The Book Thief: Character Analysis: The Fear Of Death

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The Fear of Death Many people in the world have fears, whether they are small day to day fears, or big controlling, nightmare-like worries. The fear that seems to conquer and confuse the minds of most people is the uncertain, unfriendly, dark fear of the coming of death. Fear. The very word itself feels dark and fraught. Fear can be seen in something as small and simple as the purchase of a new pair of shoes, where you wonder what others will think when they see you wearing them. On the other end of the spectrum, we have a more complex fear: death. Death will touch everyone’s life at some point, whether they choose to accept that or not; there is no escaping its presence. Many people constantly live in fear and are afraid because they…show more content…
They are immediately in shock and fall into a state of depression and mourning, and tend to think of how this individual’s death will change they way they live their life. In the heartbreaking, yet realistic novel ‘The Book Thief’, a young girl amidst World War II is the only one safe from the bombs on her street in Germany. When she walks out into the trashed and rubble-filled street, she finds the bodies of her family and best friend. She immediately fears that death has taken them, and that it is a horrible fact she must face. “Don’t make me happy. Please don’t fill me up and let me think something good can come of any of this. Look at my bruises. Look at this graze inside me. Do you see it growing before your very eyes, eroding me? I don’t want to hope for anything anymore” (Zusak 521). At that moment, her emotions were completely transformed, and her view of life and death was altered. She became scared of death’s formality; a formality that instantly took her family and a best friend from her without warning. Realistically, this is why death seems so scary: because it is so abrupt. In one moment, something could be so alive and beautiful, but in the next: gone, shattered and miserable. “Is it because the twisted stem must feel pain, when the tenderest hands its glory steal? Is it because the flowerless stalk droops dull and ghastly now that was so beautiful?” (Aurobindo). Especially in…show more content…
In times of war, people had to follow strict rules and guidelines in order to stay alive. People had no idea when their time would come, as it was just a matter of luck. In situations like these, people put their lives on pause, and wait. They wait to see what their fortunes have in store. This “waiting” is essentially the scariest way to live. “The Book Thief” expressed many situations where communities had to gather in basements, with children crying, adults praying with clenched fists, wondering if they would be the lucky street that made it. “‘I think it’s real tonight,’ said Mrs. Fiedler, and the children quickly realized that their parents were even more afraid this time around. Reacting the only way they knew, the youngest of them began to wail and cry as the room seemed to swing.” (Zusak). When all people think about is ‘Oh no, this could be my last meal, or my last walk in the park,” it is certainly a cruel, self-torturous way to live. Death is going to come whether people want it to or not, so sitting around being worried and waiting is no way to be grateful for the time we do have to live. Death is just doing its job. Without it, what kind of lives would people live? They would never appreciate what they have. Death is always around, as expressed in the poem: “Death wanders through our lives at will, sweet
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