Edpalin the use of irony in the novel as it relates to the three following topics: liesel's obsession with stealing books, Rudy's admiration of Jesse Owens, and death's humanlike qualities.
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Early on, Liesel can't even read when she steals the Gravedigger's handbook. Later on she steals books from the mayor's library even though the Mayor's wife leaves a window open for Liesel to get in a "steal" the books.
In 1936 Jesse Owens, a black American athlete, wins four gold medals at the Olympics in Berlin. This infuriates Hitler who had his "master race" athletes competing. Alex Steiner, a card carrying Nazi boy, paints himself black and runs the 100 meters to emulate a black athlete.
Chapter "The Jesse Owens
It is, of course, ironic that an entity responsible for fetching dead people becomes our guide to the living. Markus Zuzac, however, gives Death some human like qualities. Death is curious about humanity. Our evil and our goodness seems not so much ironic but a paradox to him. (I'm not sure it's a him, just guessing). Some other ironies are that he isn't this depressing shadow that enjoys his job. I'm not sure I'd do lunch with him or anything but he does express sorrow and regret. He finds Liesel heroic. Death also isn't this black cloaked shadow with "sickle or scythe". He is a representation of humanity. One of the most telling ironies is when he tells us that if we want to see what he looks like, we should, "find a mirror". We are all who Death is. Death is the force that binds us all.