Symbolism In The Book Thief By Stephen Frayn

1272 Words6 Pages
When we first meet Stephen, he is described by his older self Stefan. This is the only description we get of Stephen and, as many of us do, his older self picks out all the negative things about him- “the too-short grey flannel school shirt hanging out of the too-long grey flannel school shorts.” Stefan even sees his younger self only in monochrome for a while. We get short, scattered descriptions of Stephen from time to time- “teapot eared Stephen, with the half-open mouth and grimy tennis shoes”, but for a true depiction of Stephen’s character we must look deeper into the novel. Frayn uses symbolism often in this book, one of the first times being when Stephen is knocking at Keith’s door. Stephen’s socks are sagging and laces untied. When…show more content…
His father tries to bridge this gap with complicated questions such as “what is x if 7x2 is 49? His mother tries by asking Stephen to invite Keith over, something that Stephen almost laughs at her- “She doesn’t understand anything, and I couldn’t begin to explain.” Geoff bridges the gap by making fun of him. Stephen is embarrassed by his father’s words, by his mother’s plainness and even by himself. “Why do we have an embarrassing name like Wheatley?” an ironic statement, since we find out Wheatley isn’t his real name and his parents chose it because they thought it would help the boys to fit in more! However, at least his parents acknowledge him. Mr and Mrs Hayward refuse to even talk to him. “She wouldn’t speak to him personally”, “Would he actually turn to look at Stephen for once”. When Mrs Hayward actually addresses him, it is because she is so lost in her thoughts. When Mr Hayward finally speaks to him, it is to beg him with the word “please”- and important shift in power between the two. The Haywards refusal to talk to Stephen is another reminder of Stephen’s

More about Symbolism In The Book Thief By Stephen Frayn

Open Document