General Title The Book Thief Author Markus Zusak Date of Original Publication 2005 Novel Type Novel Structure Point of View The Book Thief is placed in first

General Title The Book Thief Author Markus Zusak Date of Original Publication 2005 Novel Type Novel Structure Point of View The Book Thief is placed in first, second, and third person. At the beginning, and multiple points in the book, Death talks to the reader, using the words you and your. At other points, Death is referring to himself and recounting his own stories, using words like I and Me. Death also narrates Liesels life, using words like her and she. Overall, Death, the narrator, and one of the main characters in the book, switches between all three points of view throughout the book. Relationship to meaning With the point of view being constantly switched around by Death, it helps tell the story of Liesel, and it helps tell Deaths own story, while also letting him interact with the reader at certain points. Death, throughout the whole book, intersects into many peoples lives, not just Liesels. Deaths narration throughout the book represents his ever-present way of being. Plot Structure Exposition The Book Thief is set in the years before and during World War II in Molching, Germany. We are introduced to Liesel Meminger, who at the moment, is nine years old. At the start of the book, she is still in contact with her mother. During the exposition Liesel, her mother, and her brother Werner are on a train on their way to Molching. Tragically, Liesels brother dies on the train on the trip there. Inciting Incident The inciting incident in The Book Thief is when Liesel is given over to Hans and Rosa Hubermann shortly after her brother dies. At first, she is unwilling to leave her mom behind, but after a short while she complies and goes into the Hubermanns house. There, she refuses to bathe, and Hans, her new Papa, calms her down by teaching her how to roll cigarettes. Events contributing to rising action 1st event Liesel picks up her first book, The Grave Diggers Handbook, and takes it with her to the Hubermanns. This book is also one of the first books she attempts to read with Hans. This event is significant due to the fact that its the start of her illustrious book thieving career, and it helps her keep the memory and bond with her now absent mother and brother. 2nd Event The Hubermanns receive Max Vanderburg, a Jewish man in his twenties. He is the son of one of Hans companions and friends in the war. Maxs dad is the person who gave Hans the accordion that Liesel has come to acknowledge and love. At this point, Liesel is given a strict talking to by Hans to make sure that she doesnt leak to anyone else in the neighborhood that the family is hiding a Jew from persecution. Liesel promises to not tell anyone of the secret, and keeps it well until she tells Rudy about Max later on in the book. 3rd event Liesel receives 3 more books on Christmas, two from Hans and Rose, and one from Max. At this point in the novel, she now has six books. This is a very significant event for Liesel due to the fact that she is still in the process of learning to read, and she is looking for more books and any way to retrieve them. She reads all of these books with Hans, expanding her reading knowledge. 4th event Now that the war is getting even closer to home, there are more bombing alerts than ever before in Molching. The basements of all the houses are inspected, and the basement in the Hubermanns house is deemed unsafe by the Nazi soldiers. Instead, they have to go to one of their neighbors houses during any potential bombings. Max, sadly, has to stay at the Hubermanns if there is any potential bombings. (You cant openly bring a Jewish man to a bomb shelter filled with Hitler supporters.) After a few potential bombings, to calm every one down, Liesel starts to read from her books to everyone in the shelter. This marks a point of growth and responsibility for Liesel, as it shows she is brave enough to help others in a worrying and highly stressful situation. 5th event During one of the Jew marches that pass through Molching, Hans gives a piece of bread to one of the weak Jewish men in line. Hans and the Jew are both whipped for this, and in the end, Hans regrets giving the bread to the Jew by giving the bread, he has endangered Maxs life. If the Nazis come and do a search of his house for being a suspected Jew sympathizer, they could find and take away Max, Hans, and Rosa. Because of this, Max is forced to leave the Hubermann household. Hans feels extreme guilt and shame for a long time after sending Max away. The Hubermanns dont hear from him after his last goodbye. 6th event During another Jewish parade, Liesel spots Max. She instantly runs to him and hugs him, refusing to let him go, even when the Nazi officers tell her to. As a result of this, Liesel and Max both get whipped as punishment. Most of the on-looking residents are confused as to why Liesel approached and hugged this Jewish man, but they dont question. 7th event Liesel receives her final book an empty journal from the mayors wife. Liesel starts to write in this book every night in the basement, describing and putting down her whole life, since the moment on the train where her brother died. She titles this book The Book Thief. This book is what eventually saved her from being killed on the night of the bombing in Molching. Climax (Crisis/turning point) On one of the nights Liesel is writing in the basement, the town of Molching is bombed. Even though her basement wasnt qualified as deep enough to survive in during a bombing, the basement lasted through the whole attack, leaving her alive. She loudly calls for help when she realizes she is stuck in the basement, and eventually is saved by the rescue team. When she emerges from the surface, she finds everyone she has known and loved is dead. Events contributing to falling action Seeing Rudy, who is now dead and gone from this world, she finally gives him the kiss he had always wanted from her. She stays by his side and cries until she can tear herself away from him and go see her foster parents. Once she arrives there back at her house, she sits in between the two bodies and first turns to Rosa. Liesel grabs her hand and speaks to her foster mothers corpse and reminds her of the day she first came to their house. At first, she is highly reluctant of turning to see her father, but when she finally does, she turns and hugs him, handing him his accordion and imagining he was playing it. She promises him to never play the accordion or drink champagne. Resolution After silently crying for a while next to her foster parents, Liesel is taken away. Later on, the team collects the notebook and hands it to her. Liesels book The Book Thief was trampled on by many of the workers, and eventually, thrown into a garbage truck. Before it can be taken away, Death picks up the book and keeps it until he eventually returns it to Liesel many years later. Other Significant Structural Elements Symbolism and intense imagery helps shape The Book Thief as a whole. With everything going on, it honestly feels as if you are there in the story, experiencing everything alongside Liesel. I think this strong inclusion with the reader is what has made this book so amazing and successful. Characters Protagonist Name and significance Liesel Meminger is the name of the main protagonist of The Book Thief. She is whose story is told throughout the whole novel by the narrator, Death. Liesel, and more specifically, her writing, is what made the whole book possible. Death clearly states at the beginning of the novel that he only sees Liesel three times in her life before her death, indicating that all the other information he is playing out for the reader, besides his own thoughts, comes from Liesels own version of The Bok Thief. Without Liesel having the idea of writing down her whole life, Death wouldnt have been able to tell the story. Characteristics and thematic significance Liesel is stubborn, determined, and empathetic. With these traits, she is able to help portray one of the themes words are more powerful than actions. With her determination to learn to read, and her gain of empathy and emotional awareness throughout the book, Liesel is able to use her words well to comfort or scold people. This can be seen when she yells at the mayors wife and when she reads to all of the people in the basement she was in during the bomb threats. Change or epiphany and thematic significance Liesel realizes how dangerous the outside world is in two instances. One, with her father warning her of not telling anyone they had Max in their house, and two, when her father tells her that she cannot say that she hates Hitler out in public. At this moment in the book, Liesel learns from her fathers aggravated and desperate actions that not all opinions are valued or accepted by saying her opinions on Hitler, the Nazi party, or the Jews, she could put everyone in her household in danger, including Max. Antagonist Name and significance In The Book Thief, there are really two antagonists. One of them is Hitler, the leader of the Nazi party which causes all the troubles the Hubermanns and Max are going through. The other antagonist is the racist anti-Jew ideology that is spread all over Germany at the time of WWII. These two antagonists, one a real person and another a way of thinking, affect Liesels daily life. Without it, there would be no WWII, Max wouldnt have had to hide in her basement, and those on Himmel Street would not have been subjected to the bombing that killed the whole street. Characteristics and significance To put it simply, these two antagonist can be grouped together as the Nazi Party. The Nazi Party was persistent in their ways and recruiting others in to their group. They were also persistent in keeping their thinking around, making sure most of the citizens stay complacent enough to follow the partys order. Other Significant Characters Name and significance Hans Hubermann is Liesels foster father. He is the one who helps Liesel emotionally and physically deal with her move to Himmel street, and he is also the one who showed her how to read, which in Liesels eyes, is one of the most important skills she has ever learned in her life. Characteristics Hans Hubermann is a kind and patient man he is able to deal with a great deal of things in his life. One such thing is his son calling him a coward and running off with the Nazi army. He does not react violently, but instead, tries to negotiate with him. Hans is also very empathetic. Whenever he has to tell Max to leave because of the bread offering Hans made to the Jew man in the Jew parade, Hans felt horrible for weeks, regretting his poor decision making. Thematic or plot-oriented purpose Hans helped Liesel find who she truly was and promoted her throughout her journey. Without Hans, Liesel may have not reached emotional well-being or had enough confidence to be out on her own in the world and help Rosa when Hans was enlisted in the bombing rescue team. Name and significance Max Vandenburg was the Jew that resided with the Hubermanns in their basement for a while. He was like a second brother to Liesel, and throughout the time he was there, he helped Liesel develop as a person, and taught her one of the main themes of the book, that words are more powerful than actions. Characteristics Max is also kind and soft-hearted. He suffers from his own traumas and ordeals, but he deals with them well, letting his imagination help him cope. (A.k.a the Hitler v. Max fight scenes.) Thematic or plot-oriented purpose Max is a characterization of the theme, proving to Liesel that words can be more powerful than actions, even those left unspoken. Setting Place and symbolic significance The Book Thief is set on Himmel Street in Molching, Germany. Himmel means heaven and sky. The name of the street itself represents the safety and care that it provides to Liesel, at least until the bombing that tore it down. Time period and contextual significance The novel is set in the WWII era. This is important because it shapes the whole book. Without the set time, there would be no Nazi party, no anti-Jew ideologies, and no conflict to affect Liesel. Time span All these events happen from approximately between 1939 and 1943. Conflicts Main conflict type of conflict The main conflict in The Book Thief is man v. society. In this case, the man is Liesel and society is the Nazis and the anti-Jew prejudice that many pure Germans believed in. values embodied in conflict (expressed as oppositionsomething vs. something) As Ive stated above, the main conflict is man v. society. Liesel and her foster parents have to hide and fight against the mindset that almost all of Germany shared during this time period. thematic significance of conflict Because of the sheer hopelessness that presented itself in the situation, Liesel learned to pick her battles and become stronger as a whole. Minor conflict and thematic significance One minor conflict is the man v. man that Liesel has against the mayors wife throughout the end of the story. This short battle she had against the mayors wife taught her the significance of forgiveness, showing her that at times, there really is nothing else a person can do to help or better ones own situation. Symbols and Motifs (3-5) Literal SymbolFigurative MeaningRelationship to ThemeThe Accordion Salvation, comfort, hope, and loss.The accordion ties back into the other theme in The Book Thief, that there is always someone to help as long as you open up. The accordion emotionally helps Liesel in her move to the Hubermanns, and it helps Rosa deal with her husband being absent. The SwastikaLoss, brainwashing, imprisonment.The Swastika throughout the book represented Hitler and his ideologies. It helps show the theme that control isnt just through actions, but it is also through the words spoken by those in power. Book Stealing Empowerment, hope, resistance, revolutionThrough Liesels book stealing, she is in a way rebelling and resisting against the Nazi ideology and forces in her life by becoming more educated. This correlates to the theme that words can be stronger than actions. Significance of Title The Book Thief is titled The Book Thief for two different reasons. First of all, it represents all the books that Liesel stole and her resistance to the narrow-minded and incorrect thinking of the Nazis in her time by educating herself. Second of all, the original The Book Thief is written by Liesel herself in the novel, documenting her own life and journey throughout her approximate six years of living on Himmel Street. Thematic statements (2-3) State in declarative sentence general truths this story reveals about life and/or human naturebe specific and no clichs. Your words are stronger than your actions. Friendship helps people overpower even the most emotionally damaging situations. Death is not only prejudiced against those who have done wrongly in their life, it takes people when theyre time is up, no matter if they are a good or a horrible person. (This line is conveyed perfectly in the song Wait for it from the musical Hamilton. Death doesnt discriminate/ between the sinners and the saints/ it takes and it takes and it takes.) Context Historical WWII is going on at the time of The Book Thief. The invasions and bombings are starting, and by the end of the book, Germany is beginning to lose the battle against the Allies. Biographical The Book Thief describes in great detail what a family like the Hubermanns would have had to go through during WWII while trying to conserve their rations and hide a Jew in their basement, a high offense and crime at the time in Germany. Personal Impact (how it relates to you) I relate to Liesel in the sense of her trauma. I know what it is like to go through repetitive nightmares each night, each one wearing you down piece by piece until you cant even feel anything anymore. I remember my sleepless nights when I would grab The Tale of Despereaux and Because of Winn-Dixie from my little library and read until morning, or, until I passed out. Soon enough, I started writing stories of my own to keep my mid occupied and awake. Liesels experiences in the book strongly reminded me of the struggles I have every night and how I learned to cope with them. 5 Key Quotes A small announcement about Rudy Steiner He didnt deserve to die the way he did. At that moment, Hans Hubermann had just completed rolling a cigarette, having licked the paper and joined it all up. He looked over at Liesel and winked. She would have no trouble calling him Papa. From a Himmel Street window, he wrote, the stars set fire to my eyes. Dont be afraid, she heard Papa whisper. Shes a good girl. For the next hour, the good girl lay wide awake in bed, listening to the quiet fumbling of sentences in the kitchen. Now I think we are friends, this girl and me. On her birthday, it was she who gave a gift- to me. From a Himmel Street window, he wrote, the stars set fire to my eyes. Y, 4IsNXp
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