The Book Thief

548 Words3 Pages
In the novel, The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak explores and compares the juxtaposition between great brutality and beauty in the human spirit. The author demonstrates how the characters in the novel can overcome cruelty and ruthlessness with acts of extraordinary kindness and humaneness. This is shown through the novel with Max and Liesel’s friendship, when Hans gives one of the Jewish camp prisoners a piece of bread and when Rosa and Hans protect Max from the Nazi’s. Zusak illustrates that a human’s capacity for hope is difficult to destroy. Throughout The Book Thief, Max and Liesel’s friendship is developed amidst war and suffering. Given the circumstances of the time and Max’s background they still manage to develop a special bond between the two of them. This is made evident several times in the novel including when Max gives Liesel The Standover Man for her birthday. This story that Max writes himself defines the significance of their friendship, as he says in the story; ‘Now we are friends, this girl and me’. He illustrates and expresses his love and friendship with Liesel by comparing their dreams with each other as they have both have this in common. It also allows Max to ‘understand that the best standover man I’ve known isn’t a man at all...’, so his friendship with Liesel helps him uncover things he wouldn’t have been able to without her. Furthermore, the message that Zusak is trying send is that friendships can still be made no matter what the circumstances are. In the novel, Zusak shows that regardless of the cruelty and brutality of humanity, beauty can always overcome it somehow. This is evident when Hans gives one of the starving Jewish camp prisoners a piece of bread. When Hans ‘held his hand out and presented a piece of bread, like magic’ to the Jew it symbolises the beauty amongst all the war and suffering. This was a very risky decision that Hans
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