The Book Thief

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The power of words in The Book Thief

I’d be intrigued to see an analysis of themes in Markus Zusak’s ‘The Book Thief’. It covers a delicate time period in an engaging way, with strong themes of death, hope, and importantly, writing & stories.

Obviously writing is a powerful tool, and the ways it is used to bring hope in such a situation perhaps holds implications (and analogies) to modern day issues – and how writing shapes people reactions to them.

I’d love to see an analysis of this, and how it can be connected with today’s tenuous political climate.

  • I would really appreciate an analysis of how and why the author used German words in a predominantly English written book. – bmaan 4 years ago
  • This is a fantastic topic! I would also love to see an analysis as to why most of The Book Thief was narrated by Death, and how that impacted the story considering the subject matter and time. – M. L. Flood 4 years ago
  • I'd love to see how words literally give Liesel her power. As someone who does not have a lot of power at the beginning, how does learning to read and acquiring more pieces of writing give her more power as the novel unfolds? – IElias 4 years ago
  • I have nothing to add here except that this was one of the few books I've read that successfully did a unique narration style that was engaging but not gimmicky. As M. L. Flood pointed out, Death as a literary device alone is worthy of an article. It's also worth asking--in the age of the Internet, how do we relate to Liesel? What empowers us with knowledge in similar ways, and who or what are we fighting against? – Eden 4 years ago
  • Concerning languages uses and powers, as well as the perks – the necessity even – of being multilingual (here, I'd link it to the fact that the author kept german words in an English written book), there is the work of the philosopher George Steiner, that, to me, might be enlightening and useful to substantiate on the power of words in Marcus Zusak’s "Book Thief"! (I know G.Steiner works a lot on words and languages, though I only read "Errata: An examined life" very recently for a philosophy class (and for this topic, I’m particularly thinking about the seventh chapter, French edition), but I look forward to read more of his work!) – Gavroche 3 years ago

Death as a character- how this changes the story

Analyze how creating an image for "death" and having death be a character changes or impacts a piece of literature and in what ways. I immediately think of "The Book Thief" by Marcus Zusak and how he portrayed death to be its own entity in the novel. This alongside the mini story J.K Rowling had in her well known Harry Potter series called "Tales of Beedle the Bard" death is yet again seen as someone in a human like form.

  • It might be worth taking a look at the great work that Lindsay Ellis has done on this subject, both on her personal channel ( and with PBS Digital Studios ( I'm sure there is still plenty worth talking about that she missed, to which I'd caution the prospective author against risking too close a retread. – ProtoCanon 4 years ago
  • It would be interesting to look at Death in the context of greek mythology as well as the role of time within death particularly in Alice through the looking glass. Time has control over death but as the film continues the audience see Time as a caretaker if anything. – NCSERCOMBE 4 years ago