The Book Thief

The Pen is Truly Mightier Than the Sword 10th Grade

Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief follows the life of the once illiterate Liesel Meminger and her progression into literacy set primarily during WWII in Molching, Germany. Liesel is adopted by a German couple in Molching, Germany after the death of her brother on the way to Molching and the implied death of her own mother. She begins to form relationships with town folk such as her adoptive parents, Rosa and Hans Hubermann, Max Vandenburg, a Jew the Hubermanns hide in their basement, Rudy Steiner, her childhood friend, and many other denizens of Molching. As she forms relationships with said town folk and develops her literacy, the double-edged nature of words becomes apparent, which bring both desolation and consolation. Adolf Hitler, the unseen antagonist of the entire novel, exemplifies the desolation of words and their impact on an entire country of impressionable people and an entire race of Jewish people during the Holocaust. As a result of widespread desolation, Liesel realizes the consolation of words, as they are able to comfort her bereaved soul by developing friendships with others. However, the fullness of human experience in Zusak’s The Book Thief is captured through a mixture of consoling and desolating words; words...

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