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.