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.

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