“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, is about Liesel, a little girl living in Nazi Germany during World War 2, and Death’s view of her life. Death speaks to the reader about Liesel, and while doing so, describes his own situation as well. This essay will explain how Death can’t be blamed for everyone’s deaths, then Liesel’s life, and how she is constantly around death, and then how life is important in every situation. This is all to describe the following point.
World War 2 was an absolute nightmare. It was full of death and destruction, and got everyone trying to survive, with plenty failing. With this novel, we can use the life of Liesel, and the narration of death to describe how important life is, and how unfortunate it is that World war 2 happened for everyone involved.
“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. The things that are causing him to go crazy are the fact that he has seen the death of everyone, ever. Very, very few people could say that they could get through that and remain sane. To actually get affected though, you have to be able to care about people. We know Death cares because of this quote: “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’, ‘cry’, all prove that he can care about people, and feel something for them that is more powerful than a bit of pity. This all once again proves that Death needs saving mentally. Which also means, that if Death is affected so much, he can’t possibly be blamed for being the cause of all the death in the book, since no sane person would continue to do something that will drive them crazy unless they have no choice. That is why distraction is the one saving grace from World War 2, and why it is the one thing protecting the idea of life from death.
“Rudy Steiner slept. Mama and Papa slept. Frau Holtzapfel, Frau Diller. Tommy Müller. All sleeping. All dying.” This quote explains Liesel’s childhood life to us in a simple enough way. Everyone she knows, dies at some point while they sleep. The reason this is important is that it shows us an example of what happens to a person when they lose everyone they ever cared about because of World War 2, and how they think of life afterwards. Liesel never knew her father, her brother died in front of her, every person she knew, like Papa and Mama died while they slept, and Max’s very life is constantly at stake since everyone is against him being a Jew. After all of that, what would Liesel think about death? I personally think that she would never forget them, however, she would still move on. This is because Liesel isn’t mentally weak enough to stop living from that. 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 from her previous trust issues also die). She still isn’t going to die even if all of that happens though, 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, heal over the damage caused during her childhood. Liesel’s life is full of death, all because of Nazi Germany, which leads to our main point. That is, World War 2 ruined many lives, and caused many, many nightmares. However, it also strongly shows how Liesel viewed life, and how even after all of the crap she has been through, she can still appreciate life for what it is.
To properly understand why life is important, we need to understand why it matters if we die, and so the final question is: “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 own life, so when you die, it signifies the end of a life that has caused the death of many others. It becomes quite an important death, at least for a few other lifeforms that were affected when they were alive. What this shows is that death only matters when life matters. And life matters because of the effects it has on everyone else, the same as death. What does this have to do with “The Book Thief” then? 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.” Because he knows how important life is, and how bad it is that people caused World War 2 to happen, and started the death of so many people.
“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, is about Liesel, a little girl living in Nazi Germany during World War 2, and Death’s view of her life. Death speaks to the reader about Liesel, and while doing so, describes his own situation as well. Above I have described how Death can’t be blamed for death as he is being forced into it, Liesel’s life and how even though it is full of death, she can still handle it, and then how life matters because death matters. All to describe how important life is, and how the nightmare that is World War 2 is so important to everyone.