The Book Thief

Violence in The Book Thief: Close Readings of Key Scenes 10th Grade

In works of great literature, violent scenes often play prominent roles. However, these scenes of violence do not exist for their own sake, but instead add value and depth to the story being told. The Book Thief, written by Markus Zusak, is no exception to this statement. Throughout the story there are many violent scenes, and all of them add meaning and potency to Zusak's writing. In this story in particular, the violent acts show how a cruel, Nazi, fascist society responds to the acts of human kindness; they also show the power of words and, lastly, show how survivors of tragedies handle their guilt. The violent scenes in The Book Thief help to display the themes of human kindness, the power of words, and survivor's guilt.

One example of a violent scene in the story arises during the first time the Nazis parade a line of Jews down Munich Street. “Their eyes were enormous in their starving skulls. And the dirt. The dirt was molded to them. Their legs staggered as they were pushed by soldiers’ hands...” (Zusak, 391-92). The parade of these human beings, being treated like animals, is certainly a scene of unimaginable violence. However because of this violence, Hans Hubermann’s thoughts about the Nazis are shown through his...

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