost her 6th sense. Like she lost her body phantom, and so couldn’t sense her body any more.) This gets me wondering about if it is possible to remember and use a limb you don’t even have anymore. In any case, all this draws me to the conclusion I wanted to make about limbs, and in general, your body. Your body is something you don’t own. Your brain sets up all this information that allows you to believe that your leg is your leg, and that it still is there and exists. So when it doesn’t exist, well, your brain still thinks it does.  And if your brain comes to the conclusion that your leg doesn’t exist, well, clearly that lump in your bed isn’t a part of your body, but somebody else’s. And in the event that you never use your legs, like, at all, then clearly your brain can only come to the conclusion that your leg must be useless, and so it is basically just a lump of clay. What I’m trying to get at here is that your brain decides if your body is your body, and so if your brain decides that it isn’t, then too bad, you don’t have your body. And if it thinks it is your body, then good for you, you have a body, even if you really don’t. And the only thing you can do is trick your brain into thinking something different if you want that limb back, or not at all.

“The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” by Oliver Sacks, is a very good book. Just the first section alone, and you can already draw so many different ideas, and world views from it. Like what it would be like to lose the ability to make new memories. Or how your brain is you, and deciding to change it is near impossible, as impossible as describing colour to a blind person. Then there was the idea of what it would be like to not own your body anymore, and the revelation of how your brain controls all the data for your body, so it is not you that you need to convince about it, but your brain. However, there are so many more things I could of talked about, like the concept of the abstract and what sight has to do with it. Or how an entire view of the world, the very concept of left, can just disappear. Oh, and I haven’t even begun on the other sections of the book.
In the end, this book is really quite good. Read it, I guarantee that what I have so far said hasn’t even begun to spoil all the new ideas you stand to gain from reading this book.

The significance of books: “The Book Thief”

“The Gravedigger’s Handbook” is a rather important book to Liesel. Why? It represents many different things to Liesel.
First: Liesel’s brother died when she was 9, nearly 10. To remember this moment in time, the moment when her brother died, she wanted to keep something with her. And the item was…”The Gravedigger’s Handbook”. The book represents the memory’s she has of her brother.
Second: Her mother left her after this. And because of this, she will want to remember her mother in some way. And so, she decides to have “The Gravedigger’s Handbook” be her memory of her mother who left her as well.
Third: So now the book represents her dead brother who she will never forget as she always has visions of him, and also the last time she sees her mother. All this can be described as “Family!” The book represents her family, that she will never truly see again! She even goes so far as to hide a picture of her dead brother in the book too! And if your not sad yet, you will be when you realise the name of the book is “The Gravedigger’s Handbook”. It is literally a handbook to help bury the dead, and her family is represented by it. What the author might be trying to get at is how Liesel wants to bury her memories of her family away from her daily life, in a place no one else ever has to see them. So it represents her family and how she wants to bury her memories of them.
Fourth: Remember how Liesel can’t read yet? Well, lucky us, the book gets a new meaning when Hans uses it to teach Liesel how to read. Yep, she couldn’t read yet she had already connected so many things to the book, and then asked Hans to teach her how to read with “The Gravedigger’s Handbook”. And so the memories she would want to bury stay forever present whenever she reads.
Fifth: I guess I should also include the time she was supposed to read out loud to her class, but got nervous and found herself unable to read, so she just used some memorised paragraph from “The Gravedigger’s Handbook” and recited them. This ended up leading to the first time she beat someone up. So, I guess it could connect to that in some way?
In any case, “The Gravedigger’s Handbook” represents the death of Liesel’s brother, the last time she saw her mother, the burying of her family’s memories, what Hans used to teach her how to read, and a small connection to her first fight in school.

“The shoulder shrug” is another rather important book to Liesel. The reasons are below:
First: University students back in Germany had decided to start a book burning. This book burning’s purpose is to remove the past of germany, and begin a new history for germany. All things that were even slightly Jewish, or from another country, had to be burned. Anything that didn’t follow the values they wanted there new germany to follow must be burned. So, you know, massive amounts of books are being burned, and you can’t exactly do anything to stop them, since literally all of Germany was into this mass destruction of books. And you know what Liesel did? She stole a book that survived this fire. From right under the pile of ash. And just from that, the reader will know, Liesel doesn’t want this knowledge destroyed. She wants to read, and learn, and there is no way that she is letting this book get past her. And this signifies how she doesn’t want the destruction of Germany’s past; the history being burned will be saved by her, at least a bit of it.
Second: And just so you know, she knew the dangers. For ages afterwards she was scared of how she might get ‘taken away’, or her family might be ‘taken away’. Why? Because 1: Frau Hermann, the mayors wife, saw her steal the book. And if she decides to mention it to the police, then her and her family is doomed. 2: As she knew the dangers behind taking the book, of course she would be scared. Even if Frau Hermann decided not to turn her in, if anyone else saw, then she is doomed. 3: She stole a book and there is danger in that. This is the first time she properly stole a book, and so the first time she can feel the fear behind stealing something. “The Gravedigger’s Handbook” was taken in a far away place, from someone she will never see again. So why be scared of that? But “The Shoulder Shrug” is different in the way that it was done in the same place she lives, so if anyone saw, they can do something about it. And so this book represents what it means to steal a book.
Third: Well, besides the small part in stopping the destruction of Germany’s past, and the idea of stealing a book, there is also Frau Hermann. What I mean is that “The Shoulder Shrug” being stolen got her noticed by Frau Hermann, which ended up getting her into Frau Hermann’s library. Yes, that’s right, she sees a library! Isn’t this fantastic for her! Which is why this is important. This book got her connected to a library, and the next books she shall steal, which will be spoken about soon.
So basically, “The Shoulder Shrug” represents to Liesel: The saving of Germany’s history from complete destruction; the idea of what it is like to steal a book; and Frau Hermann’s library and all the books in that.

“The standover man” was the first book that Max gave to Liesel. So, it was a rather important book, that was full of different ideas and meanings, and of course, represented a lot to Liesel.
First: Max spent a week in the basement painting over the Mein Kampf books pages. The entire time it was kept secret from Liesel. The reason he did all this was because he wanted to give Liesel a gift in return for all she has done for him. And what better way to do this than to use the pages from the book that had literally saved his life(Fake papers where hidden in it, while it also got officers thinking it was legit as they were in the most famous book in the country, written by their leader).
Second: The book was 13 pages long. It followed the life of Max, and his standover-man. A standover-man being someone standing above you when you are down. As so, we see multiple different standover-men, like his father(He thinks this is so, apparently he disappeared quite quickly), or the people he used to fight when they won and he lost. Then there was that one page that talked about the first basement he hid in, and the friend that was always standing over him. And then the final standover-man, who wasn’t even a man, but a little girl called Liesel.
Third: Each of these standover-men had their own meaning in Max’s life, as each one covered massive amounts of his life. Like his father. He imagines that his father must of once been there in his life, looking down on him. But as he left before Max started forming memories, he would never know. And so in his childhood, and all the way to adulthood, we know he never had a father, which, now that I think about it, is the same as Liesel. Basically, a 13 page book with 13 different meanings and concepts that connect to Max’s life, and an important part in Liesel’s life.
Fourth: So some of you might be wondering why I am putting most of these meanings to Max’s life, and not Liesels. Well, that is because you can use this book to reflect a large part of Liesel’s life. One of the pages even talks about this, how the two of them are so similar. The dreams that they each have, the fact that they both came to Himmel street on a train, and then there is the fighting that they both do. And now that I noticed that there is the fact that both of them never knew their father, and their mother and siblings are long gone, I realised they have another connection in the way that their family is gone. But they both now have Rosa and Hans who took them in and is keeping them alive. Oh, but their is still a difference, which is that Liesel said Max looks like something else, which he always found odd. Oh, and the fact that the book always made sure to say “a german and a jew” and not just “these two normal people”.
So yeah, this book represents many things to Max and Liesel; like how the book that saved Max’s life was used to make it; the many standover-men in Max’s life; the meaning each one held to; and how Lisesl is so similar to him in both life and mind, but still different in race. Honestly, the meaning behind this one book is quite impressive, but it contains to much for me to include it all here. Suffice to say, every page denotes years, and the pages with Liesel denotes an importance in Max’s life that will span years ahead.

“Mein Kampf”- Hitler’s published philosophy, Max’s camouflage traveling to Molching, and the pages used for “The Standover Man”. How was it represented within “The Book Thief”.
First: This is the book all Nazies must read. The reason being that it was written by their leader, and the book itself contains all of Adolf Hitler’s ideals in life, and what he hoped to get from Germany. And so when Han’s son said to Liesel that she should read the book, then you knew exactly where he stood, which is with the Naies.

 

 

“The Dream Carrier” – The text Liesel steals from Frau Hermann’s library.

“A song in the dark” – The text Liesel steals from Frau Hermann’s library.

“The Word giver” – Another gift from Max to Liesel.

Characterisation of The Book Thief

Liesel:

For this task, my job is to do the same for these characters as I did with Death. Now then, let’s begin!

Liesel was first seen as a 9, nearly 10 year old girl, who standing in the snow, crying over her brothers death. “Tears were frozen to the book thief’s face.” At the time, besides having her brother die, it was the last time she saw her mother. From this we can figure out that the past of Liesel before she first sees Hans is quite bad. Or at least, it was a unhealthy situation. “There was an intense spurt of coughing. Almost an inspired spurt of coughing. And soon after – nothing.” This was a moment where the sickness her brother was probably suffering from finally caught up to him. He was sick, so why couldn’t Liesel of been too? There living conditions had to of been bad, to the point where you can die from sickness, meaning Liesel was in those conditions. I know I am not even about to begin going on about all the terrible things that happened to Liesel because of the Nazi’s, but from this beginning we can tell that Liesel and her original family where in bad living conditions. Barely any school, leaving Liesel illiterate. Sickness, leaving Liesel’s brother dead. And as her mother was communist, her mother had to leave her, because if she stayed, the living conditions would get even worse(Like, slavery).

So yeah, terrible beginning. Her character at this point is one of what you would expect a little girl to be like. You know, freaking out over how her brother died, and trying to remember something about this moment by stealing “The GraveDigger’s HandBook”. But if you take into account her sad past, you begin to see a tale of a determined young girl who won’t let anything hold her back. Her determination to find her mother again, and not be held back too much by her brothers death, even while dealing with a heavy and sad past, is extremely impressive and inspiring.

And now we know what kind of person she is at the beginning of the tale, a little girl going through so many terrible experiences that it would’ve been fine if she went insane from it(I would of, pretty much anyone would).  So then we move onto the next part, where she meets her new family!

Hans and Rosa. They deserve their own write ups like this one, but basically, Hans is the kind hearted father, who taught Liesel how to read, and helped keep her sane when anyone else would go insane. And Rosa, who is the mean talking, but kind hearted mother. . ““Saumensch, du dreckiges!” Liesel’s foster mother shouted that first evening when she refused to have a bath. “You filthy pig! Why won’t you get undressed?” She was good at being furious. In fact, you could say that Rosa Hubermann had a face decorated with constant fury. That was how the creases were made in the cardboard texture of her complexion.” That was Rosa, the filthy mouthed women who was mean to everyone, and always angry. But in that quote, you can still tell that there was a certain amount of care in there, towards Liesel. Both Hans and Rosa set up Liesel with a family, with all the love and care you can get from it. This is something she never would of had before this, and would be something she always remembered. And as this came after such a large turning point in her life, this family would of saved her. If Hans or Rosa had acted differently, the Liesel we get later on would of been completely different(If Hans was more mean, she would of never been saved mentally, and if Rosa was nicer, then the concept of meanness would never be present in Liesel).

So basically, we have managed to get past the first chapter or so, and we have already had massive amounts of development, from a little girl with a terrible past, to a little girl who is developing with her new family. Honestly, I could go on and on about how every single person she meets changes her, like the school incident and the bully she beat up, or Tommy Muller who she beat up because she thought he was making fun of her too, but then had to convince him for ages “that she wasn’t going to kill him.” Just this one incident changed Liesel into a person who isn’t afraid to hurt others, while also making her more determined to learn how to read so she doesn’t mess up in front of others again, and also taught her how to tell the difference between friends and enemies. This massive change, and it was one short chapter. So I will shorten down what I say(And luckily at around this point there was ‘less’ development.) The next part is about the middle of the book, after the library incident.

At this point, Liesel can read, but is still increasing her knowledge of words. She can hurt other people if necessary, and also steal from other people to get what she wants. She has Rudy as a friend, and someone for her to talk to, but still not quite confide and trust in, meaning she had social abilities. And Max was living in her basement around here in time, who is someone she always talks to after the near death incident from the snowman. From this, her knowledge on death has increased, and she can ‘better’ handle the concept of people she cares about being in precarious positions. And the library incident got her to know more books, and also developed the idea of ‘treachery’ and ‘guilt’. Treachery from how the mayors wife stopped paying her, which was akin to kicking her out of the library, and stopping her from reading(Which was literally keeping her sane a few years ago, so reading is extremely important to her). And guilt from when she insulted the mayor’s wife, and realised that that might of been a bad idea. This particular incident would of changed her into someone less trusting, and less susceptible to guilt. It also had risen her confidence to overcome guilt and fear, which she used to feel when going to the mayor as she feared being in trouble.

And after all that, I suppose all that is left is the ending. Oh, well, a brief note, I didn’t include the summer of going around painting; or the reading aloud of the book in the shelter; or the suicide of the soldier who came back but who didn’t want to live because he couldn’t handle the guilt of wanting to live; or Rudy and the romance/friendship between them; or Max and the fear of his death or capture, and the many books she got; or the champagne she once drunk and loved; or the time she went into that thief group again, but she left quite quickly because the new leader didn’t like her or Rudy. So yeah

Hans:

 

Rosa:

 

Rudy:

“The Prologue: Colour Imagery”.

1.During the prologue, we get Death, just a chapter full of Death. Well, to be exact, we see Death talking about his job, and how he treats it. Then we see him talk about Liesel in the 3 situations he sees her in. Each of these situations has a colour attributed to it. “When I recollect her, I see a long list of colours, but it’s the three in which I saw her in the flesh that resonate the most…Red, white, black. They fall on top of each other. The scribbled signature black, onto the blinding global white, onto the thick soupy red.”
The colour white was the colour of the snow white sky at the time Liesel’s brother died. “Yes it was white. It felt as though the whole globe was dressed in snow. Like it had pulled it on, the way you pull on a sweater.” This colour was a major part of the book. Why? Because her brothers death affected her always. She never forgot, and neither did Death. And for Death, it was the colour of the snow white sky that he remembered. And so this colour of white became the colour of grief, making everyone remember their own sad memory’s when they see the colour.
The next colour was black, the sky was black at the time, an eclipse had occured at the next death, and there was smoke everywhere from the plane crashing “As with many others, when I began my journey away, there seemed a quick shadow again, a final moment of eclipse – the recognition of another soul gone.” The colour black symbolizes many things, but in general for this book, it will be referring to death and fear, and in the book, the main portrayer of this is the Nazi’s. Everytime the colour black was used, there was fear, or hatred, or death. Basically, the colour black isn’t a good colour to have around.
And the final colour is red:
“The last time I saw her was red. The sky was like soup, boiling and stirring. In some places it was burned. There were black crumbs, and pepper, streaked amongst the redness.” The colour red represents the destruction of everything. This quote, for example, is at the time when Himmel street was bombed. And there are other examples, like the book burning. “To their left, flames and burning books were cheered like heroes.”  Whenever the colour red comes up, so does destruction. The destruction of many lives through the bombing of Himmel Street, and the destruction of the past of Germany through the book burning. This destruction never stops, and neither does the colour red. “The blood enlarged on Ludwig Schmeikl’s ankle.” Every now and then, like with the last quote about bleeding, there was danger, and the colour of red. To finish this off, and as you can surely tell by now, the colour red in “The Book Thief” stands for destruction, through burning, through bombing, and even through bleeding. 

2.“When I recollect her, I see a long list of colours, but it’s the three in which I saw her in the flesh that resonate the most…Red, white, black. They fall on top of each other. The scribbled signature black, onto the blinding global white, onto the thick soupy red.” This is the image of the Nazi flag. Why does this have anything to do with Liesel, who hated the Nazi’s? Well, you see, I have made this point before. It is that all our problems are caused by humans. And in this case, every single problem Liesel ever encounters is because of the Nazi’s. “‘You think you’re the only one, Saukerl?’ She turned away. ‘And you only lost your father…’… Her mother. Her brother. Max Vandenburg. Hans Hubermann. All of them gone. And she’d never even had a real father.” All these people, gone from her life, was caused by the Germans. And we haven’t even reached the ending yet… In any case, she has a lot to do with the Nazi’s, and their flag can be used to represent her young life quite well. The scribbled black, symbolizing all that fear, hatred, and death. The blinding global white, representing all her grief and sadness. And the thick, soupy red, representing the destruction of everything she knows. Her life was first caused and made by what the Nazi’s did, and so their symbol will of course be able to be used to describe her.

3.So far, I should of only been talking about what happened inside the prolog, but to be honest, you can never accurately describe each colour with only that, much as “A single hour can consist of thousands of different colours.”, each colour has symbolic meanings that are far deeper than just her brothers death, or blood washing down the street. You can’t forget the book burning, which represents the destruction of the past of Germany, and the creation of a new Germany. You also can’t forget Max, and all that time he spent in the darkness of the basement, within his own dark thoughts. And then there is the white women in the white bathrobe, being the literal representation of grief and sadness.
Each one of these points is important, as are many others throughout the text.They can all be pulled back out, and allow us to see the world in a different light to our current one, and also show us how Death views the world, through some assumptions on his power.

First is the colour white. “She stepped aside and motioned with her chalky hand and wrist for the girl to enter.” There was plenty of grief and sadness within “The Book Thief”, and each time this person was described with a colour to represent this. For instance, the mayor’s wife, who at all times is described as white, to the point where a random off handed comment describes her as ‘chalky’, aka, white. And we all know that the mayor’s wife is grieving, constantly trying to convince herself that her son only froze to death(Which death revealed he didn’t). Then she starts trying to freeze herself as a form of catharsis. Her entire life resolved around her sadness, and the colour white was used in all cases to describe her. The colour white, just from the mayor’s wife’s sadness, is shown to mean grief and sadness. Then the even sadder thing is how this entire book is trying to describe world war 2. World war 2 really happened, with many, many people dying. And so, it is a given that somewhere out there, at least one person did this to themselves, most likely more. So when I read “The Book Thief”, I end up thinking about all those people out there in similar positions, and the fact that anyone had to ever go through that in the first place.
So all that and far more is described by the colour white.(Did I mention that Max was always described as pale? Clearly, he would be sad, and always suffering from nightmares, but I didn’t mention him because the colour black far better reflects him.)

“Dark. Nothing but dark now. Just basement. Just jew.” Max Vandenburg is a jew, who ‘abandoned'(He thinks he did, but his family was pretty much making him leave) his family, and came to live in the Hubermanns basement. And sure, the Hubermanns are quite nice people, they kept Max alive in their basement for years, having fun with him, feeding him, reading with him, describing the weather to him, worrying about him dying or living, all good things good people do. However, this doesn’t change the fact that he was in a basement. It was dark in that basement. He had nearly nothing to do. Only counting the days until the war ends, or he dies. This generated hatred really quickly. And this hatred was pointed at Adolf Hitler, who he imgagined getting into fistfights with. And of course there was fear. Why wouldn’t there be? There was the fear of being abandoned, the fear of dragging down the Hubermanns with him, fear of the Nazi’s, and fear

 

 

 

Death from the book thief.

Markus Zusak had Death as the narrator of “The Book Thief”. This character is quite different to what Death is normally perceived as. Here is a quote that shows this: “Where was Rudy’s comfort? Where was someone to alleviate this robbery of his life? Who was there to soothe him as life’s rug was snatched from under his sleeping feet? No one. There was only me. And I’m not too great at that sort of comforting thing, especially when my hands are cold and the bed is warm. I carried him softly through the broken street, with one salty eye and a heavy, deathly heart. With him, I tried a little harder.” This tells us that Death cares, at least a little. He was saddened by the idea of Rudy dieing, and wanted Rudy to be comforted like Rudy comforted the dying soldier. This is different to any idea we might have of death. If at any point people managed to begin liking Death, the ending will destroy that as he tells them all about how everyone dies, and Lieselś reaction to this, causing people to associate everyones death with Death. However, I disagree, this quote quite clearly explains how Death cares, and how he is saddened; “One salty eye”; by Rudy’s death. Death was just doing his job, saying “It helps me cope, considering the length of time I’ve been performing this job. The trouble is, who could ever replace me?” Which pretty much means that he can’t leave his job, and no one can take it over. He must pick up the souls of the dead, which includes Rudy, and the rest of Liesel’s loved ones. As this is his job, we can’t judge him for it. Death can feel, and he can care about others, yet his job is to pick up their souls. No other idea of Death would feel saddened by this, but this one. And so, because of this difference, it can be possible to care about this Death. Even if he is death, symbolizing the end of our existence, I can definitely care about Death, if he cares about the people he is working with.

Reading response “Suicide in the Trenches” by Siegfried Sassoon

Poem title: Suicide in the trenches

Siegfried Sassoon, in the poem “Suicide in the trenches” describes the death of a soldier who killed himself. He first describes the situation he is in(“In winter trenches, cowed and glum,  With crumps and lice and lack of rum,”) , then how he died(“He put a bullet through his brain.”) , before proceeding onto a message for the reader(“You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye Who cheer when soldier lads march by, Sneak home and pray you’ll never know The hell where youth and laughter go.”)

This message is simple enough: War caused at least one person to get to the point where they saw no reason to live anymore. No one should ever have to face that kind of existence, and yet, instead of trying to help these people,  the people are merely cheering them on. So of course, this poem is trying to convince people that not going to war would be best, or your life will soon having no meaning, and so be in hell.

This poem taught me that there are many different kinds of people out there. Some who don’t want to live, and so kill themselves. And those who watch on, knowing what happened, but not wanting to discuss it. And with this I realised: There are many different situations out there that people could end up in, but in general, people are always similar; there is always going to be that one person who doesn’t want to live on, but tries to find a reason. But if a war happens, well, what reason could there be? From this lesson I realised that I really don’t want to go to war, for the very fact that I am probably that one person.

The reason for this is that I can understand at least a bit of the mindset that ‘soldier boy’ has. That is, the ideas of “Who grinned at life in empty joy, Slept soundly through the lonesome dark, And whistled early with the lark.” And I guess that the war was just a final tipping point for the person. I mean, how are you supposed to keep yourself alive when you struggle to enjoy and find meaning in life; Particularly when a war is going on around you. The tipping point I am talking about is that the war caused him to lose all reason for continued existence. He was quite possibly already close to this point before the war, for instance that there where only about one or two reasons for life, and that war closed them off from him. Perhaps they where family and friends. Or maybe it was a belief that the future will be a good one. It could even be he actually enjoyed life normally, and had something to do in it he found enjoyable. Maybe even a few things that he finds fun to do. But in any case, a war like the second world war would never allow something like those things to continue on existing. No family; no future but an endless war; nothing that could be fun. What reason could there possibly be when that sort of mindset is used. That mindset which would convince others that everything is fine; even themselves; by grinning without reason; always being alone, and then looking at the morning like you might as well do something with it. That is most likely the mindset this kid has, and I can definitely understand it since I have it.

Really, I’m just lucky that I’m not in a war, and still have some reasons to exist. But that doesn’t change my mindset at all. For instance: I don’t really enjoy life at all, instead, most of the time I just pretend to. I mean sure, there’s happiness, but never for long. And excitement, that’s something I remember feeling thrice in living memory(I lied all the other times I said I was excited). Then there is loneliness. I have one friend, A great friend, sure, but still only one. Oh, and family? My views on my family is that they are all more amazing than me, by one really large degree. How could I not be lonely around them, when I view myself as the only loser amongst winners. And the morning; great time, really. I do enjoy the morning, more than any other time of day(besides when waking up, sleeping is better), as the air is cold, the sun is just shining, and there is only bird chatter. Unfortunately, I don’t really do much at all, so the morning means nothing else but a good atmosphere to me compared to the rest of the day.

Then what about things I enjoy? What reason do I have to live? Well, I love my family, and would do nearly anything for them. I don’t want to lose any friends, and being with them makes me happy. I also believe that a good future for myself is possible, although improbable. Then there are the things I enjoy: there are books(Love those, they let me feel emotions normally! Well, for a few minutes anyway), Food(Tasty, with a hint of satisfaction that my stomach is full), and walking(Who doesn’t like some exercise in their life!). So yeah, there are reasons for my life and continued existence.

Simply put: That kid and myself have similar thoughts about our reasons to live. He just had said reasons taken away from him by the war, which is why I’m lucky. I still have some reasons, and no one is taking them away from me.

This poem also got me thinking about the state the human species is always in. That is, there are always those few people who are getting quite close to death, because they keep on running out of reasons to live. And as the reason “Live because that is the purpose of existence”, well, that just doesn’t cut it. As there are going to be many people out there who think like this, doesn’t that mean that a large portion of humanity is under threat? And if a few of these people die, no one will talk about it, like the people in the poem “No one spoke of him again.” But what if the world goes into another war? How can these people live on when the war takes away a person’s reason to live? Doesn’t this mean that a large portion of humanity will die, leaving the world in a really bad state?

The poem “Suicide in the trenches”, by Siegfried Sassoon, describes the suicide of one person.  And what I did after that was analyze and explain some of the many thoughts and reasons for this poem, and what it means for the world. I went into some depth of a possible state of mind of the person who died, and linked it to myself. And then I talked about how this state of mind could affect the world. Then I stated some questions to make all you readers think a bit more into the situation this world is in. The conclusion we reached was that humanity is in a pretty bad state, as people continue to lose reasons to stay alive. But as long as we don’t enter into another world war, it shouldn’t be too bad.