The Book Thief

the book thief

why does death uses the colors of the sky to describe the tone? what does iit symbolize?


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Death observes colors as a distraction from the anguished survivors of the dead: "I do, however, try to enjoy every color I see--the whole spectrum... It takes the edge off the stress. It helps me relax." In its three encounters with Liesel, Death describes three colors: white, from the snow outside when Liesel's brother died; black, from the night sky when the American pilot crashed his plane; and red, from the sky during the firebombing that took the lives of everyone on Liesel's street. In the prologue, Death conflates these colors into the Nazi flag: a black swastika in a white circle surrounded by a field of red. Death's evasion of human misery draws it to a stark emblem of Nazism, the very cause of that misery within the story. Much like the German people who disagreed with Hitler's violent anti-Semitism, Death tries to look away from atrocities but can only arrive at the cause. Death also tells the reader that it observes "a multitude of shades of intonations," that "a single hour can consist of thousands of different colors." Death's willingness to observe different shades in the color spectrum indicates Death's fundamental indecision about whether the human race is totally good or totally evil, suggesting that in Death's analysis, human beings are at various times capable of being either good or bad.