The Book Thief: Literary Devices
Analyse how supposedly insignificant events or details revealed one or more significant themes.
“The secret sat in her mouth. It made itself comfortable. It crossed its legs” In his novel, “The Book Thief”, Markus Zusak leverages seemingly insignificant details to convey his deepest themes. Typical of the genre of Magical Realism, where otherwise realistic situations are suffused with a layer of the impossible, the power of words and language is revealed to us in this novel via the personification of everyday objects like books, words, and even thoughts themselves.
Attempt 2: (essential components of an intro paragraph)
Component 1: NAME THE TEXT, THE AUTHOR, THE THEME, AND THE TECHNIQUES USED TO CONVEY THE THEME.
In his novel, “The Book Thief”, Markus Zusak communicates his ideas about the vulnerability of all societies to colluding in atrocities by re-framing the events of the Nazi Holocaust in the mid-20th century. Like many texts in the genre of Magical Realism, a variety of techniques are used by Zusak to help the reader to look at something familiar with new eyes.
Component 2: Link to the question – stating how you will answer, referring to the 3-4 points.
Component 3: Develop a structure for your essay
Body 1: Topic Statement: Zusak personifies death throughout the novel, making him the narrator, and giving him a role in the text. Quote: “I walked in, loosened his soul and carried it gently out.”
Body 2: Topic Statement: The setting is often personified as well, furthering our ‘de-familiarisation’ of the events of the Second World War, and thereby further asking us to re-examine our easy assumptions about how we would never be involved in anything so horrific. Quote: “The streets were ruptured veins. Blood streamed till it was dried on the road, and the bodies were stuck there, like driftwood after the flood.”
Body 3: Topic Statement: Sometimes Death will include the reader in the story through his use of pronouns, almost making us complicit, passive, observers to the unfolding horror of the 3rd Reich. Quote: “We now know, of course, that the boy didn’t make it.”
Body 4: Topic Statement: Death’s strangely discordant perception of place – which he often also personifies, extends his naivety. We are left believing that the choice to follow Hitler is arbitrary. Quote: “She lived for her shop and her shop lived for the Third Reich.”
MODEL ESSAY STRUCTURE 2020
Analyse how one or more ideas in the text served as a warning to readers.
“A last note from the narrator, I am haunted by humans”. Markus Zusak, in his novel “The Book Thief” serves us all with a powerful admonition: Humans are capable of great good, but also great evil. He employs techniques of magical realism to draw our attention to the fact that we ourselves have within us the capacity to perform evil – or at least to stand aside while evil is done. Zusak introduces an element of surrealism to the novel through the narrator, Death. He employs metaphor and synaesthesia to further alienate the reader from their pre-conceptions in order to force us to look differently at the events in a small town in Germany during World War II.
PARAGRAPH 1: Death – “That’s the sort of thing I’ll never know, or comprehend: What humans are capable of”, “I walked in, loosened his soul and carried it out gently”
PARAGRAPH 2: Metaphor – “Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived she would hold them in her hands like the clouds and wring them out like the rain”
PARAGRPAH 3: Synaesthesia