The Book Thief

Why does Death describe Europe as "gray"

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The metaphysics and theology of Death (the character) and dying are not explained in the novel. Death's relationship to God -- or to any other spiritual being, for that matter -- is also ambiguous. To Death, "God never says anything," and to where Death delivers human souls is not explained. As Death carries away the souls from Auschwitz, it again tries to distract itself with colors: the sky turns from "silver to gray to the color of rain," and Death imagines the sky past that, "knowing without question that the sun was blond, and the endless atmosphere was a giant blue eye." The notion that God was "absent" during the death of six million Jews -- God's "chosen people" -- is an enduring theological controversy. Death's frustration in receiving no response or comfort from God echoes this idea, and the "giant blue eye" hidden by the dark clouds over Auschwitz is symbolic of God.