The Book Thief

The Implications of War: A Comparison of The Book Thief and Life is Beautiful 12th Grade

Markus Zusak’s narrative The Book Thief and Roberto Benigni’s film Life is Beautiful use historical perspective to explore the impact of war. Zusak’s The Book Thief uses the narration of death to follow the life of a young girl in war torn Germany. Benigni’s Life is Beautiful then offers an internal perspective of a German concentration camp in Italy during the Second World War. The atrocities that occur in wartime and their ability for the impact to spread is highlighted through comedic devices, historical, and social context. The power of words acts as a symbol, exploring the ability for words to bring power and oppress, and music is then used to reveal the importance of hope and comfort during war.

Both Zusak and Benigni use comedic devices to highlight the atrocities that occur during wartime and the impact they have on people’s lives. The comedic devices in The Book Thief are subtle and dark to reveal the extent of the horrific events. In contrast, the overarching comedic tone in Life is Beautiful disguises the reality for the characters in the story and portrays the grim nature of the fascist regime. The Book Thief is primarily situated on ‘Himmel Street’; the ironic use of ‘Himmel’, which means ‘Heaven’ in German, leads...

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