The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, is an awe-inspiring novel about the power of words. The setting takes place in Nazi Germany, around the time Hitler has risen to power. The narrator, who is death, tell the story about a girl named Lisel who lived on Himmel St. during this time of crisis. Her family was active in supporting the jews and going against Hitler by providing them services, helping one going to a concentration camp by giving him bread, and even housing a jew in their basement to keep him safe. However, the story has an unfortunate end as the war caught up to them, and what Liesle called home was completely blown to shreds, the only survivor was Liesel. Throughout the novel Markus brings up how words can bring out the beauty in people and also bring out the ugliness. These words are used positively to connect people and cause people to feel emotions, and are used negatively to control people in the novel The Book Thief.
Markus Zusak uses words to connect people to one another often throughout the novel. There are many examples throughout the book that Markus uses the power of words this way. But the biggest one is how death and Liesel connects through the words in the book Liesel wrote. Death states, “There’s a multitude of stories that I allow to distract me… and I make sure to remember them as I go about my work. The Book Thief is one such story (549).” After picking up the book Liesel wrote about her story he will forever remember and think of what has happened to her. The power of the words that Liesel wrote connected her and death when death picked up The Book Thief. That connection is shown when he tell her story from his perspective and was sympathetic towards her by showing emotion.
Words are used to make people feel emotions throughout The Book Thief. There were many air raid scares through the book as there was a war happening, but through the nerves Liesel was able to calm people down using words out of a book. During an air raid death says, “The youngest kids we’re soothed by her voice, and everyone else saw visions of the whistler running from the crime scene (381).” Showing that when Liesel read the words off the pages, she calmed and distracted everyone during a nerve racking time. The power of the words were able to change people's emotions and sooth them from the scary times.
Words can be beautiful things but they can also be ugly as they can influence people, and that can be a dangerous power for someone to have. The biggest example of a person having this dangerous power is Hitler. You see throughout the novel that the war and events that are happening, because of Hitler, are destroying families and lives. Death shows that Hitler's words are dangerous by stating, “If I look closely, I could see the words, reporting headlines, commentating on the Progress of the war and so forth. How i’d love to pull it all down, to screw up the newspaper sky and toss it away (336).” Hitler used words more than anything to make people believe that killing was the right thing. Words, were his weapon. Death shows this by explaining how he wants to rip up the words because they were everywhere and people started believing in them. That how Hitler rose to power, by his words. Since his words had enough power, he was able to take over the world.
In conclusion, Markus Zusak wrote an amazingly powerful novel about the power of words. He shows that words alone can connect people to one another and feel a bond. Words can make people feel emotions or change their emotions. But words can also give someone a power that could be dangerous handed to the wrong person. The power of words is really an understatement in this book, words really changed the course of events in history.