The Capability of Human Strength in Markus Zusak´s The Book Thief

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The tumultuous event of World War Two Germany reveals the human’s desire for strength. Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief explores the human need for feeling powerful and the lengths people will go to obtain it. When Liesel first arrives at the Hubermann’s she feels powerless, she attains power through stealing books and learning how to read. Rudy Steiner also longing for power tries to obtain it through standing out and impressing people. Max Vandenburg, a Jewish fist fighter hiding in the Hubermann’s basement feels weak since he has little control over his life. He gains strength by fighting for his own survival through imagination and words. Zusak allows readers to relate to the novel by using the characters struggle for power to depict aspects of human nature in society. At the beginning of the novel Liesel is without words and cannot read, she seeks power through stealing books and learning diction. At school she struggles with reading and is teased by the other students. “Nearing the end of the break,the tally of comments stood at nineteen. By the twentieth, she snapped. It was Schmeikl, back for more, ‘Come on, Liesel.’ He struck the book under her nose. ‘Help me out, will you?’ ” (Zusak 78) This shows how powerless Liesel felt without her words. With the help of Hans, he patiently teaches her how to read The Grave Digger’s Handbook, the first book she had stolen. Liesel was able to learn how to read during these midnight sessions in the basement and her knowledge of words strengthened. On Hitler’s birthday, a book burning was prepared in Molching. Liesel boldly steals her second book and commits her first act of defiance against the Nazis by stealing a banned book in public. Leisel’s love for books evolves from mourning over h... ... middle of paper ... ...d simply surviving was is an act of resistance against Nazi Germany. Max idealize take possession of his life. The events of the holocaust impacted the lives of many throughout Germany. The Book Thief demonstrates human need for feeling powerful and the lengths people will go to obtain it. Liesel unable to read or write is fragile. With Hans’ help she reveals the true power of words by bringing hope among the residents of Himmel Street during chaotic times. Rudy obtains power through standing out and proving himself to others by impressing them. Max feels helpless due to the little control he has over his life. He gains power by fighting for his freedom through imagining battles against Nazi Germany and writing over Hitler’s Mein Kampf. In conclusion, Zusak uses Liesel’s struggle for strength as an element to reinforce aspects of human nature throughout the novel.

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