The Book Thief (Assignment)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic

As promised this is the new essay-type piece of writing for the book I was reading which is the Book Thief. Another incredible book and I took out some parts of this one just because it was very specific to the book and not in-context exactly to include.

 

8A

EOB#2: The Book Thief

1. The protagonist is in a situation where on a plane which breaks down mind-flight, they are splighted with 3 other passengers with only 3 parachutes available. What would they do? 

If my protagonist, Liesel Meminger was in the stated situation, she would be the one on the airplane attempting with utmost ferocity to make all others take the parachute and save themselves before herself. Assuming the passengers apart from herself are strangers with no meaning whatsoever to her as well (No bad/good impressions or whatnot) Liesel Meminger would wish for the other passengers to use the limited parachutes if one person were not able to the parachute. Throughout the book, Liesel Meminger portrays a character who is far from perfect and the cliched self-less person but when put in a situation to the test, her integrious, courageous, and sacrificial personality traits are evident. Critical points in the book unveil this. One of these critical points would be when the Nazi Party were to be checking basements of those on Himmel Street consequently putting Max hiding in the Hubermann’s basement in grave danger. As Death describes, Liesel didn’t think twice as soon as she got the idea to make time by getting herself intentionally hurt in attempt to prohibit Max from being discovered. This situation might arise the thought that it was partially based on herself and foster family getting penalized but throughout the book, it becomes evident that when it concerns other’s lives such as in this situation, Liesel doesn’t give much thought to herself before sacrificing herself in one way or another. Secondly, during the early stages of the sirens warning Himmel Street of bombings when Frau Holtzapfel was refusing to go to the safe haven, Liesel didn’t have herself in mind when staying for as much time as possible with Frau Holtzapfel in attempt to get her to safety. Although it is impossible for anyone to be self-less, the fact that Liesel was making an utmost attempt to save a old woman who used to spit at her foster family’s door each day and didn’t consider Liesel’s wish before ordering her to read to her twice a week definitely succeeds in portraying her caring side as well as realization of importance of others lives. Lastly, the necessity of a lot of courage to make a decision such as in this hypothetical situation is showed in the instance where the Jews are taking their march in Molching for the second time in the story. Here, Liesel accompanies Rudy in secretly distributing bread to the malnourished and weak Jewish people heading toward their work/concentration camps. Once again, to sneak in pieces of bread with countless Nazi guards manning simply because it is the right thing to do while completely aware of the very probable consequences takes an indescribable amount of courage, integrity and value of all life. As a result of all these situations and myriad others, I am lead to believe the same mentality Liesel had when doing all these actions would be applied in the situation to conclude that Liesel would try to enforce the available parachutes to the other passengers and be unafraid of her fate probably clutching The Book Thief.

2. Give a pithy summary of one critical passage from the book and explain why and how it is important to the development of the plot or character(s)

In Molching, the Jews are once again being forced to march to their concentration camps while the Nazis and Germans (most) sadistically watch. Rudy and Liesel, oblivious to their own hungry bodies and probable consequences of this doing, go out to the road where the parade of Jews will be walking on and place pieces of bread in advance. They then return to the hiding place behind a christmas tree but it is not enough to keep a Nazi guard from spotting them earning Liesel a boot.

This is a critical point in the story which both furthers the characters of Liesel and Rudy and consequently furthers the plot as well. Both of these characters being 13 years old in this passage are able to make the integrous choice to risk odds for the better good. This act although it isn’t anything out of the world is something that gives a lot of meaning through small but difficult actions. They are old enough to comprehend the risks they are putting themselves but do anyways. Being at an age where doing an act that wouldn’t be accepted in anyway in their present society but still do it for the mere reason being that it is simply what they deem as the right thing is a big deal especially in this context. The on-the-fence situation of their characters as far as integrity and courage is concerned is abandoned with this event where they showcase their true traits as characters with the ability to distinguish the innocent without getting swayed or influenced otherwise. Their personality traits in a way adds to the plot naturally by providing that concrete basis of their characters that is needed to understand the plot and actions involving these two which is why this one scene from the book is a critical and vital scene to the book.

 

3. Give a reflection in any context of the book you read.

This book is simply a brilliant depiction of uncountable morals and messages which made me question basic moralities and ideologies that we are taught. It made me question how what is traditionally right or wrong can be manipulated to be both. In the story we follow children who evolve into teens who commit what would be recognized as crimes but their intentions manipulate that fact which translates into how everything in life has 2 sides and the fact that a cut out rule of what is morally correct and incorrect merely an illusion. It made a greater laughing stock of human kind than what was already in my mind which although isn’t hard to do but done beautifully with the words of Death which truly is saying something. Each quote of Death of the absurdities of human kind when truly taking a step back and actually seeing and understanding made me think about how each action done by means of desires such as power only result in the eternal circle of destruction and chaos. This is shown with the ultimate death of majority of the characters in the story no matter if they were German, Jewish, human or Hitler. Most of all this book lead me to question the idea of free-will in life. If it weren’t for the environment and predicaments and people that moulded Liesel Meminger, would she actually have been the person she was toward the end of the book? Is it really possible to go against all odds by your own ideas and ethics? These questions were all brought to mind while reading this book and even the smallest parts whether it is Death writing about how human’s actions can be described in colours, the similarity between love and writing with both bringing happiness, pain and punishment and the small descriptions of happenings that don’t necessarily hold too much meaning but greatly accentuate the sense of realism in the book all together allowed me to think outside of the book, outside of the situation and outside of all specifics into basics of everything in this world. Unlike superficial and simple books, The Book Thief similar to To Kill A Mockingbird opens the door for readers to have that opportunity to be able to analyze and take personally inflicted perceptions of the book which I truly appreciate as a reader which makes this book simply all the more incredible.


Submitted: November 21, 2014

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