2.9 Reading Response 4

Home – Machine Gun Kelly, X Ambassadors and Bebe Rexha

I have chosen to respond to the song “Home” sung by Machine Gun Kelly, X Ambassadors and Bebe Rexha because its a song about finding yourself through the rough times life presents us with. It presents the idea of discovering peace in this war zone of a world we live in today. Along with these ideas the lyrics sing “someone take me home”,  telling us that the journey of finding your “home” cannot happen alone, we as humans will always need the help and connection of others. 

I am still young at 16 years old , but this song has helped me over this year to get through the struggles life has presented me with. My grandfather passed late last year and this song has helped me with that in teaching me to find myself with the help of my family and friends. I was able to find peace with him passing even through the rough times. The lyric “I found no cure for the loneliness” has taught me that people come and go and there is no way to stop the hurt you are left with, the only thing you can do is come to peace with myself and let go of the hurting. I would personally recommend this text to anyone struggling with a hurdle life has thrown at them as it may help the person overcome the problem and learn to move on in their journey of finding their “home”.

There is so much trouble in the world today, war striking, poverty and discrimination. In the song home I believe that it can help any listener find their own version on peace away from the rife world we are trapped in. It may be used as an escape for those trapped in a world of pain. “To give me the strength to look the devil in the face and make it home safe” This lyric stuck with me as we all have our own devils in life, may it be an unfair boss, the loss of a loved one or a breakup. It’s relatable but also teaches us that we can’t let our “devil” take away our peace, our home. It proves that it can be hard to face your problems but for our own sake we need to have the strength. We need the strength to be able to find our “home”, to be content in our own skin and lead a harmonic life.

The 21st century has brought to us a lot of growth in how we treat each other. Things like equality and the rising openness about mental disorders. We are becoming the most connected generation to come and this song is a representative of this. We are so connected wherever we are with the rapid growth of social media that we forget to be there for people in real life. “Crowded streets, but I’m all alone”, This sentence is a way of saying that even in a place buzzing with people no one is aware of their surroundings anymore. People have become so good at reaching out to people on the other side of the world but have left their own street feeling empty. I think that within this songs meaning of finding a safe place to call “home”, there is also a side wanting man kind to connect once again, to help each other on the journey of freedom within.

2.1 Portfolio Book Thief Essay

Symbolism, imagery, point of narration. chose one and talk about in three different ways
2.1 Portfolio Book Thief Essay
In “The Book Thief” the writer uses book symbolism to reveal the purpose of the text and his writing. These books all have significance in the main character, Liesels Meminger’s life. The three books are The Shoulder Shrug, The Standover Man and Mein Kampf.
The Shoulder Shrug first appears in The Book Thief when Hitler orders book burnings all over Germany. “We put an end to the disease which has been spread through Germany for the last 20 years or more!”Piles upon piles of books were burned in the streets in an attempt to rid Germanys history and create a newer, cleaner Germany.  Late at night once the event is over and everyone has left the site, Leisel sneaks back and finds the Shoulder Shrug amongst all the embers. Its hot and covered in ash but Leisel doesn’t care, she hides it in her jacket and returns home. This is a very defiant act in Nazi Germany and if she was caught or had been seen she and her family would be in danger. In fact Leisel was caught. As she took the book a lady drove past and looked directly at her, Leisel could only hope she wouldn’t tell anyone. The event around stealing this book shows the reader how much books are beginning to mean to Leisel. It also reveals the idea that Leisel has no problem defying Hitlers orders even though the consequences could be dyer.
“Is my mother a communist?”
“did the Fuhrer take her away?”
“I think he might have, yea”
“I hate the Fuhrer, I hate him”
“we also stop our enemies, we stop them reaching into our minds.”
“we put an end to the disease which has been spread through Germany for the last 20 years or more!”
“Books or poster of poisons moral matter, simply to incinerate them”
“The only movement at her disposal was the act of turning” rebelling and symbolic as she doesn’t return the book.
“It was anger and her deep hatred that had fulled her desire to steal it”
“as they progressed through the alphabet Liesels eyes grew larger”
 “in the darkness leisel kept her eyes open, she was watching the words”
“there were all different styles and sizes of lettering on the spines of the black, the red, the grey, the every coloured books. It was one of the most beautiful things Leisel Meminger had ever seen.”
2. The standover man/The word shaker
What this book teaches the reader:
The books revealing the idea, settings, lessons
why they were there, do they show maturation fro Herman death of son or poverty in germany world war 2 didn’t have anything or max being hidden and leisel helped – stand over man every one has someone standing of them represents hitler good and bad standover men.
The Standover Man had a very significant beginning as the paper the book is written on was once Mein Kampf. This is the book Hitler wrote about his ideas and dreams for his new Germany including his political views and future plans. Max, who is the author of The Standover Man, painted each page of Mein Kampf white so he would be able to write his own story. Essentially erasing a small part of Hitlers legacy, to begin his own.
3. Mein Kampf get insight into this as well what was in it and why it was powerful.
What this book teaches the reader:
The books revealing the idea, settings, lessons
why they were there, do they show maturation fro Herman death of son or poverty in germany world war 2 didn’t have anything or max being hidden and leisel helped –

Liesel Meminger Maturation

1) Initially what would you imagine a person who steals books to be like?
Untrustworthy? Mysterious? Evil? How does Liesel differ from your initial notions of who a “book thief would be”?

2) Explain how these early experiences in Liesel’s life would have affected her as a child? What do these early references to Liesel indicate about how she is going to interact with others? What will be her goals/ objectives in life? What
conflicts/difficulties may she have as she matures?

3) Why are books and words so important to Liesel? How does she learn that words can be used for good and for evil?

4) Why does Liesel vow that she will never kiss Rudy?

5) How does Max’s experience in Nazi Germany alter how Liesel views her own

6) Liesel continues to steal books throughout the novel. Why is this act importantto her? What purpose does it serve?

7) Does Liesel live a fulfilled life? What does she ultimately teach us in the novel?

2.9 Reading Response 3

His First Ball – Witi Ihimaera

The short story His First Ball takes the reader through the journey starting when Tuta Wharepapa receives an invitation to the fancy Governors ball. Tuta is a young Maori man, living in a kind of, “nothing town”, he normally goes to work and doesn’t do much else. Tuta resists as his small town quickly jumps on board, pushing him to be someone he’s not. After a very uncomfortable night for Tuta being mocked by white people, he meets a very tall and somewhat un coordinated girl named Joyce. He comes to realise she is an outsider at this ball just like him.

This text is significant to readers as it teaches us not just to fit in, but to be yourself and thats enough. This is important for teenagers especially as it’s a time in our lives where we are testing the waters on who we really are and with this story it helps us to realise that we dont have to “fit in”. The story is basically saying that to fit into society we must first find our true self. We learn this after Tuta has been forced through a journey of “improving” himself in order to attend the ball, when in-fact he didn’t even want to go. Tuta then has a moment of self discovery, “if you could not join them—as if he would really want to do that—then, yes, he could beat them if he wanted to. Not by giving in to them, but by being strong enough to stand up to them. Dance, perhaps, but using his own steps.” This quote teaches us that by being yourself and dancing to your own beat you can truly be happy, it teaches us not to focus on what everyone else wants but what makes you fell confident.

This short story tells me a lot about the world we live in today. Everyone in Tuta’s town jumped on board to make sure he was a better person, Mrs Simmons for manner lessons, Desiree Dawn for dance lessons, even his mum wanted to change him.”Not only did his appearance have to be radically altered, but his manners had to be brushed up also”. This shows that in our societies it seems no one seems to think that if your different its never going to be good enough, someone is always going to want to change you to fit in. To me this seemed unfair for Tuta, until late in the night of the ball when Joyce came into the picture. In Tuta’s thoughts “he suddenly realised that after all he and Joyce were both outsiders.” I see this as the two of them being treated like outsiders just because they didn’t look the same as all the others, Tuta being Maori, Joyce being a tall lanky girl with glasses. They are made to feel mocked just because they are a minority.

Human history has shown how we have treated minorities over the years, black people used as slaves or Jewish people being exterminated. Times haves changed, but obviously not enough if these minority groups like Maoris or the so called “nerds” are still feeling like they have to hid or be the joke in the room. This text is a good example of this as Tuta and Joyce don’t fall into the trap of hiding in the corner anymore, they get up and dance. This shows not only the room but everyone who reads the text that they will not be held down anymore.




Books in The Book Thief

1.The Grave Diggers Handbook

This is the first book Liesel steals and in fact its the book that she finds above the snow next to where her brother was just buried. We are not told the significance of the book but I personally think that because Liesel cannot yet read she see’s it as a momento for to remember her brother. This book stays hidden with Liesel up through the book but holds no purpose until the day Hans finds it. From that point Hans and Liesel work together to read the book. This was a turning point in the book as it was the beginning of Liesel learning to read leading her to aspiring to write.

  1. The Shoulder Shrug

As an attempt to getting rid of the so called “loses” and “defeats” of the “old Germany”, a book burning is started in every small town over the country. The books represent the whole of Germanys history as in that time that was how everything was recorded. To Leisels young eager eyes she could not understand why people would want to burn precious books. To add to this she was very stand offish when the young soldiers forced her to burn a book, she felt pain almost like she was loosing a loved one. Leisel is the last one at the sight of the burning and she manages to find a book that had escaped the fire, she picks it up and hides it in her jacket. The act of Leisel doing this shows defiance to Nazi Germany at such a young age. It also leads to her fearing for her families survival as she was left to put all her trust into the one lady who saw her take that book. What made it worse was that the lady was the mayor’s wife, who by keeping this secret was in-fact putting herself in trouble.

  1. The Dream Carrier

The book The Dream Carrier was stolen by Liesel from Ilsa Hermans library that she had let Liesel into to read her books. The Book is about a young child who’s got no one around and who wants to become a priest. This book becomes another bond between Liesel and Max. This is because while max was in a coma and not able to receive care as he was in hiding, Leisel would read to Max. It was the only way she could help him, by spending time and being there for him even if he wasn’t aware. Max ad Leisels dead brother become a merged dream one night, this is a dream Liesel has being having for close to two years. With Max in a coma we see her feeling guilty for both these evens, as the boys become one.

  1. A Song In The Dark

The green of this book fascinated Liesel, not once had she ever read one like it so of course she had to take it. The theft from Ilsa Hermans library was aloud by the lady herself as she knew Liesels only took what she needed, like she stated earlier on in the book. This book definitely gained meaning over the course of the book. A Song In The Dark was the book Liesel read to her street as the hid in the basement while bombs were being dropped over their town. This book distracted people as they waiting for their unfortunate death. Liesel read because she felt herself, she felt safe and free. This is what she was attempting to do for the scared people of Himmel Street.

  1. The Standover Man

This book was written by Max who paints over the pages of Hitlers ways of Mein Kampf in the pure colour of white. This is fascinating as we all know Hitlers signature with the colours of black and red. For max he’s almost erasing a part of Hitlers world by scribing his story onto the reminince of Hitlers philosophy.  Max also takes away a piece of Hitlers power by writing about freedom over the laws of Hitlers new Germany. In this time Hitler is in complete control over the media but again Max has diminished a piece of Hitlers power by putting his message out into the world to allow the new generation to see the truth. Liesel’s one desire at the time was this book and Max gave it to her. I think he did this because he loves her and wants to see her happy. I also think he gave it to her as they relate to issues they’ve both faced. For Max it’s how he took the place of freedom away from his mother while she faced the rath of Hitler, also as long as Hitlers a leader he will constantly be in hiding, living in fear. Liesel is facing the fact that she may not ever see her mother again due to Hitler.

  1. Mein Kampf.

This book was written by Hitler and it’s different to the others as Liesel doesn’t steal this book, she doesn’t even read it. Although the significance weighs heavily on Liesel. The words in this book are Liesels day to day life and the rest of Germany’s for that matter. But mainly this book is once again related to Max, as it becomes his protection from being discovered. Hans had the idea that as long as Max carried around a book that meant so much to Nazi Germany, he would never be captured. Max also used this book to write his own story by making the pages white. To Leisel this was almost heroic as he was taking all that was bad in the world, and simply erasing it by filing it with kind a loving words.

Characterization in the Book Thief

The characterisation in the Book Thief


At the beginning of the text, Liesel’s presented as a sensitive but strong young girl. We learn this when early on in the story when she finds a book hidden in the snow at her brother’s gravesite, she steals the book and holds onto it as a memory of her family until late in the book where it comes to use as Hans teaches her to read. This shows us how determined she is to hold onto the memory of her brother as well as how brave she is to steal and book and keep it just to learn how to read. When Liesel meets Rudy she’s very closed of and throughout the book continues to build up the wall between herself and Rudy. This happens until Liesel finds him on the ground dead, she then crouches down over his body, calling for him, beginning death to give her another chance, regretting how she treated Rudy. This was a changing point in the book, this is where we first see Liesel actually break down her walls, where she actually treats Rudy like a human and not like a nuisance.


Rudy lives in a house with five siblings as well as his mother and father in a time where there is not much food around and for a young growing boy, Rudys left hungry the whole time. Rudy presents himself as a somewhat motivated but ignorant young boy. We see this when he covers himself in charcoal pretending to be his idol, Jessie Owens. “He smeared the charcoal on, nice and thick, till he was covered in black. Even his hair received a once-over.”  He wanted to be the fastest runner in the world and at this point in time it was Jessie Owen’s, Rudy didn’t give a second thought to the colour of Jessie’s skin. “I just wish I was like Jesse Owens, Papa”. Being the same age once Rudy meets Liesel he doesn’t leave her side, much to her disliking. Eventually, they became an unbreakable duo, from walking to school together to committing crimes. He cares a lot about her even though she shuts him out till basically the day Rudy dies.


Hans has recently become Leisels new guardian, to Liesel he is known as “Papa”. We learn early on in the book how Hans resembles a very gentle giant, he’s a tall man who doesn’t speaks softly and with purpose. He treats Liesel with kindness and because of this death reveals how Hans is the one Liesel loved the most. We see the kindness when Hans goes out of his way to help Liesel wit her reading and writing after she was teased at school. When Liesel has nightmares Hans is always there to comfort her back to sleep. Hans is very creative, we see this in his music with the accordion. Hans disagrees with the Nazi party but does things like join it just to protect his family.


Rosa is first shown when Liesel is being dropped off to her, she holds a cold and stubborn presence as she demands she was assigned a boy as well as a girl. Rosa is married to Hans and is Liesels new “mama”. She’s harsh on Liesel fro the beginning, calling here Saumensch (meaning swine). Washing and ironing for the more rich people is her source of income and usually gets angry at Liesel and Hans for not doing enough around the house. As a result Liesel has to walk way out of town to deliver the washing.  Through out the book we learn so much more about Rosa. With deaths help we learn that Rosa is only tough on the ones she loves the most, she treats them harshly because she just wants to keep them safe. When Hans was taken away Rosa hugged his accordion each night beginning for him to come home and hold her once again. In fact when Hans returns he is able to play the accordion with Rosa across the table happy as she could be.


Max comes into the book much later than the other characters but still seems to win over Liesels heart and even gets Rosa to take care of him. He is a Jew who is on the run looking for somewhere to hide. hans has always owed Max’s family as in world war 1 without Max’s father, hans would not be here. Max is risking his own and everyone else’s life in the Hubermann house everyday he is there, but what other choice did he have. Liesel bonds with max over the nightmares they share about their past and also the safety they see in Hans.

The Prologue: Colour Imagery

White : 7-9

  1. The colour white is representing the first life taken in the book. It shows that the environment in the scene is taking place in is a winter climate, that snows regularly as the snow must be fresh because its “blinding”.  The colour white shows the snow covered all grounds, ” I felt as though the whole globe was dressed in snow. Trees wore blankets of ice” In the action of Leisels brothers life being stripped from his body, all that death could see was a blinding white, showing us how white because a symbol for her brothers death.

Black : 10-12

  1. The black shows us the colour of the night when planes flew over raiding Himmel street,  through the deep dark the black represents another life being stripped in front of Liesel from deaths perspective. We see the difference between black and white as although both insolences have death, Liesel was not in anyway close to the man who died on this dark night. “To show the poles of my versatility”, this comment from death shows us that he has no schedule, death is death and it comes when it pleases.

Red : 13-15

  1. This time the colour red is not used to represent one person, but instead a whole town of people. Death sees these people as red not maybe not for the blood spilled on the streets but this is the colour these deaths are to him. “The sky was like soup, boiling and stirring”, this shows us that the streets of this town were full of frantic people, screaming and gasping for help while the survivors watch their loved ones be carried away by death.
  1. All the colours death talks about above suddenly become one as we read, “When I recollect her (Liesel, the “book thief”), I see a long list of
    colours, but it’s the three in which I saw her in the flesh that resonate the
    most…Red, white, black. They fall on top of each other. The scribbled
    signature black, onto the blinding global white, onto the thick soupy red.” In the short chapters before this sentence we get shown what each colour means to death and how it see’s them, but that goes deeper, each colour seems to recreate a piece of Germany during its change from Liesels view. White is how Liesels brother died on a cold snowy day. Black shows the dark night on which her town was air raided, it also shows the dark years of those Jew’s (like Max) hiding in attics, basements or old warehouses. Those Jew’s were abandoned and treated like rodents. Lastly red represents the biggest most liquid part of the colours, it’s the town of people Liesel has recently come to love, and how they were killed. It shows the blood spilled throughout the streets were the once walked in harmony. From this we can clearly see that the colours of red, white and black all have seperate meanings but have carefully been constructed together to represent the new Germany, Nazi Germany.

  2. White, description of Frau Hermann. Black, Rudy with the charcoal, Max in the darkness. Red, book burning.



The Book Thief Quote

“I am haunted by humans”

Markus Zusak shows us a unique side to the narrater “death” when the sentence ” I am haunted by humans” comes along. Most humans live their lives fearing death, waiting and wondering when death will rid them of their place on earth. This quote allows the reader to see that much like an ant, death is more scared of us than we are of it. I think Markus included this into the book to show us, that we as humans have the power to “scare” death, by living our lives to the fullest. By getting out into the world, travelling or exercising we will continue to show death that we have the power, that we are not the victims.  

2.9 Reading Response 2

The Book Thief written by Markus Zusak is a novel based in Nazi Germany. The book is narrated from deaths perspective, which is different to anything I’ve read before as I become opened to the possibilities that death is not just black and white but instead is something much deeper. Throughout the book we follow a nine year girl named Liesel Meminger and her foster home. The acts that her new family show are out of the ordinary and if caught could get them killed. The bravery they show as a family is incredible. Thus kind of bravery lacks in todays world as people will do whatever it takes to blend in, even if its wrong.

I see the book as a representation of Nazi Germany coming from a child’s point of view. We travel through the experience of Liesel Meminger as she discovers who and what Hitler actually is doing. Liesel then decides she’s not on Hitlers side, but is told she has to keep it to herself if she wants to survive. I think people would benefit from reading this book because it shows how people should stand out and speak up if they dont think somethings right. It shows that just because everyone else is doing something, you dont have to follow.

The Book Thief shows us a look at one of Nazi Germanys few courages families as they chose to defy Hitler by taking in and hiding a boy as well as many other occasions including when Hans, who is Liesels foster dad paints an anti-semitic sign on a jewish mans door. Thinking about myself, I probably wouldn’t have the bravery to stand out like Liesel and her family did. They put their lives at risk every day, I personally simply wouldn’t have the guts. Examples of people fitting in and not questioning things that are wrong happen every day. I would say it’s almost like peer pressure, everyone just wants to fit in so they do what the other are doing.

I commend the actions or crimes at the time committed by the family because from my point of view and in most of the worlds eyes we now see that Hitler tricked people into believing in such things like a “superior race”.  Putting my self in Liesels shoes is a hard place to be and it’s hard for me to say that I would have found it very hard to do what she did. I, like many other people have been manipulated by someone and have later found out that I’ve been tricked onto the wrong side by which point it’s to late. So I personally know how easy it is to be swayed. Liesel was around the age of nine when she had to choose a side and most nine year olds would probably just follow their friends beliefs, but not Liesel. Liesel gathered information before she chose and when she decided to help the Jews/communist, you couldn’t sway her mind.

I think this text relates heavily to what is going on in America today with Donald Trump. I believe that some of the issues being approached in this text are happening in the USA, like an uprise of weapons and war talk with other countries. Hitler started off by slowly winning over a small group of people and over the years he insanely became the leader of a country, I watched this happen wit Donald Trump and although he’s not as smart as Hitler I see him as having some of the same views. For example Hitler wanted to rid the Jews and Donald Trump wants to rid the Mexicans. People in our generation need to be more like Liesel and stand up for themselves, before it’s to late.

2.9 Reading Response

Futility – Wilfred Owen 

The poem Futility by Wilfred Owen starts off by talking about soldiers moving another into the sunlight in hope of brining him back to life. It’s a cold snowy morning in France and even though the sun is usually the thing that provides life to many things, it cannot help this young, cold, dying soldier.  A reference to the “kind old sun” is made by using personification to give the sun emotions that the reader can relate to. I believe Wilfred Owen chose to include this to show us the sun in a different light, we see the sun as if its seen a-lot in its “old” age. I think that we are also shown the compassion it provides to all who fall under it on this cold day. Throughout the rest of the poem we see how all hope is being lost as the writer talks about how the soldier is lacking movement when he asks, “To hard to stir?”. This makes me think how the men usually have faith in the sun as it gives life to the plants and animals but now are loosing themselves as the sun seems to not even be trying to help their friend.

I wanted to study this poem because I have read other pieces from Wilfred Owen and I like how he tells the reader what exactly happened during the war. He shows us a theme throughout his writing that war is a pointless activity. We see this in the poem when he writes “fields half-sown”, this sentence tells the reader how the man and many other soldiers who have past are only given half a life, much like the fields which have only been half done. It makes the reader see how these men had so much more to live for rather than dying on the battle field with a half fulfilled life. I think he does this to show the public what really went on, he wanted the truth to be uncovered. His writing has changed how I see war, I know now and can emotionally feel the trauma of this haunting past. I would recommend this text to others because it’s a short read showing a different side to war. Also because it’s shown me how these soldiers lived, it’s really helped me to relate to these poor men. The poem shows the absolute faith and commitment these soldiers have for each other, how they will try anything to save one another.

To me this text and Wilfred Owens writing teaches the reader very valuable information about the world we live in today. I believe he shows us the very brutal truth about war through the use of his writing. In this poem we see men standing up for each other and thats more than I can say for today. “It’s touch awoke him once” shows us how the soldiers helping the dying men know that the sun has given him life once before and are desperately going to try anything to save their friend. This sentence proves to the reader that these men had time for each other, that they cared for one another. In everyones busy lives there seems to be no time for anyone else, all I can see is  every man for himself. These young men were forced to fight for their lives and they still had time to look out for and commemorate one another. I think Wilfred Owen showed us their compassion to show us the hidden side of war, I think it was used to help represent the idea that these men were humans fighting in a machine war, how they were fighting the wrong battle. I believe the world we live in today really needs to start focusing on whats important, we need to look after the land the soldiers helplessly fought for, we need to stop focusing on social media when other countries are still at war and we need to share our fortunes with countries who cant afford to feed their selves let alone a family.  Wilfred Owens writing proves that even at the darkest of times soldiers proved themselves as caring humans. This makes me think how today there are no longer people looking out for each other in their day to day lives.

After reading Wilfred Owens work it really proves to me how brave you have to be to speak out about something everyone else just considers normal. The point to Wilfreds Owen writing was to present the truth about war, this has swayed my judgement on war because he’s really uncovered things no one else wants to bring up. Like in the sentence “even in France,” showing the reader that even in this place were so much blood has been drawn, the suns touch should give its life to a soldier. It tells the reader that the sun is forgiving even in this god forsaken place. He represents the idea’s of how war is an unnecessary fight numerous times throughout his writing by proving to us that war is pointless, contrary to what most of the population believed at the time. This relates to me on a much smaller level because everyday I have trouble watching girls in this school fight or say mean things behind each others backs about things that aren’t even important. One day I truly hope to be as brave as Wilfred Owen, I hope one day I can dare to be different and face these “bullies” in my life in the way Wilfred Owen was able to face his “bullies”. I want to change what the girls at school “consider normal” cause deep down I know its not.

Wilfred Owen is a talented writer who was faced with the traumas of war, but unlike his peers he decided to speak up. In my opinion this is what makes him stands out and this is how he was able to connect with the world today, generations later. This is inspiring in todays world as there is so much that no one talks about and that no one wants to confront, like third world countries not having enough food or global warming. Historically I am grateful that Wilfred Owen didn’t let us forget our past, the worlds mistakes. I’m grateful because hopefully we learnt from all those wasted lives, hopefully these young soldiers didn’t die for nothing.