2.1 written text essay “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak.

  1. Analyse how language features were used to reinforce or challenge a point of view.

“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, is about Death’s view of a little girl living in Nazi Germany during world war 2. Death uses an autobiography that the little girl (Liesel) wrote to describe her life in Nazi Germany, and his own view of what happened based on the memories of everyone involved, and their deaths. This allows us to see Liesel’s life from a unique point of view, a mix of Death’s and Liesel’s. Liesel’s life being: A train ride, a new amazing Papa, a Jewish fistfighter, a lot of fanatics, quite a few books, a bit of thievery, and a lot of death and misery. All of this leads to a book that is great at describing a certain point.

World war 2 was an absolute nightmare. However, from whose point of view can we possibly describe it all? With this novel, we can use the concept of Death to describe the horribleness of World war 2 and in particular, what it means to die.

“As I’ve suggested, my one saving grace is distraction. It keeps me sane.” As this quote suggests, Death requires distraction to save himself mentally. But what could he possibly need to save himself mentally from? Well, lets see. How about every single death of every single human ever. That should be about enough to drive anyone absolutely insane, including the representation of Death in a book who was only supposed to narrate the book to us. And as proof for why Death really does care about all this death, we have this emotive language: “I carried him softly through the broken street, with one salty eye and a heavy, deathly heart.” “He makes me cry.” He was saddened by the death of Rudy, and Rudy’s family. The words ‘broken’; ‘salty’; heavy, deathly heart’; ‘cry’; all prove that he can care about people, and feel something for them that is more powerful than a bit of pity. And so, with this realisation that Death from “The Book Thief” has a human like mind, with human like abilities and emotions; we learn that dying sucks for everyone involved. Seriously, if the very being that represents death doesn’t like seeing people die, then clearly death isn’t a good thing. Death doesn’t like having to watch people suffer or die, and so when he describes other people dying and what the meaning behind certain people dying is later on, remember that Death isn’t to blame for all these people dying. He is just helping to make sure everyone’s souls properly move on.

“Rudy Steiner slept. Mama and Papa slept. Frau Holtzapfel, Frau Diller. Tommy Müller. All sleeping. All dying.” This paragraph is to demonstrate a person’s view on death, by using what Liesel ended up doing after experiencing a lot of death. This is to reinforce the idea that death isn’t normal, while challenging the idea that death is the end of everything.
The quote used to start this paragraph is the line used to break it to the reader about all of those people dying, which is important since this statement completely changed people’s mood. This emotive language got these characters we had been reading about for ages, and killed them all in a single sentence. Which led to most people being rather sad. Liesel never knew her father; her brother died in front of her; every person she knew, like Papa and Mama have backgrounds that include death; Max’s very life is constantly at stake since everyone is against him being a Jew; and then pretty much everyone died while they slept. So after all of that, what would Liesel think about death? I personally think that she would never forget them, however, she will still move on. Why? Because Liesel isn’t mentally weak enough to stop living from that. I mean, she is young, so it did serverally damage her ability to trust others, and make friends(She became like that from her brother and mother leaving, so it will become even worse after the people who saved her leave as well, besides the serious depression). But she still isn’t going to die; she will ‘move on’, and live her life. There is evidence she did that from the quote “There was no recovery from what had happened. That would take decades. It would take a long life.” This quote demonstrates how the only way to save her mind is to live a long life, and let all of the new experiences, and all of that time, to heal over the damage caused during her childhood. Liesel reacted to death by grieving over it, but she still lived a life. So sure, add enough enough death, then a person’s life will become extremely damaged. But, it is still possible to survive afterwards. This proves that death is really effective and not something to be ignored, but it also proves that even after so much death, life continues.

So far we have learnt that Death isn’t to blame for everyone dying, as he is just there at the time for another reason entirely, in fact we should probably be more concerned about his mental health. And that Liesel as a person can survive even if everyone around her dies, proving it is possible for people to do something like that. Now, the final question: What does it mean to die? My own belief(A part of it, anyway), is that if something dies, that is the end of its existence on this world. Everything it did has been in affect, and there is nothing left it can do. In its life, it will of caused the death of many other lifeforms in an attempt to survive for their life. So when you die, it signifies the end of a life that has caused the death of many others, and this is for every life form on this planet. Basically, I believe dying sucks, and every single death matters since every single life form has caused quite a lot of stuff to happen to other lifeforms. Now then, what does this have to do with “The Book Thief”? Well, it is the fact that Death at least recognises how when people die, every one of their deaths matters, and when people kill other people, it really sucks to watch it happen. It leads to this kind of thought: “I am haunted by humans.” Which just goes to show how messed up humanity is, if the representation of death is scared by how humans treat each other. Every life matters, and some evidence of how this is how Death has developed a fear towards humans dying, which shows just how effective and important people are, and a bit on how stuffed up humanity is.

“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, was an amazing book, that can get pretty much anyone to cry. From beginning to end, we get to see plenty of death and misery. There are a few things that are nice and happy, but in general, the fact that the book is rather depressing can’t be forgotten. There is so much to learn and realize within this book, that it is honestly quite amazing. So far I have only analysed what Death thinks of death; whether a person can handle having everyone they care about repeatedly die; and then what it actually means to die. But there is so much more to this book than just that. For instance, what do the colours in the book mean, or the effect of words, or even just a simple, why does Rudy matter in the book. The point of what I writ today was to get you to realize how much dying sucks; it isn’t just a number, but a complete and utter destruction of a huge amount of work and effort. And so, from all of this, I hope you all have a new view on what it means to die, and to have other people around you die.

One Comment

  1. Language features like emotive language and narrative pronouns or something need to be included so that we answer that first part.
    Oh, and less informal. We’re not trying to become friends with the marker. So stop writing like you are. Stuff like (by the way) or (anyway), and definitely the word (basically). The reason for that last word is that it undermines your authority which will make your proof for your point seem weak, which we don’t want.
    And make sure you continue to stick to the point, and reinforce/challenge the whole idea around death.


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