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The Book Thief
Transcript of The Book Thief
Harnoor Harnoor Bhagtana 7F
May - June 2011 ABOUT THE AUTHOR After reading “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, his popularity suddenly blasted upwards. Critics, teachers, authors, and bookworms alike were hungry for information regarding this amazing author. Markus Zusak was born on June 23, 1975 in Sydney Australia (where he still currently resides) as the youngest child of German and Austrian immigrants. The stories which his parents told him of Nazi Germany shocked Zusak. One story which Zusak still remembers today is about a Jewish parade in Germany. As the Jewish men and women walked, one German young boy offered bread to a particular skinny Jewish. The man thanks, and hugs the boy for he gift. For just giving bread to one equal human being, the young boy is whipped. This story struck an impact on Zusak, and the story stays with him while writing “The Book Thief” (Hans Hubermann is the one who gives bread to a Jewish, and in turn, is whipped). The Book Thief was originally supposed to be 100 pages. Zusak began writing at age 16, and finished his first unpublished novel at age 18. Markus originally wanted to be a painter, but eventually realized he wasn't good at the profession. He was formally a janitor, and now holds a part time job as an English teacher. Zusak holds an art degree from the University of New South Wales. Zusak now lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife, daughter, and son. Other Books:
When Dogs Cry
Fighting Ruben Wolfe
The Book Thief
Markus Zusak usually writes very dark, melancholic stories that have a moral life meaning to them. Zusak's books contain themes of death, morality, friendship, family, courage, struggle, and braveness. MAIN
CHARACTER ANALYSIS The main character is obviously Liesel Meminger. Liesel was ten when she first came to Himmel Street, and over the book span, steadily grows to be around fourteen. I think what the author wanted us to feel when we read about Liesel was that this girl, at a young age, had already gone through so many heartbreaks in her life. He wanted us to realize that the main character was, despite being devious and naughty, still a very kind, warm-hearted person. Liesel was also a very loving person, as she loved many people like Hans, Max and Rudy. Many authors always want girls to be girls. Authors want girls to paint nails, drink tea, dance around in skirts, but Zusak (the author) didn't settle for that. Zusak makes Liesel a tomboy, who plays soccer with all the guys, steals books, and swears. Liesel is a very unique character.
The author makes us engage our sympathy for the little girl, by showing her horrific past in the beginning. Liesel has a very different past, as her brother dies on a train, and her mother dies of sickness. Little is known about her father, but Death reveals that he was associated in an anti-nazi party, so you could see where that went. Markus Zusak also makes Liesel lose so many people in her life that she loves and admires, you can't help but to feel sad for her. Markus also makes us like the character by showing that she is a very quirky, fun loving and naughty girl. So, in a way, Zusak combined both aspects of a character and put them together perfectly. The author, Markus Zusak managed to write very thoughtful, deep quotes. Like I said, the quotes which I loved were very confusing at first, but when you began to think, you would be very pleased with your answer. I think one of my favourite quotes I have ever read in terms of novels, is the quote that Death utters in the final line of the book which is
"I am haunted by humans"
At first, I didn't quite get what the quote meant. And I'm sure most of you don't get it, too. Markus Zusak does something very clever in this line. An ordinary person is usually afraid of death. Humans think that death is absolutely the scariest of all things. The quote contradicts what the average human being thinks. Death is actually haunted by humans. This means that Death is haunted by all the things humans do to each other. Throughout the books, humans deceive, kill, love, hate, injure, and harm. The irony of the quote hits you. This quote made me think of how I think that death is the scariest thing that can happen to me, and I dread it. Before reading this book, I never really thought of Death as a soul who could talk, walk and think just like us. Another favourite quote of mine was
" He’d have been glad to witness her kissing his dusty bomb-hit lips. Yes, I know it. In the darkness of my dark-beating heart, I know. He’d have loved it. You see? Even death has a heart."
This is another one of my favourites because, again, Humans always expect Death to be a menacing figure, who hates humans, has no heart, and has never felt love and warmth. Death tells us in this line, that he does have a heart. Death tells us that despite him having to take everyone’s lives at some point, he doesn’t really enjoy it and he doesn’t do it for fun. He does it because it is the circle of life. These were my favourite quotes. QUOTES THAT MADE ME THINK I think the most devastating and shocking news was delivered at the end, when everyone on Himmel Street dies. This was devastating because all the characters didn’t deserve to die, but regardless, all did. I was sad, and surprised at this. The book first introduced that only the Steiner family died, and I thought that was it, but then they say that all of Liesel’s friends and their parents die, but then at the end, they say that the Hubermann’s family dies too!. WOW! MADE YOU LAUGH One thing that made me laugh in the story is when Liesel and Rudy go to a random farmer's crops, and they start to steal fruits. Since both families were pretty poor, the two decided to go pick some apples up from the local farmer, along with some other friends. At first, everything was going fine, but then the farmer finds out that they are stealing, so he comes out really angry. He tries to injure the children with his farming utensils but it doesn't work and all the children run away. Since the story is very dark, I didn't really find anything that funny, but the author still managed to add some humorous scenes without ruining the story. MADE YOU CRY This book didn't really make me cry, but it was still a very sad story. Everyone except the main character dies at the end! That's pretty much the saddest ending a book can have! Characters that have made you smile, cry, grin, and smirk at them all aren't alive anymore. I noticed two extremely upsetting things. The first was when Max Vandenburg had to leave. Even though the character was introduced for only about 150 pages out of 552, I still was very distressed when he had to leave for the good of the family. The reason was because I thought that Liesel and Max were actually beginning to become great "siblings" in a way because of how much they bonded over the couple of months he stayed. After almost a year of hiding in an old building, and not seeing his family ever after again, he finally felt happy. Little did he know that after a couple of months he would again have run away from his home. Obviously, the part that made me most emotional was when almost everyone on Himmel Street is killed by the air raiding, except Liesel. I mainly felt grief for Liesel because she would again lose everyone she ever loved. The characters that were killed, had different, refreshing personalities that you don't usually see in a book. Hans had a simple, silent beautiful touch. Rosa, though tempermental, truly loved Liesel, and especially Rudy, the comedious rebel who Liesel had become best friends with. MADE YOU ANGRY Something that made me angry was when Hans Hubermann, a full grown man, was whipped just for giving bread to a Jewish. Hans was whipped for giving food to a starving, innocent man. This made me mad because it wasn't fair that he had to get hurt for doing something nice to someone he had never met. This also leads to Max Vandenburg having to leave, so that also made me upset. PLOT The Book Thief focuses on a young, German girl by the name of Liesel Meminger, and on her struggles before and during World War 2. The narrator who occasionally gives some opinions or facts during the book is Death. The novel begins with Liesel with her brother and mother travelling on a train to Munich, Germany. Along the way, Liesel’s brother, Werner, subsequently dies. Death then takes his soul into his arms and leaves. At the funeral of Werner (only visited by Liesel, her mother, and the grave diggers) Liesel see’s a small book entitled "The Grave Diggers Handbook". Thus beginning her obsession of books and words, although she can’t even read. She then arrives at Himmel Street in Molching, Munich, and meets her new foster parents, Rosa and Hans Hubermann. Rosa has a big temper, but Hans looks like he does a have a soft side. The family take her in as their child. Although Hans and Liesel share a special bond. He plays the accordion, teaches Liesel how to read, and soothes her when she has nightmares of her brother’s death. As she begins to read, her hunger for more books increases, and she starts to steal books from unusual places including the mayors wife’s library, and Nazi book burnings. She befriends many kids on Himmel Street, including Tommy Muller, and Rudy Steiner. Her and Rudy also quickly become best friends, but what Liesel doesn’t know is that Rudy also loves her. Liesel starts to finally fit into her new town, but one day, skinny and beaten down Max Vandenburg, a twenty four year old Jewish knocks on the door of The Hubermann's house, everything changes. Hans and Max's father had once fought in World War 1 together and the father had saved Hans from death. Hans later promised to be there for the Vandenburg family if anyone ever needed help. Max, now homeless with no family, who had been on the run for the past couple of months comes to Hans for help. Hans allows Max to live in the basement of their house, and also allows for him to occasionally come upstairs, with the windows closed of course. The Hubermanns family has to swear to not tell anyone and that is especially hard for Liesel, who tells Rudy almost everything. Liesel and Max become great friends, and every night, Liesel spends time with him. One day when a Jewish Parade is taking place, Hans offers a piece of bread to one hungry Jewish. For that, he gets whipped and tormented. The Hubermann family has to quickly get rid of all evidence that a Jewish (Max) might be living in their basement. Max decides to leave for the good of the family, much to Liesel, Hans, and Rosa’s dismay. The possibility of bomb raids begin to slowly rise, and after two safe calls, one night, an actual raid happens on Himmel Street. No one was alerted. Everyone dies in the sleep, including Hans, Rosa, Rudy and his family, and all of the other neighbours. The only reason Liesel stays alive and isn't killed is because she is working on an autobiographical book in her basement. Liesel has no scars, while most of the rest of the people in Molching are killed. After this huge, unfortunate incident, Liesel lives with Alex Steiner ( Rudy's father who was at war during the bombing) for a couple of years, and then moves on to living in Sidney, Australia, growing old with a husband, children, and grandchildren. Liesel dies at a very old age. The end then depicts Death and Liesel finally meeting, and Death finally tells us his secret that only we can know,
"I am haunted by humans". Hitler is the main reason for all of Liesel's grief. During the book, Nazism is also a main issue, The main themes of this book were morality (the choice between good and bad, right and wrong), death, family, friendship, love, discrimination, and nazism. The book is also centered around how powerful simple words can be. Throughout the whole book, the power of words is shown as Liesel begins to learn how to read, and how words affect her, for better or for worse. THEMES UNDERLYING ISSUES Some underlying issues in The Book Thief are:
Liesel and her struggle with words,
Nazism, Hitler's terror and reign, and
Death CONFLICT The most important conflict in The Book Thief
is Liesel not being able to cope and control with all that is happening, and her trying to help all whom she loves (Max, Hans, Rudy, and Rosa). Liesel also wants to keep her loved ones away from danger and close to her but she is always unsuccesful in doing so. RESOLUTION There isn't really a resolution of this book, because in case you haven't noticed already, almost everyone but Liesel is killed in the ending. Some people argue that there isn't a resolution at all, because Liesel does lose everyone she loves. But, in the epilogue of the book, Death tells us that Liesel moves on with her life. Liesel moves to Sydney, Australia, and marries someone (not introduced). Liesel also has children and grandchildren, and Death hints that she does have a good life afterwards. So the resolution can be that, Liesel still moves on with her life, despite the tragedies. THE END,
THANK YOU FOR
PRESENTATION! BIBLIOGRAPHY http://www.randomhouse.com/features/markuszusak/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markus_Zusak http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Book_Thief http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/mar/28/whyiwrite Liesel Meminger is the main character of the book who is ten and grows to be about 14. Most of the book is centered around her. Rudy Steiner is Liesel's best friend.
He is the same age and lives on the same street, goes to the same school, and is the middle age of a family of seven. Rudy is secretly in love with Liesel. Hans Hubermann is Liesel's foster father. He was originally in the World War 1, but luckily was saved by a misunderstanding.
Hans is the loving father who teaches Liesel how to read and write, plays the accordion, and soothes Liesel when she has nightmares. Max Vandenburg is the jewish german who has been on the run for the past few months, and he is also the son of Hans' best friend during the World War. Max comes to live with the Hubermanns' because of a promise Hans made to Eric, Max's father that If his family ever needed help, he would help.