Friday, September 7, 2007

The Book Thief Connections

While reading The Book Thief, I have made connections between this book and other texts, as well as connections between this book and myself. When I began reading The Book Thief, I immediately made a connection between this text and Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, a novel by Stephen Crane. Both pieces depict a young female attempting to, as Crane puts it, "blossom [] in a mud puddle." Although Maggie lives in a New York slum in the late nineteenth century, Liesel's situation is equally dark as she struggles with similar issues of poverty and violence in Nazi Germany. I also see connections between the language and the tone in both novels. Crane begins chapter four of Maggie with the following line: "The babe, Tommie, died." This line strikes me as cold and disconnected as the facts are told in a matter-of-fact fashion. Similarly, Death, The Book Thief's speaker, tells his story in an indifferent tone at times, "He was nearly two years old when his father died, shot to pieces on a grassy hill" (188). I believe that the novels' tones give readers an even greater idea of the dark realities that the characters both stories face.

One of the first connections that I made with The Book Thief had to do with its inclusion of different German words and phrases. I took three years of German when I was in high school, and I fell in love with the language. If I see German now, it's almost like a puzzle to me to see what I can remember. That is the way I have traveled through this novel, as though each word and phrase included is a little riddle for me to figure out. I really get excited reading this text because it includes elements of a language I have experience with and enjoy. When I am a teacher, I want to provide my students with diverse selections so that they may have a chance to make connections between themselves and their reading.

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