A Dream Within A Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?  
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp 
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

I rarely find that questions arise from my inner self after reading a poem, but A dream within a dream written by Edgar Allan Poe made me question my lifes purpose as soon as I had read the final sentence. The poem has a rather grim tone and discusses some things that most people tend to steer away from. Even though its a dark poem I found beauty within, for it is a poem that leaves one questioning and guessing. I cannot summarize what the poem is about other than what I believe its about because A Dream Within A Dream is a bit like art. Different people will take away a different message from it and for me that’s the beauty of this poem. What I believe this poem is depicting is the reality of how time is passing away and there is nothing we can do about the inevitable end that all face. I also believe the Poet is writing this as if to say life is nothing more than a creation within the imagination. 

There is no denying that death is inevitable but even so life is filled with so many joys its easy to brush of the truth. Death is something one mustn’t dwell on as it easy to find yourself becoming absorbed in a world of negativity. That’s what the mind does after all. It goes on and on and on from one thought to another. This poem is resembles the reality we all face in life but that doesn’t mean one must surround themselves in these realities. We all face death regardless to the quality of life we live that’s why I believe its important people must live a life of fulfillment in which they set and achieve their ambitions. Time is always ticking by and for some they are unable to grasp onto the time they have and put it to good use, whilst others can achieve extraordinary things with their time. I find this line from the poem, ‘And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand’ reiterates this idea as it is referring to the sand in what I believe is time. Its as if the poet is saying that he is aware he controls his own time and its up to him how he uses it.  The author makes its out like time is a personal belonging that is only effected by what you do with it. How does one chose to spend their precious time, their ‘grains of golden sand’. Life and time. To me I find that they are the same thing intertwined into ones purpose. I believe this is why the author is saying that time is created in the imagination. Time is not a physical thing but merely something we human beings have created for the sake of systems and measurement but this poem takes it out of the context. In my opinion this poem is separating what people perceive time as into its more philosophical meaning. However its up to you how you perceive time and I cannot be the answer to how you do so.

Book response The Hate U Give

The hate U give

Angie Thomas

Starr Carter is a teenage African American that lives in two separate worlds. One of these worlds is the poor neighbourhood of Garden Heights where she has grown up with her family and the other is the posh prep school she attends. Starrs parents want to give her a life better than what her neighbourhood offers so they invest a lot of money into giving Starr a proper education. She finds it hard to balance between these two worlds as they are so different from one another, but this balance she tries so hard to maintain is completely broken when she witnesses her unarmed best friend, kahill get shot dead by a police officer. Being the only witness at the scene causes Starrs life to become busy with news networks and police. It’s amazing how much friction is built up when Khaill gets shot as it causes Starrs neighborhood to erupt into a violent protest for Justice. The novel is surprisingly in depth about real world issues and discusses many of the racial problems people face in the USA.


Despite this novel being fiction it taught me plenty about the world we live in because The Hate You Give tries very hard to keep things close to reality. This book is centered around the shooting of Kahill and how people reacted to it. Multiple protests were held by large groups of African Americans who called for justice, some of these protests were violent whilst others were people speaking up and demanding for something to be done. Many of the problems that occur in this book are based on actual events that happened. I am aware of the struggles African Americans have been through in the past at the hands of white people and within modern America there is still plenty of friction between the whites and blacks as there has never been resolutions to all the previous problems. This caused stigmas around how some people perceived blacks in USA which I will delve into later. The Hate U Give makes this friction between whites and blacks very clear when Starr is confronted by officer one fifteen,‘ “Hands on the dashboard!” the officer barks at me.“Don’t move” I do what he tells me, but my hands are shaking too much to be still” ’. Kahill and Starr get pulled over by officer one fifteen who tells them they have a broken taillight. When Kahill hesitates to cooperate with the cop officer one fifteen loses his cool and tells the two to wait by the car. As the officer has his back to them Kahill walks around the car to see how Starr is doing but that’s the moment he gets shot dead by the officer. Kahill was unarmed and the officer wasn’t being provoked in any noticeable way. It happens so quickly and feels so weird because there was such little build up to the shooting, it just happened. The shooting made me angry because I couldn’t understand why this man would pull the trigger on an innocent black teenager.  I am highlighting the fact that Kahill was indeed black because I strongly believe that if he were to of been white this event would of turned out very different.

The lesson.

The book is heavily centered around the shooting and how the results of it afflicted Starrs life. Shortly after the shooting Starr is asked if she would like to have an interview with the cops as it would help them understand the situation better and get another perspective. When Starr is interviewed about the night of the shooting the cops ask her multiple questions that slowly become less and less related to the matter at hand. Those questions being things such as if Starr knew Kahill sold drugs on the street. Starr never denies any of these questions but never admits she knew about them either. I found it upsetting that the cops were asking about questions unrelated to the shooting, especially ones that were asked in such a crafty way. The reason I find it upsetting is because its clear that the cops are trying to justify Kahills death with the association he had in selling drugs. I found it incredibly disrespectful for a number of reasons but the thing that resonated with me the most was how racist the cops were being. The cops are trying to make this look like a typical black drug dealer got shot and that officer one fifteen is actually the one who deserves praise. But in reality officer one fifteen shot the black teen because he presumed Kahill was going to threaten him. The cop didn’t question his actions, instead he presumed based off of a poorly misconceived stereotype. The cops in this novel are ill minded by making a tragedy look like a fortune and I have no respect for people that are liars because there is no justice in keeping the truth locked up.

Roughly a week later an update on the shooting appears on TV discussing how the victim was involved in selling drugs. The cops were only using Starr to manipulate what she said so they could tell a different story to the media. The story the cops told the media looks like this on the headlines, “Black Drug Dealer has been shot dead”. I find it absurd that the police find it acceptable to make Kahill look like the bad guy because in this novel the cops are really the bad guys. Firstly an officer shoots an unarmed black teen and then they are blinded in racism and go on to tell the media that Kahill was a threat. If I were Starr I would be absolutely furious with the cops and most certainly take a stand in the protests held for Kahill to show my support for what really matters. What I believe really matters is for everyone to be equal despite what Stats or the media tell us because the reality is not everyone in the USA is treated with the equality they deserve.

I want to further discuss the reason as to why Officer One Fifteen shot Kahill as I believe the reason why the officer presumed Kahill was a threat is vital in regards to the entire novel . When he shot Kahill it was unjustified and wrong but its important to understand why the cop pulled the trigger.  I am not trying to justify his actions for I am disgusted by the outcome his actions caused, I’m merely trying to express my opinion on where the stigma this cop has towards black people came from;which I believe falls onto Racial Profiling. This is when law enforcement suspects somebody of being associated with illegal activity without proper evidence and purely assuming so by their race. Racial profiling occurs everyday in the USA and unfortunately for Kahill it was the cause of his death. What Racial Profiling does is awful because it creates a fear in the people towards those they should trust, those being law enforcement in this situation. I also believe it isolates communities because they feel as if they have no protection.  These signs of racial profiling are made clear in the book as Starr Carter remembers what her dad told her to do in a situation with cops,‘ “Starr-Starr, you do whatever they tell you to do,” he said. “Keep your hands visible. Don’t make any sudden moves. Only speak when they speak to you.” I knew it must of been serious’. At a young age Starr was told how she must act if she ever had to deal with the cops. This struck me with anger and annoyance because there was only one clear reason why Starr was given this talk. That reason being that black people are racially profiled to such a level in some areas of USA that they need to take action to prevent or lessen any  incidents from occurring. I know none of my friends or myself were given a talk about this type of scenario and I completely understand why. However circumstances in New Zealand are rather different for we never had a history of racial segregation or black slavery tied to us. It’s unfortunate that families such as Starr’s have to take such precautions to prevent anything bad from happening to one another but it’s also their reality.

After the shooting there is very little written about the cop other than how his life has been a struggle ever since the incident. It’s hard to understand the cops point of view on the situation when so much of the novel focus on the family and friends of Kahill. We get some insight into the cops emotions and thoughts after the shooting in a brief interview with a news station. The cop tells the interviewers how he saw the situation, ‘ “And they kept glancing at each other, like they were up to something, Brian says that’s when he got scared, ‘cause the could have taken him down if they teamed up.” I couldn’t have taken anyone down, I was too afraid. He makes us sound like we are superhuman. We are kids.’  The reason officer one fifteen thought they could of taken him down is based off the stigmas. In his mind the officer truly believed that these kids were capable of taking him down. He was so convinced that Kahill and/or Starr were going to team up and ‘take him down’ that he took the matter into his own hands and shot the Black teenager that supposedly posed a threat. These actions were purely based of presumptions that lead to the death of an innocent black teenager. Though it is awful that we must learn from such tragic things in life they are also what allow us to learn and move forward. The only way for stigmas such as the ones I have discussed can be abolished and put in the past is if people become more accepting. If we were all respectful of peoples ways then there would be so much more acceptance in this world and people could be who they wished to be.  I am not saying that if someone is religious you should join their religion or if someone is from another country and talks differently to you that it is required for you to learn their culture. Just be respectful of their ways because everyone is tied to different backgrounds making us see the world in different ways. If someone comes along and tells you your way is wrong how do you think you’d react;I imagine you’d be annoyed and upset. This is why I believe we must look at everyone as their own unique self and be prepared for all the diversity we will encounter in life. 


The Hate U Give will make you question how we think as a society as there is plenty of thought provoking moments in this novel.  I won’t spoil the ending because it’s such a gripping novel that its truly worth finding out for yourself.  The book takes in depth looks into American society and how the blacks are treated over there. Despite this book being fiction is holds incredible value as it is written in such a honest way that reflects plenty abut the world we live. I highly recommend this to as much people as possible as it will open you up to the USA in ways you may of not seen it before. 



level 2 essay

Analyse how language features revealed the writer’s purpose in the written text(s)

The author uses language features to give an in depth perspective on a WW2 setting.  When reading this novel there were many ideas presented with well thought out meanings however I will only be discussing the ideas that are most relevant to me and made me question things on a larger scale. There are many thought provoking ideas in this novel and many tend to be based around the negative side of WW2 but this doesn’t change the amount of value the ideas presented gave me. I found that many of Markus Zusak’s most important messages were inside of the novels Liesel encountered during the Book Thief. Liesel is a 9 year old girl and the main protagonist of the novel.  One of the novels that stuck with me was The Word Shaker, the story Max Vandenburg wrote and gifted to Liesel. Max was a Jew who Liesels foster parents were sheltering during WW2. I will further analysis Liesels and Maxes relationship as it is very symbolic and many of these symbols are presented in The World Shaker.

“It was a nation of farmed thoughts”-The word Shaker

Indeed it was. I find it ironic that only 10% of the German nation was part of the Nazi party whilst the other 90% were controlled by their movement. I am sure there would of been those who didn’t agree with the Nazis view but even so the majority of people were controlled by them. Even people like Hans, Liesels foster father who was completely against the party had to make efforts in trying to look like a supporter of the Nazis. There was no tolerance for openly being against the Nazis which goes to show how much power over the people they had. You weren’t able to express your thoughts because the nation was only allowed to think a certain way;the Nazi way. At the top of the Nazis was Hitler the mighty leader. The one with all the power on top of his great nation, but where and how did he get such power? The Word Shaker was what gave me a different view on how Hitler rose to power. The reason I found this important is because Max was not a person blinded by the Nazi ways. Maxes religion was frowned upon by the German masses because Hitler told them Jews were like a disease that would eventually take over Germany. I know this is not true and so did max which is why the Word Shaker is so important because it gives us a viewpoint on Germany WW2 from a Jewish perspective. A perspective that wasn’t mislead by a foul leader who filled peoples minds with misconception.

The Word Shaker

The Word Shaker opens with Hitler wondering how he would make the world his and one day it hits him, ‘ “I will never use a gun” he said “I will not have to.” ‘ Hitler was a smart man and figured out how he would gain his power. Words were the key. Words were the way for Hitler to push his thinking into a reality.  However some denied his thinking. Some stood true to their own beliefs despite the changing world around that was pressuring people into era of thinking. Liesel was one of those people who opposed Hitler’s ideas. The word shaker shows Liesels defiance in a very symbolic way. The story starts with a powerful message,’The best word shakers were those who understood the true power of words’.  Liesel Understood the true power of words for she was once without words giving her the insight into how powerless one can be without them. She wanted to use her words for good putting something positive into the world unlike Hitler who used his words in a manipulative way to create a nation of ‘farmed thoughts’.  The Word Shaker goes on to explain how a young girl befriends a man who his despised by his nation. When this man becomes ill she sheds a tear of pure friendship onto his face, this teardrop grows into a tiny seed which she then plants in a forest filled with trees, she nurtures the tiny seed until grows into a big tree. This is a very symbolic moment in The Word Shaker as it is referring to the time when Max was ill and Liesel tended to him everyday hoping he would get better. The tear that Liesel drops shows how much she cares for Max and how she will not give up on Max, continuing to stay by his side despite all the negativity surrounded the Jews in this point in time. At this time in history Germany was a place that had no acceptance for the Jewish people so for Liesel to care as much as she did for Max was incredibly dangerous for the both as it meant risking their lives to maintain a friendship.

The story goes on to explain how Liesel plants the tiny seed which grows with time and becomes a strong and tall tree. This tree resembles Max and Liesels friendship as it grows stronger and stronger with each day, until its the biggest tree in the forest. This symbolizes how friendships can have very small beginnings but grow into something strong if someone is willing to nurture it. The forest its surrounded in is full of Hitlers trees, these trees hold only negative words that bring nothing but hate into the world. Hitler spreads his hateful words throughout the nation and like a forest his words begin to root themselves into the ground. This rooting is similar to society when people become indulged in false information and begin to believe what they are told, over time those words grow and become more and more embedded in the people and as a forest would, begins to spread. Despite the forest that Liesel and Max are surrounded by they continue to remain friends. This shows how defiant Liesel was as she would risk her own life for Max. Germany was a Nation filled with hate towards the Jews but Liesels friendship with Max means more to her than what the Nazis thought. This is shown when the axe men attempt to cut down the tree of Max and Liesels but Liesel climbs up in defiance to stop them from cutting it. Liesel will not be put down by the nation she lives in for what she values is far to precious to lose.

The physical copy of the word shaker is very symbolic too as it is written over what was once Mein Kampf. To Max Mein Kampf became his source of survival for it was what gave him cover from Nazis. When Hitler was rising to power he released a novel named Mien Kampf which is German for my struggle. The book was an autobiography written by Hitler that outlined his ideology on the the future for Germany. Mein Kampf essentially acted as Nazi German bible as it contained the core beliefs of their mighty dictator Hitler. Max used Mein Kampf like a passport because it created a fake identity for him, making him look like a believer of the Nazi movement. In some instances his life depended on this novel so its understandable why he cherished it so much during this point in time. However later on in The Book Thief Max paints over Mein Kampf in white paint so he can begin writing his own stories over top of it. This shows that Max is defying Hitler by no longer letting his words control the way he lives. It also shows how much he cares for Liesel as he writes The Standover Man and The Word Shaker over top of Mein Kampf which as if to say, ‘I no longer care what you think Hitler I have new beliefs.’ To Liesel these books showed her who Hitler really was and how words are the most powerful weapon you can posses.

WW2 took many things from Liesel Meminger that she will never be able to get back but it also gave her things that will be with her all her life  It took her family, her friends, her home, her innocence but it also gave her words, friendships and courage. People like Max taught Liesel some of the most powerful lessons she would ever be taught as well as people like Hans who was the first to teach her how to read and write. It is hard to say what WW2 did to Liesel but one thing is certain, she would never be the same. I believe the authors message in all of this is how the power of words can be used for good in times of anger and hate. Even someone as young as Liesel can use her words to create a strong friendship with someone like Max whose region is being oppressed by the entire nation. Words can have huge impacts on peoples lives be it good or bad, in the case of Liesel and Max words were used for the greater good.

The maturation of Liesel

How did I initially picture a book thief to look like?

1)I think thieves in general are people with few possessions and little to lose.  A book thief is no different to a jewelry thief in my opinion because all thieves share the same traits. Sympathy must be given to those who steal because they are people who aren’t as wealthy or secure as the general population may be. I don’t have any particular stereotypes attached to what a thief may look life for it could be anyone. Hypothetically if I were to be in a very poor country with little money I am near to certain I too would attempt acts of thievery. I don’t believe a thief looks any different to any one else, even their hearts can be in the right place.

2)To lose your entire family at such a young age comes with tremendous amounts of pain and grieving. Liesel is lucky to be taken in by Rosa and Hans for they give her a life where she is loved like any other family would love their child. If this never happened then I believe Liesel wouldn’t of recovered so quickly because her new foster parents gave her a normal life so shortly after having to part with her brother and mother. However they cannot replace what she once had.  I cannot speak for Liesel because those that suffer the loss of loved ones can deal with the matter in many different ways. She may feel a great deal of pain and suffering when she is older or she may not. For some the loss of a loved one can make them a fragile and unstable person. For others they may become a stronger person through their loss and learn how to deal with certain elements of life in a new way. As time passes I can imagine Liesel becoming a much stronger person because she has learnt how to deal with such tragic moments from a young age. At the need of the day Liesel is the only one that can truly know how she is feeling and I can only speculate so much as to how her losses truly made her feel.

3)Words give Liesel many things. They give her new worlds to dive into and unravel their mystery’s. Words give her challenges as she learns new and more complex words each day. They give her the power to speak her mind. They allow her to connect with new people such as Max Vandenburg. Liesel gains many things from words and grows a love for words that results in her stealing several books. Even with all the great things that words teach Liesel she also discovers that they give men like Hitler power. They may teach her the wonders of literature but they are also responsible for many of the deaths during WW2.

4)Liesel loved Rudy, there is no denying it. Though the love she had for Rudy was from a friendship perspective not a romantic one. She ends up regretting her decision to never kiss Rudy as she only does so after he dies. However that doesn’t change the past, for she technically never kissed him. Rudy and Liesel both loved each other however I think Rudy was coming from a romantic point of view. They have such a strong relationship in this book that is one you wish they can keep for ever and that’s why it hurts so much when Rudy dies at the end of the book. If Rudy were to of lived I can imagine the two of them ending up as either life long friends or partners. They symbolized love in a very pure form which showed us that love is not always from a romantic feeling.

5)Max opened her mind up to many great things. Some of those things were also rather grim such as his reasons for staying with the Hubbermann’s. Max is running from the Nazis for being a jew throughout the course of the novel and has to part with his own family to save his own life, knowing they will mostly likely die. Liesel didn’t have it easy but neither did Max, however I am not going to justify that one of the characters had it harder than the other. This is because both were suffering equally as much as the other, there is no need to saw who was going through more pain than the other. What Max did for Liesel was give her comfort and allow her to share her grief and nightmares with him. Max was like an older brother for Liesel and gave her the comfort and reassurance that she needed. Being of an older age meant that Max could deal with his situation rather well which is why he acted as a role model for Liesel.

6)Liesel’s continuation to steal novels is driven by curiosity, anger and passion. Books gave her many great things in her younger age so it makes plenty of sense as to why she would keep stealing books. You have to put yourself in Liesels shoes to understand why her thievery never stopped. Books were one of the few important things she had in her life so she cherished them very deeply. Bookstores were filled with propaganda during this time period so she couldn’t buy them there if if she had the money. With few options there was only one way to acquired what she desired.

7)The lessons Liesel taught me were few but valuable all the same. People can recover, even from the most desperate of situations. The amount of loss Liesel had to bare in her younger age is immense.  If a writer can make me emotional from watching/reading a young girl lose her most beloved people then I can only imagine how much pain it caused Liesel.  Recovery sounds far fetched for someone in Liesel’s condition but she pushes through the worst to become her best self. I find this great motivation for the times when I am in need of reassurance that it will be ok. Words are peoples greatest power. The book thief mainly revolves around Liesel Meminger and her love for words. Many of the people around her also helped me to acknowledge the power of words.



Who is Rudy – Book Thief Characterization

Who was Rudy

Rudy is no more for he no longer is but was a young boy, even so he represented some ideas that are fairly significant

He was blonde and an ideal of Hitlers beliefs

Rudy gave us a closer look at what Hitler wanted  in the future generations. White, Blonde, Athletic, Smart. Kids like Rudy were considered another race of superior human called Aryan. During the Nazi revolution Hitler wanted to eradicate all other races that were considered impure to him, so people such as Jews and Blacks were attempted to be eradicated.

He was Naive to the Jesse Owens incident

If a grown adult were to be caught doing what Rudy Steiner did the consequences would of been most likely sentence to death. Luckily for Rudy he wasn’t an adult and was caught by his father which are two reasons why he wasn’t taken away from Molching. Rudy didn’t care about the consequences of his actions because he couldn’t see anything wrong with what he did. He loved Jesse Owens far more than the Nazis beliefs in the eradication of blacks and Jews for Rudy didn’t value their ideas whatsoever.

He liked to win

This doesn’t necessarily have anything to with the big picture of the novel but its an important aspect to who Rudy Steiner was. A young boy who had an abundance of determination that lead him to greater places than those around him. I could see Rudy going great places in the future if he never died at such a young age(14).

He was determined

Rudy always had a competitive streak in him that he loved to display in his sport. In particular, running. Whenever he got the chance he’d race Liesel for the one prize he cherished the most, a kiss. He never got that kiss. But he never gave up. He was a fighter that kept on going even if he knew he’d lose.

Family comes first

Despite the flaws in Rudy’s life he was always a happy kid. Money couldn’t buy him the loving family and friends that he had which Rudy cherished deeply. Even when offered to be sent away to a Nazi Elite school that was only for a specific few, he denied. He couldn’t put this offer before his family because he was a boy with values. Plus Rudy wasn’t a big fan of Hitler since he discriminated Jesse Owens,  Rudy’s idol.


What does any of this mean?

Well when mixing all of these points together it would seem Rudy resembles a young, genuine boy that lives his own life no matter what those around him say. He follows his dreams and carves his own path no matter what surroundings he is in. He taught us things about the people around him such as his dad being controlled by fear and a nation ran by ill minded national socialists. He gave us insight into the nation that had people controlled through fear.

2.9 Reading Response Born a Crime

Author: Trevor Noah

Date: 25/05/2018

Title: Born a crime


If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. Nelson Mandela


In a post apartheid nation some have it a lot easier than others, Trevor Noah the author of this biographical novel is on the other end of the stick. Despite Trevor being one of the nicest and funniest guys I’ve ever read about he is not seen this way by everyone due to his parents being mixed races. Yeah that’s right, a black mother giving birth to a child whose father is white is a big Cha Cha(Zulu for No No) in the post apartheid country. South Africa was and still is split by colour which creates these strong social and racial barriers that will take decades to break down.  However this isn’t a story of Trevor Noah’s struggles but a story of the struggle around him.

To describe how bad Trevor Noah’s situation was let’s take a scenario in the book that to anyone reading will consider ordinary.  A walk in the park with his parents. You must understand that there is a very big difference between the ordinary in Trevor’s life and our lives. His mother couldn’t simply take her six year old son into the park holding hands with her white husband. Instead Patricia Noah had to dress up as a maid, get a lighter skinned friend to walk beside her husband to act as a couple and then and only then could she even be remotely close to her husband in public. To Trevor this is the only world he’s ever known, a world of struggle. But it was never his struggle. This was one of the first eye opening moments in the book  because it gave me a glimpse into another country I have heard so little of and how ill minded the people their can be. We live among people and for there to be groups of people who can’t have normal families based on there colour is disturbing. I think the reason this occurs in countries such as South Africa is because we don’t question how we treat one another enough. In this particular case the white people are never seen to be questioning their own actions but instead putting the blame on somebody else. In places like school I can see lots of judgement but little thought.  I have seen many instances where kids are picking on the odd one out, Verbally bullying through judgement, harassment and most importantly the stuff that is said behind others backs. The bullies never question their actions until someone with higher authority steps in and unfortunately a lot of it goes unnoticed until someone speaks up about it.  For those receiving all the harassment it will become embedded in them as normal unless they can find a resolution. In life there will always be the bullies and the receivers. How do the receivers in South Africa react? With violence. You can blame the man who shot a man for pulling the trigger but who blames the man who made him feel the urge to pull the trigger. The change isn’t going to come from the receivers, it’s going to come from the bullies. Yet we expect a change to come from those causing all the violence but cant see where the problem arises from. It’s an endless cycle that hasn’t seen a resolution for centuries. However to Trevor he didn’t see any of the world like this for he could see the truth.“As a kid I understood that people were different colors, but in my head white and black and brown were like types of chocolate. Dad was the white chocolate, mom was the dark chocolate, and I was the milk chocolate. But we were all just chocolate.” Trevor could see people for what they were, people. There was no stigma around colours for him and I think this is heavily due to how he was raised. It is the people that create the problems not the people that are the problem. When the masses in South Africa begin to realize this it will allow for big changes to be made ever since the last big changes that resulted from the end of apartheid. 


As you are speaking to someone it’s respectful to look them in the eyes. It shows you are engaging with them and being respectful towards them and their words. I speak English to those around me because it is New Zealand’s first and most common language. It is uncommon to speak more than one language in NZ however it is very uncommon to not speak more than two languages in South Africa. This is because there is eleven different languages in South Africa and many people there know English because English is where the money is. In South Africa Trevor was seen as a white boy among the blacks due to his lighter skin tone. But as soon as Trevor grasped onto new languages he used them in conversations with others from different tribes. This was when people first started accepting Trevor as one of their own because he knew their language. However at first glance they would perceive him as a white person who speaks English because that’s how he appeared on the outside. Trevor’s mother, Patricia Noah had adopted many languages through her surroundings, doing so helped her get around much easier with a lighter skinned child by being able to communicate with a larger variety of people and ask for tips such as shortcuts through the city. Naturally her knowledge of languages was passed onto Trevor who too became very fluent in these languages. Language served Trevor as a way to be accepted by others who perceived him as something else. It gave him belonging within groups of people that misjudged him otherwise. Translation from Zulu to English- ‘ “Let’s get this white guy. You go left, and I’ll come up behind him.” I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t run, so I just spun around real quick and said “Yo, guys, why don’t we mug someone together? I’m ready. Let’s do it.” They looked shocked for a moment, and then they started laughing. “Oh, sorry, dude. We thought you were something else. We weren’t trying to take anything from you. We were were trying to steal from white people.” ’ This stuck with me throughout the course of the book because as Trevor phrased it, ‘even more than colour, language defines who you are to people’. As soon as these men heard him speak in their tongue they became part of the same tribe and Trevor was no longer seen as a threat to them, they were family. Language breaks down the racial barriers in South Africa and allows people to connect with one another. I now realize  how important language is to the people in these types of countries because it brings them closer together as a group of people. It’s no good to have people speaking Zulu to Afrikaans because they won’t understand each other, but with a common language they can all speak and share their ideas together. In South Africa this common language is English which allows for everyone to be on the same foot. However it will take a number of decades for education to reach a level where everyone can be taught English. Hypothetically if you were given the choice to learn English but were a sufferer of apartheid would you really want to learn the language of those that put you through that pain?


The story of Trevor Noah is a odd one that will have you gripped until the end. Born a crime made me ask questions about the world we live in and started up some  very interesting conversations with my parents . The book is from the real perspective of a coloured South African who gives us a honest point of view on South Africa.  Trevor Noah’s book is valuable for anyone wanting to be educated on post apartheid South Africa because it ‘s from somebody’s personal experience which is often the best way to get a perspective on something.  If you want to be opened up to the world of post apartheid South Africa in a novel filled with plenty of thought provoking and humorous text then I’d highly recommend to pick this book up right now. 


The significance of the books

“The stand over man”

Its an eye opening book that dives into the perspective of Max’s life and how he sees Liesel.  The contents of the book show us imagery of a bird man and his growing bond between a young girl. The book is gifted to Liesel from Max to show us how Max and Liesels relationship ship has grown. Max painted over the pages of Mein Kampf to write a new story on top. This shows that Max values the importance of his friendship with Liesel more than the protection that Mein Kampf offers him. This is easy to overlook yet important to know because it gives a deeper meaning to Max’s story of survival and what he values as a human.  The title also provides us with some valuable information as it has literal relevance to individuals in the text, “The stand over man.” To be stood over by someone is to be of lower status but in a menacing way which characters like Max, Hans and Liesel all have. Though the text may not suggest the individuals stand over men we are left to assume who they could be.  Max’s has been running from his stand-over man in a long chase across Germany. Though Max has never meet Hitler in person it is the stigma around him that gets drilled into Max’s mind as he is unable to deal with the negative energy around Hitler. It literally wears him down. But I can elaborate on this idea and say that Max’s stand-over man is the Nazi movement as it is the real reason he must always be running. The stand-over man doesn’t necessarily just have to be a man as it is more of a symbol for what keeps you from living life how you desire. For Liesel it is arguably Death as he is who claimed the life of his brother and took her mother to certain death. These deaths are what holds Liesel back in her younger age as she always mourns for her loss. To have a stand-over man isn’t always a bad thing either as they can be the things that make us a stronger person in later life. Due to the conflicts these people suffer from there will be plenty of sorrow that follows but these stand-over men will be the things that mature these people for the life ahead. In some sense Death overshadows everyone in this book as he is with them throughout the entirety of WW2, even Hitler. That is what war does to the people, it creates a more vivid presence of the one stand-over man that is inevitable in life, Death.

“The Gravedigger’s Handbook”

The grave digger acted as a tribute to Liesels deceased brother. It was the last thing that kept him alive in her heart as it was the item she found at his funeral that she could remember him by.  Though the contents of the book were of no importance to her the book still held meaning. This makes the purpose of this book rather interesting because it shows that books can hold important memories that aren’t even related to the words inside. As much as I would like to correlate the title of the book to something significant in the book I cannot for I purely see The Gravedigger’s Handbook as a symbol.

The shoulder shrug

This book is a symbol of Liesels love for literature as it was stolen from the dying embers of a fire. A fire that was lit to forget the old ways and spark a new era. No matter how vial the reasons of the fire were it didn’t matter to Liesel as she was set on one thing. Its a quite ironic that the book she happens to steal is titled ‘The Shoulder Shrug.’ I find this Ironic because of the way the situation is handled, I can imagine Liesel shrugging  it off as if to say “Meh could of done something worse than this.” Perhaps Liesel doesn’t understand the severity of her actions if she were to be caught by the wrong person but lucky for her it was Hans who got to the case first.


Characterization in the book thief

The development of

Liesel in the book thief

We are greeted to a young girl at the beginning of the book thief, her name is Liesel. Liesel is a 9 year old german surviving through the world of 1939(WW2)

In the beginnings of the novel Liesel is sent to new foster parents shortly after her younger brother death. It is with her new parents Hans and Rosa that we as a reader start seeing changes of Liesel occur. She is unable to read or write at the start of the book thief which I found very ironic given how much she loves literature. The gentle Hans helps her achieve her goals of wanting to read and write and Rosa turns her into a working woman. These two help develop Liesel into the person she becomes later on in the book. Rosa and Hans are a bizarre couple given how gentle and caring Hans is and how angry and rough Rosa comes across as. The two keep a similar character throughout the book up until the point where the bombings begin and Hans must be sent away to serve for his country. The war plays a big part in the choices they are forced to make but I wouldn’t see this as important character development due to the fact that all people during the war would have to change their ways of living and being.  Liesel is the youngest of the family and suffers the most from the occurrences throughout the course of the book.  Early on she is tormented by her younger brothers death and struggles through every night as nightmares form in her head.  She is weak, and unable to control her nightmares, but who can blame a young child for this. Her fears don’t go unnoticed from Hans who comes in at night to comfort her. As the book thief progresses Liesel naturally comes to terms with her fears and grows stronger as a person. Another character worth mentioning is Max Vanderburg who also overcomes his fears throughout the book. I wouldn’t say he completely overcomes the anxious feelings the Nazis make him feel but more comes to terms with the way things are. Max and Liesel connect through literature and the sharing of fears. It is a turning point in the novel because both of these characters open up for the first time and speak what they are truly feeling. During the time where the two know each other both help one another through the harsh times,  Max helps Liesel by expanding her vocabulary and  Liesel gives Max weather reports on the world above the basement, what happened at school etc… throughout the book she is constantly growing her knowledge of literature and by the end of the text Liesel is completely confident in reading and writing.  Many of this is thanks to Hans and Max, not school. Its important that these characters all have links to one another because it creates this bond you can really feel develop throughout the book. Another important character in this book is Rudy Stiener who brings out the fun adventurous side of Liesel.  Rudy is a curious chap that always wants to push it one step further.  Even though he likes to stick his nose into situations where he does not belong he never intends for or cause harm.  So as you can imagine when young Liesel arrives in Himmel Street Rudy Steiner must be the first to greet her.


Hans keeps his character throughout the entire book. He is Liesel’s foster father who always takes care of her as if she is his own. He loves her with all his heart and Liesel really loves him like a father. The bond these two have is very important to the both and is cherished by them.  During WW2 in Germany many people followed the Nazi movement but not Hans. Hans is not a believer of the Nazi movement and stands by his beliefs as the brave and Honorable man he is.  It is hard to not respect Hans for staying true to himself in such awful living times, question yourself and ask if you could of down the same.  He is also remarkably positive and calm in many situations such as when they had to shelter Max. He does lose his cool later on in the text but this is due to life threatening problems that any human being would of found difficult to be in. Positivity is what keeps him going throughout the text, he is always positive during situations where others will lose faith in the world around them. This is how he appears to be on the outside however he could be feeling something else inside his mind but if such is the case he never shows it.  His natural way of being is very calm and happy, and he puts this spirit into his life which is what makes him such a likable character. As he is called to the war Hans is more than likely feeling scared of the fact he may not return but does he ever show his  fear? No.





Death and colours

White is a pale color that has a sense of emptiness. White is a colour full of potential waiting to be released. Throughout The book thief Germany is described as a white/grey place during this time period to help show the mentality of the country. “I studied the blinding, white-snow sky who stood at the window of the moving train. I practically inhaled it, but , I wavered. I buckled-I became interested.” During WW2 the German people were under the control of fear, many were deprived of their freedom and thoughts. They were manipulated by Hitler into a false mindset that shared opinions with his own.  Much like the colour white that is filled with so much potential the Germans were also full of potential that I consider to be independence. The German people could of rised above the Nazis movement to gain the freedom many desired. The German people were capable to do so if united under the same motive however fear controlled the masses. White is not just describing the landscape in the book thief, it is describing a mindset.  A mindset that formed in many of the German peoples minds during WW2. Who in their right mind would burn books, hate Jews and be proud to declare war on the world. Someone with a mind that has been misguided and blinded from the truth.  The independent spirit of the German people was lost to indoctrination of Nazi parties values.


What did the flag represent during WW2 that was so strong for the believers of Nazism.  The flag represented a motive that had a powerful force driving it. The flag gave nazis a sense of pride and belonging amongst a group of people who shared similar ideas to Hitler’s. However not all Nazis truly believed in Hitlers ideal but I will get into this more later. The flag is painted from white, black and red. These colours mange to wriggle their way into situations where many would think that colour is rather irrelevant.
“The last time I saw her was red. The sky was like soup, boiling and stirring. In some places it was burned. There were black crumbs and pepper, streaked across the redness.”  The way this scenario is described seems appealing and if anything pleasant.  However colour can often be misleading. The little blacks crumbs and peppers may sound like nothing of any significance but in reality these streaks of black are death. The bomber planes have left a mark of destruction and colour on the earth and now shrink in the horizon as death might follows.  Death would pick up the souls of those who were slaughtered by the bombs and then follow the planes to where ever they next bombed, so to some degree the planes are representing death as a physical representation. The reds that fill the sky are not purely raging fires but also the blood that has been shed. With death comes blood, with blood comes life. So where is the white? The life. It is not there, for all that remains is a turmoil of blood and fire, a reminder of death.

There are of course other representation of colour throughout the book thief. The Jesse Owens incident is structured around colour in a very racial way that is important to understand. The incident is about Young Rudy Steiner chalking himself with charcoal and running the local race course imitating famous Olympian ‘Jesse Owens’. ” ‘Owens is looking good,’ he began to commentate. ‘This could be his greatest victory ever. . .’ ” Rudy in his mind is Jesse Owens, he is not thinking of being him, he is him. Rudy’s young mind perceives Jesse’s speed and colour as nothing more than who Jesse is but to others there is negativity surrounding Jesse’s colour.  This negativity is driven by the Nazi Germans who see the blacks as a lower race of people who aren’t deserving of white peoples lifestyle. But why would young Rudy think any of this, to him Jesse is a hero. He doesn’t care about any of the ill minded opinions on blacks he just sees Jesse for what he is. The amazing thing about children is they are far less opinionated than adults and often see things the way they really are.    “Rudy panted, bending down and placing his hands on his knees. ‘I was being Jesse Owens.’ He answered as though ti was the most natural thing on earth to be doing.” Lets imagine Jesse was a white man for a moment. If such was the case then the whole Jesse Owens incident would never of occurred, how black and white.  Rudy would not of cared either, he is not concerned about the skin colour of Jesse as previously stated he just admires Jesse for what he does as an athlete. I don’t understand why the Nazis hated blacks so much but I do know that the way blacks were treated during WW2 was inhuman and unethical.  Its also important to know that Rudy’s father Alex was a man who was controlled by fear, “He was a member of the Nazi part but did not hate Jews, or anyone else for that matter.” So why join a party that is driven by anger and power? Because if he didn’t act the way that was considered normal in society (Right winged, Jew hating, book burning) he would of been cast out of society and potentially imprisoned. Alex’ decision to join the Nazi party gave him security over his fear even though he didn’t believe their motives were true to his own beliefs.  Alex’s position is also a fair representation of many other German living in Germany during WW2, for the Nazis really did enforce their ideology onto the German people.

My perception on the death


“I am haunted by humans”

This is the last quote we receive from death at the very end of The book thief and gives important information about who death is. Death is genuinely perceived as a devilish figure, I pictured death as a rather menacing character also until I read The book thief. However deaths portrayal in The book thief is quite the opposite to his general perception most have of him. This quote shows us that death fears us as much as we fear him. Death can never escape us and humans can never escape death is what this quote is essentially saying. He isn’t the fearless guy in this situation, instead he is the one who has feelings and thoughts towards his work unlike other depictions of death where there is no emotion or affection for the souls he carries on to the next life.

“I am not violent. I am not malicious. I am a result.”

I imagine death as a smartly dressed business man because with slicked back hair due to the way he comes across as orderly and professional. Not as some hollow spirit that strips the souls of humans for eternity.  Though he clearly has feeling for humans as stated above he is also very serious about his work. Its cleverly done and a different way to portray death. I am thankful for this though because it gave me some really interesting insight from how death sees things on a more sophisticated level.  All things are a result of something, be it big or small. Death is a result of life. There is nothing threatening about death because it is an end result for everyone. However humans cant comprehend what is beyond death thus creating a natural fear of death. This quote makes it sound like death just wants to be understood by us humans as another being that is doing there responsibility.