Prologue: “You are going to die. ” Page 3 This passage is at the very beginning of the novel when the narrator is introducing the topic of death. This passage was chosen because throughout the entire book the characters are tragically dying, especially at the end after the bombing. We see everyone that Liesel associated herself with die, and this one haunting sentence foreshadows the events. This statement makes it known to readers that death, is basically inevitable and that there will be a great deal of it in the text.
The passage contributes to the work as a whole because it focuses in on one of the major themes in this novel, death. It uses death as a unifier, conclusively saying that it is one thing that ties all individuals together. This quote intrigues me because it is an eerie truth to not only those in the novel, but to the living, breathing humans that actually walk this planet as if they are invincible. Part One: “When it came down to it, one of them called the shots. The other did what he was told. The question is, what if the other is a lot more than one? ” Page 23
This passage takes place right after Liesel’s little brother passes away. The gravediggers and train guards are trying to determine what to do with the body. In this quotation, it’s literal meaning refers to two pairs of people: the guards that escort Liesel and her mother off the train, and the pair of gravediggers that bury Liesel’s brother’s body. In both situations, one person in the pair gives orders and the other follows them without asking questions. The instructions seem simple, and there is no obvious reasoning as to why the one taking orders shouldn’t listen.
In a deeper meaning, however, the quote brings with it one of the major questions in the book: why did so many people just go along with the Holocaust and why didn’t more people attempt to stop it? When the quote questions what would happen if “a lot more than one” followed instructions, it is referring to the mass amounts of Germans who just did as they were told. The Holocaust, it implies, was a result of this acquiescence. Part Two: “I guess humans like to watch a little destruction. Sand castles, houses of cards, that’s where they begin. Their great skill is their capacity to escalate. ” Page 109
This passage is near the end of Part Two, nearing the bonfire for banned books in celebration of Hitler’s birthday. This quotation is spoken by the narrator, death, and he is failing to understand why the people are so excited for the destruction that is about to occur. More importantly, this passage foreshadows the later destruction that will come in the novel with the major bombing that demolishes Himmel Street and beyond. In the quote the narrator theorizes that the war arose from the same passion that causes individuals to find entertainment in seeing sandcastles and houses of cards annihilated.
Death implies that this destruction is harmless and innocent when it stays on a small scale like this, but when this innocence gets old it is human nature to want to do more destructive things. It is when things like this start to escalate that the trouble starts, and in this situation the escalation leads to the war. Part Three: “ To your left, perhaps your right, perhaps even straight ahead, you find a small black room. In it sits a Jew. He is scum. He is starving. He is afraid. Please – try not to look away. ” Page 138 This passage is nearing the middle of Part Three when Max Vanderburg is being introduced.
This quotation is once again, spoken by death, the narrator. It emphasizes the idea that while Liesel is sitting at home thinking she has it rough due to Rosa’s “cooking” and the fact that she doesn’t have her biological mother around when in all truth, she’s golden. There is a man sitting in a dark room malnourished and frightened who has absolutely no one. This passage stresses the theme that you should be content with what you already have instead of bewailing about what you don’t. Part Four: “I’ve seen so many young men over the years who think they’re running at other young men. They are not. They’re running at me. Pages 174-175 This passage is found at a part in the story where Hans Hubberman’s time in the war is being discussed.
This passage, spoken by death, attracted my attention due to the alarming truth it reveals that is not only true to those in the book, but to humans as well. Throughout the book with each passing day, characters are just one step closer to the day they die, this same fact holds true for us humans too. With that, there is another theme introduced: live each day as if it is your last. Take Liesel and Rudy for example. Rudy is constantly asking Liesel for a kiss, “How about a kiss…? , and Liesel is constantly declining thinking that she has plenty of time to actually do it. Little does she know, he will be taken under death’s wing earlier than deserved and she never gets the chance to kiss him, she thinks life is eternal when in reality, it is not. Part Five: “She was battered and beaten up, and not from smiling this time. Liesel could see it on her face.
Blood leaked from her nose and licked at her lips. Her eyes had blackened. Cuts had opened up and a series of wounds were rising to the surface of her skin. All from the words. All from Liesel’s words. Page 263 This passage takes place right after Liesel scolds the Mayor’s wife for firing her mother from the cleaning job. The passage chosen is another truth to both real people and the characters in the novel. Prior to the beaten down look on Ilsa’s face, Liesel scolded her for laying her mother off, this scolding clearly hurt her. The fact that just a simple set of words made her feel so terribly reveals another theme in the story, words can hurt. Throughout the entire story words had an effect on various characters whether it be Liesel, Max, Papa, or Mama, the list could go on.
This passage made me personally want to think about what I say before I say it and that should be something others try too. Part Six: “ I do not carry a sickle or scythe. I only wear a hooded black robe when it’s cold. And I don’t have those skull-like facial features you seem to enjoy pinning on me from a distance. You want to know what I truly look like? I’ll help you out. Find yourself a mirror while I continue. ” Page 307 This passage is found at the very beginning of Part Six when death is describing himself and what he does. This quote captured my attention due to the meaning that comes with it.
In its literal sense it describes two things: what we think death looks like and what it actually looks like. This passage, however, tells us to find a mirror if we want to know what death really looks like. With that, the passage emphasizes the idea that we are our own worst enemy. If you think about it, just about every bad thing in this world, aside from natural disasters, was created by humans anyways, including our image of death. Part Seven: “Liesel opened one of her books and began to read. The book on the top of the pile was The Whistler and she spoke it aloud to help her concentrate.
The opening paragraph was numb in her ears. ‘What did you say? ’ Mama roared, but Liesel ignored her. She remained focused on the first page. When she turned to page two, it was Rudy who noticed. He paid direct attention to what Liesel was reading, and he tapped his brother and his sisters, telling them to do the same. Hans Hubermann came closer and called out, and soon, a quietness started bleeding through the crowded basement. By page three, everyone was silent but Liesel. ” Page 381 This passage is set in one of the bomb shelters while a raid is going on.
This event is a rather significant one for Liesel, it shows readers how much Liesel has grown up. The same little girl who failed her reading test is now reading aloud to a bunch of adults. She doesn’t need her Papa’s comfort when reading any longer, she is now comforting others. This small act shows the positive impacts that language and other arts can have on people in hard times. Liesel gives the people in the shelter a break from their worry, like Hans does with his accordion music. Part Eight: “In the tree shadows, Liesel watched the boy.
How things had changed, from fruit stealer to bread giver. His blond hair, although darkening, was like a candle. She heard his stomach growl – and he was giving people bread. ” Page 440 This passage is found at a point where Liesel and Rudy are giving bread to those in the Parade of Jews. This passage shows how much Rudy has grown since we were first introduced to him in the beginning of the novel. Though he had his slip ups, whether it be stealing fruit or the Jesse Owens incident, this shows he still has a heart for others and he has grown a great deal.
In the passage it says that Liesel had heard his stomach growl, yet he wasn’t eating the bread, instead, he was giving it to the less fortunate in the parade. This introduces another theme within the novel: be sure to pay attention to those other than yourself. This theme is also revealed when Hans invites Max into his home to live for a while. Hans opened his heart and home to Max and made a friend in the process. Part Nine: “it’s probably fair to say that in all the years of Hitler’s reign, no person was able to serve the Fubrer as loyally as me” Page 491