When in the Book Thief Death tells us that Rudy “didn’t deserve to die the way he did.” Do we believe that he is lying or that he is telling the truth. I believe that Death is not a liar. Because, when we think about Death we realize that he is an outsider, who has nothing to gain from lying to us. He also claims that the ending is not important but rather the “Machinations that wheel us there.” I think that yes the machinations that wheel us there are just as important if not more than the ending, because it shows us how we and the characters have changed.
In the Book Thief there is a scene where Max abandons his family with his friend to go with his friend and save himself. I think that this situation is a matter of philosophy. People might think that it was wrong and Max should have pressed for his mother, aunt, or siblings to be taken, but instead he takes himself. I think that because Max was a young able-bodies young man it was right for him to do this. Especially when we see later on in the story it torturing Max as he wonders if he did the right thing.
Liesel Memminger is a pretty good thief. She has yet to get caught while stealing and has taken some pretty good stuff. The problem is that Liesel isn’t always stealing from the people that have enough rather than the people with way too much. In the time when she is stealing fruit from the orchard the man is not like the priests and Otto Strum. He is just like her. In need of some food and nourishment. In the case off Otto Strum she is justified because she is taking from someone, when her family is doing all that they have to sustain themselves. In other cases however, she is not justified.
I believe that books are certainly dangerous to a dictatorial rule. Books are able to give people an opinion about something the dictator is saying. In the Book Thief she steals a book called “The Shoulder Shrug” that had been burned by Nazi officials. She wonders why the book was burned, when she realizes that the protagonist is a Jew who is portrayed in good light. If you are a dictator you definitely don’t want your people doubting what you are telling them. Books have the power to sway minds, and as such are an enemy to dictatorial rule, because they offer the people a chance to doubt what their leader is saying.
Source: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. Page 177
Context: There was the funeral, and Bruno and Gretel and Father and Mother and Grandfather sat in the front row, Father wearing his most impressive uniform, the starched and pressed on with the decoration.
Dictionary Definition: stiffen fabric of clothing with starch
Ammon Definition: harden and make nice, with cloth
Characters are essential to a good book. Without good characters the book feels dull and hastily scrapped together. Good characters give the book depth and the reader something to cheer for. If you have a bad protagonist then the reader almost wants the villain to win because he can’t find any reason to not want the villain. He feels like the protagonist just hates the villain for no reason. Where as, if you have a good villain the book has more meaning and feels more entertaining. It doesn’t only happen in books though. Take Black Panther, for example. The movie was an instant success and earned Marvel a crap load of money. The villain, Killmonger, had an interesting backstory, and in some ways was right about what he was fighting for. So, authors, give your characters better depth
Source: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. Page 170
Quote: “‘It’s only food.’ Bruno said. ‘I can’t’ said Shmuel, shaking his head”
Context: Shmuel is a jew in a concentration camp who has been brought up to Bruno’s house to clean some glasses for Bruno’s father, a high ranking Nazi official’s, birthday party. Bruno is offering Shmuel food and Shmuel is refusing it.
This Makes Me Think: It’s cool to see the differences between the poor, abused, hungry Shmuel and the healthy, happy Bruno. To Bruno the food doesn’t mean anything and he could give it away to everyone at the concentration camp. But, to Shmuel the food is everything and needs to be cherished. It’s interesting to see the differences and Bruno’s ignorance.
Source: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. Page 164
Quote: “‘There’s a pirate in it,’ said Bruno. ‘Called Long John Silver. And a boy called Jim Hawkins.
‘An English boy?’ asked Kotler.'”
‘Yes’ said Bruno.
‘Grunt,’ grunted Kotler.”
Context: Bruno runs into a Nazi soldier named Lieutenant Kotler. He doesn’t like Kotler and Kotler asks him what he is doing. Bruno is reading Treasure Island and this is the conversation that follows
This Makes Me Think: I think that this is a really clever way that the author successfully shows us the extent of the Nazi’s hatred for the English and the Allies. While not exactly inspiring it shows how people turn against everything associated with someone in a time of war.