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 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 there 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.


2.9 Reading Response(The book thief)

Kobi Maibach

The book thief(Extended Text) by Markus Zusak’s



The book thief is emotional, thrilling, heartbreaking and plain beautiful. Markus Zusak the author of this book takes us on an incredibly grim experience seen through the eyes of the grim reaper himself, Death. “It suffices to say that at some point in time, I will be standing over you, as genially possible. Your soul will be in my arms.” Deaths narration throughout the book mesmerized me and I began to understand that even The Grim reaper has feelings. The book  thief is set in Germany WW2 where we are introduced to Liesel Meminger a young girl who is taken to live with her new foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann. The book thief mainly revolves around Liesel and her love for books, though she is ironically unable to read. Through the course of reading this book I felt a strong connection grow between myself and Liesel, she is so grateful for the small and simple things such as learning the letters of the alphabet or a new word despite the horrific times that she was living in, that you can’t help but smile at her enjoyment, “As they progressed through the alphabet, Liesel’s eyes grew larger. She had done this at school, in the kindergarten class, but this time was better.” Being the kind hearted man Hans is he teaches Liesel how to read, opening her up to the world of literature, “It was not so much school that helped me to read. It was Papa”. Liesel falls in love with reading and the enjoyment of learning what every individual word means. I find it amazing how a young girl can have such happiness from learning letters of the alphabet or new words in times where your next door neighbor could be taken to a concentration camp for being a jew.  Liesel still finds joy in a world that is falling apart around her. Her family is poor, she must be forced to learn the beliefs of Nazi Germany and has no libraries to read what she desires. However she remains strong and confident with all of this going on around her.  Her passion kept her focused on the thing she loved instead of being absorbed by the chaos that was building up around her. The connection she has between books and the words mesmerized me because it taught me that even during hard times there can still be space for enjoyment and passions. Those are the things that humans should never let go of when times get rough, for if we are still passionate about things in such horrible times we still have a reason to grip on to life. 

To me this book is strongly emphasized on the power of words and what we are capable of purely with our tongues. This is why Hitler was such an important character to me in this book. The way Hitler used his words to rise to power amazes me, however I will get more in depth about this later. Liesel’s love for books turns into thievery, hence the title, ‘The book thief’. She commits acts of thievery but I never saw her as just a thief, merely a girl with the passion to learn and no materials to be taught with. You may ask why Liesel did not visit the local library to fulfill her desire to read.  This is because Germany was putting all of its money into the war efforts, including filling libraries with new texts that served as propaganda. The Nazis were the real thieves, cold, heartless, jew killing, book burning Nazis. The Jews were persecuted for being born the way they were, “The suffering faces of depleted men and women reached across to them, pleading not so much for help – they were beyond that – but for an explanation.” You cannot change what family you are born in or what history runs in your family, that is the one thing that is set in life. The Nazis put a scar in the earth that can never heal, an act of thievery that can never be forgiven. The genocide of 6 millions Jews.  I cant bare the thought of what the Jews had to go through during WW2.  During the holocaust being a jew would of been the worst time to of ever been alive in history. And all they ever did was get birthed to families that were perceived as being wealthier than the general German population.  What did the Jews do to deserve such a thing? You cant help the way you are born, I was lucky enough to be born in a safe loving family that treated me with respect. Many of the Jews who were killed during WW2 were from caring loving families also, so what made them different from me? Jews were perceived as fairly comfortable with their wealth in Germany during times where others needed something to blame for their own poorness. Does this mean they deserve to die for this?In reality Germans born to Jewish Families weren’t much richer then the German, it was mainly a perception that many Germans believed to be true. Interestingly this reminds me of situation in modern day society, however no one is killed because of it. Take India for example, in the slums people are incredibly poor and the overpopulation is mind staggering, yet there will be people near the slums who can afford the new iPhone and take pictures of the lovely city scenery. Though this may be a very extreme example that is rather questionable look at it as a metaphor for how the German people were feeling about their situation. Does this mean that the upper class should die for having money and not giving it to those who need it more? Of course it doesn’t but something should still be done for those who are less fortunate. There should of been a better resolution to the problems Germany was facing, the holocaust was not the correct response. So who was really suffering, the poor Germans or the Jews? The answer is both, the Jews were prosecuted for being born wealthy and the Germans were living through rough times but the Jews got the blame for Germany’s poverty and were killed for it. I find it rather Ironic that through all of Hitlers efforts to kill the Jews and bring war on the world he drove his own country into an extremely poor state. 


There is one particular Jewish man that has a heavy influence on the The book thief, and his name is Max Vandenburg. Max taught me the true power of words and why they can be so influential, especially in times such as World War 2. Max arrives on 33 himmel street the home of the Hubermanns, he is hoping the Hubermanns can shelter him and it’s no surprise Max would come to them due to Hans past relationships with Max’s father, Erik. Erik saved Han’s life in WW1 and because of this has been in debt to his family ever since. Whilst Max stays with the Hubermanns in their cold basement I learnt something important that will stick with me for a long time. Words are more powerful than weapons. ” ‘I will never fire a gun,’ he devised. ‘I will not have to'”  Picture this: A boxing ring, a jew, the fuhrer, and words. It doesn’t take a weapon to beat someone down, words can do the bidding. I believe this moment in the book serves as a metaphor to show a jew being persecuted for what they are. Shortly into the fight, Hitler takes of his gloves and address the audience with his weapons, his propaganda, his words. Through his words he tells the audience that the Jews will take over if nothing is done. The audience agree with his views and what he believes needs to be done, his words gain power over the people and with this power he manipulates people’s minds into his own. I wonder if it was really Hitler’s words that were truly powerful or if it was the people minds being deceived so easily that allowed for him to rise to such power: “He will soon own you, until it is he who stands not at the counter of your grocery shop, but sits in the back, smoking his pipe. Before you know it, you’ll be working for him at minimum wage while he can hardly walk from the weight in his pockets.” Words like these are what Hitler planted into the peoples minds. I can give you a good example of this in modern day society. Take a certain country for example where the government has complete control over the people, and at the top of this government sits a rich man. This rich man has power not through money or weapons but through words, he tells the people what he wants them to hear, he does the things that make him look how he intends to look, he does enough to plant a seed in the people’s minds just like Hitler did. But at the end of the day he is none of what he claims and yet has control of an entire nation. Next time someone makes a point will you simply agree with it or will you stand by your own opinions and let there’s serve as a guide to what others think? I believe if we are all open to each other’s ideas and respect what one another has to share with this world then peace would be among us.

The book thief will open your mind up to ideas, concepts and events that you may of only seen a certain way before hand. It will test your thinking and emotions on a long but grim experience and even though The book thief’s end may be sad it’s what it teaches us that matters. If you are a reader that enjoys a character driven book full of deep and meaningful character development, deep concepts that make you think, emotionally griping and then pick this up because I can assure you it won’t disappoint. 

2.9 Reading Responses

Mental cases

People can be broken, in the case of war this breaking point is known as shellshock. Wilfred Owen the author of Mental cases has taken me on a graphic experience filled with the disturbing effects World War 1 had on men’s minds and how it damaged soldiers who served for their countries. It’s an emotional poem that lets me see through the eyes of Wilfred Owen and witness what soldiers felt, saw and suffered from during WW1. ‘Mental cases’ is a great piece of poetry, however this one created imagery in my head far more vivid than any of Wilfred Owen’s other poems, for example:“Therefore still their eyeballs shrink tormented back into their brains”. There are several points throughout this poem where the Author talks about men being deformed from the war; “Wading sloughs of flesh these helpless wander”. This sentence describes the men as helpless and at the end of the day they really were, there was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, just the war. I feel so miserable for the men who were lost and scared, there only choice was to face fear head on and that would of drived some men to their breaking point: “Wherefore rock they”. Some men were so broken that they ended up in a state of constant shock which resulted in them literally rocking back and forth to calm their themselves down. They were once ordinary men living their normal lives when all of a sudden the war called for them and deprived them of their humanity:”Rucked too thick for these men’s extrication”. This line shows how the men are trapped inside their own minds which are filled with the scars and  horrors of war and how the men are unable to escape their depressing thoughts. This is not what I call living, this is what I call suffering and its all because of the war. I find it uncomfortable to think of what these men went through but it is important to understand this all the same. Wilfred Owen is talking about events that took place in the past however these times are not over yet because war still rages on. War hasn’t changed and it never will, all it has done is evolve into the modern era. These days you can read articles online about the most recent terror attacks or bombings from around the world, this is something that would never of been possible during World War 1. Also the technology is constantly evolving in modern warfare, tanks can now speed up to 70 kms per hour and bombs have the capacity to destroy so much more than back in world war 1. A Lot of conflicts happening around the world these days are often driven by religious fears and we now have extremists like ISIS putting fear into the people and world. This poem not only shows us of what our world once was but of what it still is. It sparks an awareness in me that the world we stand on today has had a past filled with regrets, accomplishments, mistakes, sins, discoveries and so much more. We can learn from the past and understand that the world is a fragile place that still needs time to recover and the people must learn to respect one another as human beings, otherwise we may never be able to live in a world where hate does not exist. The thing about war is I can sit here and type what I think about it all day but I will never truly feel the pain those did between the dates of 28 Jul 1914 – 11 Nov 1918. I may indeed feel the excitement to explore the world but I may not feel the dread of leaving home to fight a war in which I may not return. I may have my share of days where I am feeling down but I may never lose my mind from a war of hatred and fear. One thing war is good at doing is turning people into monsters, destroying their once content souls and creating murdering beasts; “Tread blood from lungs that had loved laughter”. These men had loved to live and laugh just as myself but now they stand on top of their own lungs as if that once loving person is now gone. This is the kind of things war does, it never fixes problems it only ever creates more. “Mental cases” will challenge you as a reader due to  the literature and ideas presented in the poem. Some of the content in the poem is very explicit but don’t let that turn you off because the poem gives important insight into what the war was like, I highly recommend this to fellow readers who wants a deep and meaningful poem to unravel. Even in this day and age it’s a very eye opening poem that will leave you questioning how we as humans have let these crimes happen to our people and world.


2.4 Essay Task

Wilfred Owen was a man who wrote some of the most famous war poetry in history during WW1. Sadly he never got to see his most famous works of poetry published and read all around the world because on November the 4th of 1918 he was shot during an assault, one week before the armistice was declared. Wilfred had a remarkable gift to make pen and paper come to life, a gift to transform words into deep vivid images of what he experienced and felt on the battlefield. However it wasn’t just his own experiences he wrote about, he wrote in a way that represented all soldiers and showed us the true nature of war.  Today I will be breaking down 2 of his most famous poems, Exposure and Anthem for doomed youth and discuss how it makes me feel and how Wilfred used certain language techniques too help create his beautiful poetry.


“Our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds that knive us . . . “
A short yet vivid sentence.  The use of a metaphor “winds that knive us” creates another level of depth in the poem making it feel more literal which immerses me more. Wilfred Owen not only uses a metaphor here but Personification too, making it seem as if the wind was a person knifing the men.  Perhaps Wilfred has done so to give the perspective that the wind isnt just weather but an enemy also, that the men must fight too.
To me the the sentence means something a bit deeper than this so I shall continue a further analysis
Ever had brain freeze before? I am reminded of that awful feeling a brain freeze triggers after reading over the first line of exposure. It feels like snow running down your spine on a cold winter, expect it’s worse because its on the inner of your body growing a numbness in your head. However this wasn’t the only thing the men had to deal with during the events that take place in this poem, the wind had a presence too. I have only been caught in icy winds that take place during ski days where the weather takes a turn for the worst, but even then I’m clothed tightly in a warm nylon jacket and fluffy pants. My face being the only part of my body that is exposed to the winds takes the full impact of the weather. It is unpleasant to say the least, in my experiences it feels like hands are gripping tightly around my face causing me to struggle for air and the feeling of pins and needles scurries across my face too. However I am just a boy going on a ski trip and they are soldiers fighting in an international war with near to no protection from the unforgiving weather. Just one blanket, one pair of boots, one gun and one uniform that was meant to last the course of the war. I have sympathy for these soldiers because who deserves to be exposed to such brutal weather, the kind of weather that “Knives” mens skin. The kind of weather that takes the men’s minds of the war, and bullets and guns. The kind of weather that affects every soldiers with a beating heart on that cruel battlefield. These men were not just fighting each other they were fighting the weather. Wilfred inst just writing how cold the weather was for him, he is writing on behalf of all the soldiers. Hypothetically if a solider from the other side of the trenches were to read the first line from Wilfred’s poem he would nod his head in agreement, in fact he may agree with the content of the entire poem. This is the magic of Wilfred Owens poetry, it is so cleverly done and opens your eyes to new things that you never though about before.
Anthem for doomed youth
“What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.”
What is holy about boys being slaughtered in a place where man should not step foot in? Young innocent boys such as myself were killed thousands upon thousands.  The boys will never get honored the righteous way they deserve, there will be no candles lit for them.  The only thing that comes close to a candle light for these boys is the glimmer in their dead eyes as they are sent from the living to the families memories where they will be cherished forever. Quite ironic wouldn’t you say, what is holy about saying goodbye? In this day and age those who served and died for their country are commended at ceremonies and respected for their bravery on an individual level. Boys in WW1 were pilled, burned and put in the back of our memories as the war continued on. Numbers of dead were only rising so I understand that there was little time to give the boys the respectful send away they deserved but I believe this boils down to a couple key points. The war wasn’t about gunfire, bombs, death and conflict it was something much worse than that. It was Mans sick greed for power that drived these boys to their deaths, not the end of a gun but the real motives behind any war. Where is the holiness in dying for your country when you are going to end up on a headstone with the words unknown solider engraved above and a broken hearted family that will never get to see their loved one/ones again.  What is holy about being killed by your own species in a conflict for power? I believe religious beliefs can mislead those who have faith during times when there are no gods. The boys are dead and didn’t deserve to die so are they really in a better place now? I am not a religious person but I believe the best way to respect the dead is to let their memory live on, tell stories of those you once knew and keep them alive in your life. Perhaps there is no holy lands beyond the world we live in so maybe the best option we have is to enjoy what we have but perhaps there is an after life. Even so why would we pray they are in a better place without being sure when we can just be happy for who they were and what they did.
Inspired by Genius
“The only thing that comes close to a candle light for these boys is the glimmer in their dead eyes as they are sent”

How does it make me feel/what do I see

Repetition, Metaphors, Similes, Symbolism, Tone

Anthem for doomed youth

Metaphors, Tone, Rhetorical question, Pathos, Personification

Exposure-Wilfred Owen

The idea of exposure.

“Our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds that knife us” The opener really sets the tone for poem, describing a cold location with winds that pierces the skin of those there. “Sudden Successive flights of bullets streak the silence, less deadly than the air that shudders black with snow” I can already feel the goosebumps rising on my skin. I get such a strong idea of how damn cold the weather would of been, especially since the author describes the air as being more deadly than the bullets. Must of been real cold.

“The poignant misery of dawn begins to grow” Really sets the mood by creating an extremely dull setting that I Vision has very little scenery too.

“With sidelong flowing flakes that flock, pause and renew” builds on the whole dullness for the setting, a can now picture a snowy, bitter cold landscape with very little scenery to view.

“Pale flakes with fingering stealth come feeling for our faces” By this point in the poem the author has mentioned the cold weather in so many times that I too am getting shivers up my spine, the author doesn’t cease to write about this unpleasant weather which really helps to give the reader a better understanding of the chilling experience.

“Slowly our ghosts drag home: glimpsing the sunk fires, glozed with crusted dark-red jewels”. To me it seems as if the cold weather has claimed the lives of soldiers as they are now ghosts. It seems ironic that the ghosts glimpse at sunk fires and yet the reason they are spirits is because the cold weather killed them. Perhaps the warmth from the dying fires wasn’t enough to keep them warm and alive.

“Tonight, this frost will fasten on this mud and us”. You can’t get blood pumping around the body when your lying on the cold ground asleep. Its as if the coldness strikes at night just like an ambush of enemy soldiers would. So when the frost came during the night that is when many soldiers died. They wouldn’t of even known what hit them, apart from a slow coldness warping itself around there body slowly freezing them to death.






Simile:  Example “Like twitching agonies of men among its brambles” I believe the author has used this to empathize the idea of how the coldness was not only uncomfortable but painful for the soldiers.

Personification: Example “Merciless iced east winds that knives us”  Helps build on the idea that the winds were so cold that they literally pierced the soldiers skin.


Repetition: Example “But nothing happens” Perhaps the author repeats this sentence because the soldiers are suffering all the time but none are dying, constantly battling the elements.  The soldiers endure long periods of cold weather but nothing else happens, it seems ironic that the author describes nothing happening during a war because war  is always chaotic and full of fear and yet nothing is happening. Perhaps the war has come to a standstill and the soldiers are just waiting it out, waiting for something other than death.