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Theme of Courage in The Book Thief

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Throughout the years, humans have been known to stand up for what they believe in. As many people know, history tends to repeat itself. In the novel The Book Thief, written by Markus Zusak, he uses characters to repetitively show acts of courage in the face of government tyranny. The characters in the book choose to do selfless acts of kindness for others. This inturn puts the characters in jeopardy. They not only face scrutiny by others, but they face being executed by the fuhrer. People display courage because they care about humanity. People are human, and are morally obligated to help others in A time of need.

The strongest example of characters showing courage and compassion in A time of need can be found on page 195-196: Han’s willingness to stand up for what he believes in, despite the harm that it brings to him and his family is courageous. Throughout the story, Hans is constantly put in situations that allow him to display his courage. In each situation his desire to care for fellow human beings wins out over the cruelty and hatred displayed by those around him. “He must already hate me, huh? I don’t think so. He gave me money didn’t he. He said, “A promise is a promise.”” (Zusak,204) In this quote, Max already assumes Hans dislikes him. He then realizes that Hans is taking A huge risk by taking him in. Hans disregards what could happen to not only himself, but his whole family if he is caught. Rosa makes food for him, Liesel gathers newspapers for him, and Hans makes A home for him. Max then goes to move in with the Hubermans, and later, makes A new friend. This example supports the thesis because Hans is risking losing everything, all to allow A jew to find solace during the war.

Courage is shown many times by Liesel. The most prominent examples of her displaying courage is when she fakes an injury while playing soccer so that she can warn Mama and Papa about the Nazi officers coming to inspect basements. “He picked her up and helped her home. Once inside, Liesel gave Hans the information about the NSDAP inspection.” This is an example of courage because Liesel was willing to put herself into harm’s way in order to protect her family, and her friend Max. This went against all of the Nazi propaganda that she was surrounded by on a daily basis.The secont most prominent connection between Liesel and the thesis is when Liesel shows courage when she read from the book The Whistler in the basement during the first air raid. “For at least twenty minutes, she handed out the story. The youngest kids were soothed by her voice, and everyone else saw visions of the whistler runnin from the crime scene.” This demonstrates courage, because despite being afraid of what might happen to her and the others that were hiding in the basement with her, she found the strength to collect herself and put aside her own fear in an effort to make everyone else feel solace, and less afraid.

Another way courage is shown in the novel, is when Max traveled from Stuttgart to Himmel Street. “When he was pushed out by the rest of his family, the relief struggled inside him like an obscenity. It was something he didn’t want to feel, but nonetheless, he felt it with such gusto, it made him want to throw up. How could he?”. This quote about Max and his family show courage because he is willing to leave his family to their fate in order to, hopefully, survive WW2. Although he trusts his friend Walter Kugler, going into hiding is fraught with danger, and he could be caught at any moment. This relates to the theme, because overcoming his fear of what might happen, and of losing those that he cares for most, shows courage.

Zusak conveyed courage as a central theme in The book thief, to let the audience know that humans are willing to put the odds against them in order to do the moral thing. Characters in the novel repetitively display heroic acts of courage, and by doing so they risk their own life. This concept about how courage is in each individual, lets people know that there is good in the world. It is rudimentary in facing adversity, whether it be tyrannical, emotional, or spiritual.  

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Theme Of Courage In The Book Thief. (2022, February 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 7, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/theme-of-courage-in-the-book-thief/
“Theme Of Courage In The Book Thief.” GradesFixer, 10 Feb. 2022, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/theme-of-courage-in-the-book-thief/
Theme Of Courage In The Book Thief. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/theme-of-courage-in-the-book-thief/> [Accessed 7 Jul. 2022].
Theme Of Courage In The Book Thief [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Feb 10 [cited 2022 Jul 7]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/theme-of-courage-in-the-book-thief/
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