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. We learn that Leisel has no respect for Hitler and the way he leads his country as we read the conversation he had with Hans (her foster father). “Did the Fuhrer take her away?”, Hans replied with”I think he might have, yea”, and Leisel defyingly said “I hate the Fuhrer, I hate him”. Liesel is mad at the fact the Fuhrer has taking her mother away, he’s spilt up her family and she dully blames him for this. This tells us how much Liesel is willing to go against her countries leader, whatever the cost may be. 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.
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. This is significant as Max purified the evil book by covering it in 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. The book starts with a sentence, “all my life, I’ve been scared of men standing over me”. By writing this book Max taking 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. In the Standover Man, Max talks about himself as a bird and uses the word “caged”. I believe this word was used because it represents how Max is “caged” in his real life, he’s stuck hiding away in the dark basement. While the bird shows how even tho Max is trapped his spirit is roaming free with the legacy of the Standover Man. 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.
Mein Kampf 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.”Words are life”, Liesel says, showing us the impact not only Mien Kampf has on Liesel, but every book she has red. The words in this book are Liesels day to day life and the rest of Germany’s for that matter. 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. She says, “I’ve hated words and I’ve loved them and I hope I have made them right”. 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. He making the bad words good again and to Liesel he was making the words “right”.
To conclude the Book Thief shows the ideas of …… Through the use of ….. I believe…..