The book The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, portrays several emotions using vivid imageries and through thought or dialogue. One of such writing techniques are used at the epilogue of the book, where the main character dies, knowing that she had survived war, with all the support from her loved ones.
First, let’s talk about how this novel portrays the theme of love.
“From the toolbox the boy took out, of all things, a teddy bear. He reached in through the torn windshield and placed it on the pilot’s chest.”
Although we do not get information on who this boy is, his name is Ruby, at this scene in the book, he has dedicated himself to acts of love, either small or large. Unfortunately, this type of plane, where the pilot is barely even alive, is the one that bombs the Himmel Street, ending his life.
“They hugged and cried and fell on the floor.”
This quote comes near the end of the novel, signifying that they have reunited, seeing that they have survived the horrible times of war with each other, the only thing that kept them alive were the bonds of the things that the protagonist loved.
This novel not only portrays the theme of love, but some can argue that this novel portrays the theme of war. War has not really changed over the course of millions of years, war has revolved around the same idea. Taking over a portion of land/society to further benefit the society they live in. This act usually resulted in genocide and killing of civilians. That is why there is an old saying: War, War never changes.
“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 across the redness.”
The vivid emphasis of color in this quote really does hold up Death’s personality(?). This passage clearly shows that the sky has turned red, steaming, like something has set everything ablaze. The first sentence, “The last time I saw her was red.”, symbolizes that the supposed character that Death sees, is covered in blood. Now it is because of this passage that delivers that war is very cruel and disgusting that it should be discontinued for the peace of our future world.
“That was one war started, Liesel would soon be in another.”
This given passage refers to the invasion of Poland, crossing with her bad day at school, where she was beaten multiple times by her teacher, and then the teacher went on to beat two other kids by herself. Now obviously this situation in school must be stressful. Which is why this day is compared to a war. This shows how civilians get mentally stressed in the course of war, and could be mentally scarring for some. This also contributes to the theme as it’s ulterior meaning is that war scars people not only physically, but mentally as well.
At the end of the day, war leaves tons of population scarred, both mentally and physically. However, our protagonist in the novel The Book Thief, stays sane with the support of her loved ones. Without these kinds of support, she would have been never able to see the light of day. Which is why, the theme of the novel The Book Thief, is War and Love.
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